Remembering the Guardians
Every opportunity I have received to explore the Red Wood forests of California has left me with a sense of awe, wonder, and humility. The giant, spiraling guardians towering above, touching the sky with their limbs. I learn more in an afternoon playing than I would during a whole day in front of a screen on the internet. Walking around is like being in a momentary snapshot of a window in time spanning a thousand years. Birth, growth, change, death, decay, and rebirth create the forest dance that moves so slow we believe it to be still. This drama of most epic proportions comes together to craft a playground of wisdom with no end, far more beautiful and enjoyable than any I have ever been in. I feel like I could fill volumes with words about the Red Wood Guardians, however this is a dedication to a group of protectors who provided me with a playground much closer to home.
A few days ago I was informed of the terrible fate that has befallen the magnificent trees surrounding the home I had lived in for the first twenty-three years of my life. My parents had sold the home to new owners this past August, and since then the majority of the fifty-some trees have been cut down and removed. The trees had been planted prior to our residency, and they grew with my family and me for two and a half decades. The growth was especially noticeable when watching home videos from the early years. It wasn’t until I entered the Red Woods, hours after hearing the news, that the full weight of the heart-break overwhelmed me. The death of the Guardians felt like a part of my self had been cut.
I refer to the trees as Guardians because that is how they felt to me. Like guards posted all around my home, they were the tall, silent, and powerful protectors of my family. And, like the forests, they made a beautiful natural playground with no end for me to explore throughout my life. They created space for hours of tag, hide-and-seek, kick the can, playing in the dirt with ants, climbing trees, making nature forts, and let’s not forget, the ‘yard work’. I understand now my resistance to doing ‘yard work’ – feeling like I was contributing to something unnatural – yet I couldn’t help but smile as I found myself picking up sticks for hours to create the monument for the Guardians. The practice of ‘yard work’ gave me the skills I have learned to repurpose, away from interrupting natural flows and into the creation of natural flows.
My heart is broken with the deaths of such beautiful giants. Each season brought new majesty out from the trees – the frost covered branches of winter, the bright green budding of spring, the full broad leaves of summer, and the firework colours of fall. I have found peace with their passing, another part of the natural flow. It seems they have served their purpose as Guardians for those who desired protection and have moved on to serve elsewhere. They taught me of a connection I had not known of and have brought me into a deeper love of our standing brothers and sisters who continue to show us nothing but love and compassion as we slowly remember our selves.