Canopy means cover, protective layer–the uppermost spreading branchy layer of a forest.  A shade-giving tree over a creek, the awning above a store window, the tent over a merry-go-round. My novel Junction, Utah, features a beautiful canyon oak up Mule Creek Canyon on the Rogue River. The canopy it provides takes your breath with its majesty.

You have to read Junction to learn the significance of the tree to the story, but, I revisited the oak again just last week (after having made it an important “character” in the book).

The heart-shaped canopy of grandmother canyon oak, Mule Creek, Rogue River, Oregon

The branches overhead resemble a heart made of wood, leaves, light, and shade. The water underfoot, in the cool beneath the tree, runs clear and singing.

I remembered as I stood under the tree’s canopy why I was really there, up Mule Creek again, other than to get a photograph. As Jack London wrote, I went to “get out of Nature that something which we all need, only the most of us don’t know it”: solace from our striving and earning.  We go for rest. We go to reach for peace.

The lifesaving clear water of Mule Creek, Rogue River, Oregon

There is no more peaceful place than the canopy of a magnificent oak on a wild creek or river.

View of Rogue River, Oregon, from Mule Creek. Where is Kevin Bacon?


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