From the Book of Spruce

What a complicated mess of a thing is this little nation state called “Kuusisto” whose surname means “grove of spruces” in the Finnish language. My family’s patronymic (if se were characters in a Russian novel) would be Sprucevich. All of the fathers were men of the spruce, which was no great accomplishment in ancestral Finland for spruces were everywhere. The second biggest clan was birch men, but they were waterlogged types, scarcely better than the mushroom people. (In case you’re wondering, ancient women lived underground, were shamanic, and came up only when the weather was promising.)

I’m a mess. As a spruce man I’ve lots of natural enemies. Caterpillars, moths, and butterflies siphon my vital juices. My greatest foe is a moth called the “Conifer Swift” but he’s not singular because there’s also the “Pine Beauty” and “Autumnal Moth”. As a tree-state, a sovereign life form, I’m afflicted by wispy winged dentata. Oh yes, moths have teeth.

I lost my identity card in the first ice age. Moths are a late development. When was primacy downgraded by the dyer’s hand? Don’t get me started about the epithelia subfuscata (otherwise known as the pug moth.) I hate that little bastard. For one thing, his wings smell like urine. And he hums softly while eating my bark.

Try putting this in a fat novel. Sammy Sprucevich had ten thousand children. One of them lived to be over 9000 years old. Captain Cook boiled our needles to make vitamin C, thus warding of scurvy. Somehow we’ve managed to get around. Some of us grow beside the ancient tombs in China. The Morinda spruce knew Buddha personally. They’re still in touch. There’s no such thing as a Nirvana moth.