Recently on a trip to Ruidoso, NM to visit my 5 year-old daughter Grace's grandma, I got to experience again the magic of forts in the woods. We don't have a TV, so often trips like this staying with relatives end up being unusual opportunities for our daughter (and us!) to watch TV, and for us to remember what it's like to have one in the house. After a while of that, Grace and I ended up building a cool fort out of cushions and blankets in the living room. Then I said, "let's go build a fort in the woods!," and she happily agreed. After hopping across the creek with her on my back, we propped long sticks and small logs up on some fallen brush, and then proceeded to pile tons of pine needles on top while we sang a song she made up: "putting pine needles on the fort, putting pine needles on the fort...." Twenty minutes later we had a fort to remember that could just fit the both of us, and could successfully transport us into that heart of ancestral human experience of making a shelter out of things that nature provides, and then climbing inside that new precious portal into our past and future, and mostly importantly, our alive present. Long live the pine needle fort!