Last week, I saw some of those tree huggers. Literally.

I used to think "tree hugger" was a funny little dig, a pejorative nickname assigned to those who care about the environment. I never thought the term was related to an actual habit or hobby. But here in Boulder, the hippies are hardcore, man; they really do hug the damned trees.

I was walking along Pearl Street, trying to regain my composure after very ungraceful descent from a short mountain hike, when I saw a young couple stop their walk, and turn to face a tree. It was a large tree, in someone's front yard, and it was utterly unremarkable as far as trees go. Trunk, branches, leaves. Just like all the other ones. But apparently this one was sending out some kind of signals, because this couple stopped, and after a brief discussion the woman walked up to the trunk and wrapped her arms around it, in a loving bark embrace. Arms outstretched, lying against the trunk, she laid her head against the tree, and appeared to be listening for further instructions.

Apparently the tree said "hey, get your boyfriend over here, and we'll have a three-way", because it wasn't long before the guy walked up to the tree and embraced it too. I didn't know whether to laugh or call an ambulance. I laughed anyway, just to be safe. I laughed loudly.

As I continued walking home, I occasionally shot a look over my right shoulder to see if the wood festival had ended, and I was alternately pleased, annoyed and confused to see that they were all still locked in a calm embrace.

Folks, I don't know what to make of this. That scene will haunt me for some time, I expect.