Out among the trees that line an overgrown field an oak has fallen. A hollow has been carved through its center. One crystal clear morning, the kind of morning where the eastern horizon sky is orange and blue while the western horizon is turquoise and pink, I decided to get a closer look.
As I walked I wondered, what could be in that old hollow? A raccoon? A squirrel, lizard, or perhaps some honey bees? How many insects have climbed in and out of that hollow? Perhaps one of those funny walking sticks or a praying mantis could be inside. What if it’s a spider, wasp nest, or centipede? Could a grasshopper find its way in there?
What if it’s a snake or bobcat cub? Could a nocturnal marsupial with a prehensile tail have hung from a limb on that tree before it fell on a mild day such as this? I wonder if a pack of coyotes ever chased something into that hollow, and how long they were willing to wait before giving up.
As I approached the tree I saw tracks and wondered how many deer, or turkey for that matter, had passed by this tree? Did a dove from surrounding branches ever sing something to sleep within that old tree? Did a hawk or owl ever watch for mice to scurry out of that hole?
As entertainingly amused as I felt about all these ideas forming in my mind, I was reminded of the monarch butterflies that used to coat the trees here sometimes while migrating through; monarchs that are sadly, rarely seen here anymore in such numbers during the migration period due in part to human activity across the region.
“But what could be in that old hollow?” I returned to asking myself again.
“A children’s book,” said a voice from some corner of my mind.
“Ahh,” I replied aloud, “So that’s what is inside that old hollow.”
Turns out, I never had to look inside anything but myself to know the answer all along.