Oak trees are my valium. Last Saturday I listened to friends chatting and a creek dance over boulders as I gazed up into a canopy of arms at all angles and a puzzle of jagged green leaves on blue sky and—zzzzzz. Whatever I fretted over all week was oaks-diffused the second I entered that grove. As with redwoods, I admire oaks for their longevity (the Los Angeles Encino Oak was 1,000 years old and a protected, celebrated landmark before it was slain by El Nino’s storms). But whereas redwoods contain that towering, majestical presence you want to humbly bow before, oaks are goofier seniors, hippie trees, Shiva-armed and inviting. In my backyard I have 3 potato vine trees. 5 young cypress (toddler sized). And corn. I like the easy rustling of the corn stalks. A pillowy aspect to the potato vine trees and their purple blossoms catch my eye whenever I pass the living room windows. The cypress? Pretty much flatliner material, although what wonderful sunblockers they’ll become some day (when I’m 90). I can write in my yard, but oaks and ocean slam me with ideas—and peace—every time—my tonics, Waldens, my snake charmers, Christmases, my Paris, my churches, reprieve from the red ink of revision. Have you hugged an oak recently? Thrown yourself down on your favorite beach screaming, WHAT WHAT WHAT?—mentally screaming—there are children on the beach—and sensitive hermits—hermit crabs—constantly freaked out sanderlings—tai chi groups—stern rangers—but the trees, it’s so easy to hug one, hug and receive and even if someone notices they won’t call 911—the oaks won’t permit it. Try it. You’ll see. Or sidle up and stroke a limb. Or be braver and press your forehead to the bark for one minute. And then call me up and tell me I’m not crazy.