Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just Passing Through

Me, My Sons, and the Redwoods

On Sunday, my two sons and I went for a hike in Big Basin State Park. We hiked the waterfall trail (11 miles). It was great to feel our bodies move along, and to be in such a beautiful place.

Our conversation turned to the magnificent trees. How old they are. How much they have seen. Alive when Charlemagne united Europe. When Mohammad lived. Through the Dark Ages and the Renaissance.

We saw a "family" of redwoods, all quite large. The families sprout up around where a single tree has lived (and died). We wondered in awe about the ancestor of this family. "Imagine how old that guy must have been...!"

It was humbling but also wondrous. We, with our short lives, and our even shorter hike, were just passing through. We wondered if they would remember us, a thousand years from now. "Remember those three male humans who talked to us?"

Is it so preposterous?

I approached a very young, slender sapling. I said, "Hello there. Remember me." I touched it gently. My sons made fun of me...insinuating that that poor young tree was now stuck with a memory that it would never get out of its "head", something like "It's a Small World After All" playing over and over for a thousand years. (They're such NICE boys...).

Yep, we were just passing through.

And in another way, too. As we got a little further along in our hike, and our muscles got a bit sore and we got a bit tired, I encouraged my sons to let the forest pass through
them. By recognizing how much empty space really exists inside our bodies, between the nuclei of adjacent atoms. We're really quite...permeable...like really loose sponges in a certain way.

I talked about recognizing that permeability, and letting the "Qi" of the forest pass through our bodies, revitalizing us with its healthy, vibrant, natural earth-energy. It's really well-balanced Qi. I think the older the forest, the more refreshing and rejuvenating the Qi. It felt to me like a deep cleanse and a healing elixir all in one.

As we neared the end of our hike, I shared with my boys something that I've learned about living things, and these Redwood trees in particular. Every species is "the best" at something. (Wolves, for example, are the best at experiencing the beauty of the moon, I think. They love her so much that they sing to her with wild abandon.)

What about these California Redwoods, these Sequoia Sempervirens?

Well, they live practically forever, and grow so tall...they have a great view. They are the best, I believe, in bearing witness. They bear sacred witness to life, to death. To love and tragedy. To change.

Even, I think, to those of us who are just passing through.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely right. Go there 2 years from now and try to find that same tree you spoke with. If you listen in the right way, you will hear that it remembers you, for its memory is long and true.