Last night we had dinner with our friends Joe and Solveigh at their home on Oyster Bay. They gave us a gift bag for Christmas and our combined birthdays and Solveigh urged me to open one of the packages right then. Because of your book, she said. So I did. At first I wasn’t sure what the two objects were. One of them looked like the beak of a large bird. But no.
They’re elk hooves, a subtle reference to the section in Mnemonic: A Book of Trees where I write about my attraction to the god Pan.” I thought of the places I ventured alone — the highlands above Durrance Lake, the wild beaches past Sooke towards Jordan River — and how I thrived on that feeling which was not quite fear, not quite awe. Was this the god passing through the trees, just beyond sight?” These little hooves come from the skeleton of an elk in the woods near Oyster Bay. We too find elk skeletons from time to time. I have a skull on the shelf above my desk, sculpturally as beautiful as anything man-made, and a pelvis we found on the Malaspina trail hangs on our deck. But these hooves, these toes – they look like a means of transformation, their emptiness waiting.