From tree to grove, and from grove to forest — each step is transformative. A forest is no more a grove than a man is his right femur.
The vaulted red boughs of the forest are the rafters, its trunks the pillars and walls, its green needlework the tapestries, its breeze and still air the spring hymnal, its cover the tile mosaic. The trees shame the great artisans and grow simply on.
Scratch the slow stillness of the forest and one reveals a fierce competition that the trees have waged for thousands of millennia — for light, for water, for a precious foothold on the ground below. We rise and fall, but the trees of the forest rage on.
The oldest tree is older than civilization — older, by far — and perhaps older than our species itself. Before language, before the fire sacrifice and the offerings of fruit and water, there were the trees, and there they stand still.
To the ancient Indians, the forest is the realm of sages and gods; of demons and vicious predators; of lush bounty and terrible danger. The heroes of the epics wander there in exile and endure its majesties and ordeals. Then they emerge to fulfill their duties to the world.