As told by Maureen
The Pippsywoggin, Tobie Kyle, lives in a tree house near the top of a gnarly old White Pine. The house is nestled tightly against the south side of the trunk to keep it safe from the biting north winds. The house is thickly sided with sheets of shaggy bark and is roofed with layers of pine needles that are lashed tightly together. Inside the house, on cool nights, a little fire burns in an iron pot, fueled by pitch-covered pinecones hauled up by rope from the ground below. A passerby might think it to be a lonely firefly up there, blinking in the night, but it is not so.
The pine grows at the west end of an ancient row of pines that overlooks the old farmstead down the road from me. Since Pips do not show their age, I have no idea if Tobie is as old as the pine itself, or if he came along during the time that the farm was being divided up to accommodate urban sprawl. At any rate, he has an air of calm wisdom about him that makes one feel that he has seen it all.
The other Pips tell me that they love to climb up to Tobie's cozy house on summer nights when the moon is full. On those nights the view is breathtaking as they look out over the tops of the pine and the oak to the surface of a tree-sheltered lake. There they see the Canada geese swimming in pairs in the moonlight. But they do more than just view the scenery. They play games. One hasn't known bliss, or so they say, until you play checkers by moonlight, in the company of trusted friends, perched on a limb far above the restless world.
In our society, Tobie Kyle might be called a psychologist or a counselor, for while the Pips play games, they talk, and share, and tell stories, and sort out the ways of their lives. Tobie has learned how to be present to each of the Pips who come, and he knows how to listen.
Yes, the checkerboard is always set up at Tobie Kyle's, and the door is open....
1995, 2006 by Maureen Carlson