Alone, walking through the sequoias after a particularly difficult group meeting at WoR, face streaked with tears, I came upon an old burned-out hull of an ancient redwood. Stopped, immobile, I pondered, “Is this tree a reflection of me?” Standing there examining the blackened serrated edges of this otherwise reddish stump I glimpsed what I feared was a portrait of myself. Was this an example of the life I now live versus the life I could have lived?
Venturing off the predestined path created by the feet of others who had passed, I drew closer. The only thing I could see was the empty husk of a life that had come to a tragic end. A death not created by its own doing, but a price nonetheless this tree was forced to pay. I couldn’t help but try to imagine what this stump might have looked like if a fiery end had not destroyed what it was meant to be.
Walking around its five-foot circumference looking up six feet to its top, I was searching for any signs of life. I knew this was a misuse of my time; life no longer existed for this tree. “What a waste,” I thought. Around the backside I came upon a slit - an opening just wide enough that if I were to turn edgewise I could slip between the charcoal edges into the interior of what was becoming an amazing display of burned art.
Climbing through the opening and into this hidden chamber I dropped three feet down below the surface. Here a new perspective was beginning to emerge. There was a hidden safety created by this redwood hedge. Feeling the security, I settled into my enclosed space, protected within its walls.
Moments later I looked up, and what I saw was a magnificent display of life and death naturally intertwined creating a collective symmetry and beauty. The walls of this long-felled tree were a blend of uneven burnt black and reddish brown edges which created a jagged tiara. Sitting there, it felt as if this tree was allowing me, for a brief moment, to wear its scorched crown.
Gazing up and beyond this redwood I could see I was surrounded by new life rising one hundred feet into the heavens. The late afternoon sunrays were filtering gently through. I hadn’t even noticed these younger trees encasing this hermit’s shell I sat within.
Feeling a renewed sense of self I emerged from my burned and hollowed out throne. I took another walk around the tree and then back to the path I went. I had to leave. It was time for what would probably be another heartrending meeting. When I was about fifty feet from this inner sanctum I found I couldn’t help but look back. There was a vista I had missed when my soul was so heavy with grief. I was beginning to understand something that the forest has always known. This tree wasn’t alone, a separate part of life, useless. The fact that it had such an appalling event in its history is not the end of the story. This scorched redwood standing proud amongst its younger companions added a beauty and majesty I couldn’t help but admire.
I want to be like the forest, not the individual tree. Despite the catastrophic event in my own life, with the help of others, I can emerge to find new beginnings. Yes, this magnificent stand of sequoias is a reflection of all of us.
Balanced (My goal)
There is symmetry