Come along with me on my very first blog! I’ve made a path for you to travel. The poet Robert Frost phrased it so well:
“I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.”
This past fall I hiked into Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park in California. The fog had lifted and sun streamed through the mighty redwood columns illuminating the forest in golden shafts of sunlight. To me, it looked like diagonal window panes hung from the hinges of spectacular green branches rising 300 feet high or more. The air felt thick with a stillness that heightened my awareness for any sound whatsoever. It smelled sweet and musky and clean all at once. The perfume of the ancients is what I thought, nature’s incense wafting through the eons of time. The word cathedral came to mind as I walked beside trees as ancient as 1,000 years or more. I wondered who else in time had touched the very bark I was touching as my hand swept across the textured outer skin of these living giants. How many faces have you beheld, I wondered silently. From such a vantage point, what stories might you tell?
Stories are as old as the trees.℠
I think about some of the old trees in literature, namely the tree of life. An ancient symbol of immortality and divine wisdom (Proverbs 3:18), the fruit from the tree of life was believed to give eternal life (Genesis 3:22). I stood in silence for a long while looking up. Green needles accentuated the blue sky. All I wanted to do was stand beneath the canopy of these mighty redwoods, their essence like that of the wisest warriors. Feeling a unique sense of being protected, I continued to breathe in the forest and glanced to the base of one particular tree where the roots entered the soil.
Scattered on the surface were intertwining roots that had lifted out of the ground and surfaced to oxygen. A minimal distance from where the roots had emerged from the soil, they returned again. Why the roots needed to break the surface was a mystery to me. Why in the span of history’s lineage, do humanity’s deepest roots surface and become apparent in oral tradition and the written word? Perhaps it is that innermost core of ourselves that we long to share. This is the essence of storytelling: to share those stirrings of who we are and where we’ve been . . . with others.
The oldest known tree alive today is a Great Basin bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California. It is approximately 5,065 years old. A group of trees such as a clonal colony can survive much longer than one individual tree. In fact, what is fondly referred to as “Pando” in Fishlake National Forest of Utah is a colony of quaking aspen that is estimated to be 80,000 years old.
Michelangelo said, “I am still learning.” Helen Keller said, “Everything has its wonders . . ..” I love these thoughts. I hope in some small way my blog might ignite a bit of discovery and wonder in your journey too. Thanks for stopping by.