I live in a house that my grandmother had built for her retirement. It's on "The Heights" of Santa Clara, and when she moved here there were spectacular vistas. There are still good views, but the neighborhood is now very suburban. My grandmother was interested in, and adept at, many things. One of her primary interests was gardening. She was a master gardener. I actually helped plant her orchard of trees. When I moved here after her death, some had been uprooted for the construction of her Sunroom / Spa room and some had fallen. A HUGE pine fell and broke the peach tree. That peach tree was one of the pleasures of my life. It had THE best peaches I've ever eaten. I used to go out when they were sunwarm and ripe and gather a bunch into my t-shirt while I bit into another as I walked. The sweet peach juice would run down my chin and the taste would explode in my mouth. Best peaches ever! There is a shoot from the stump of the peach tree that I have been cultivating for several years. It bears little peaches but I haven't tried them yet. I'm hoping this will become a full fledged tree. There was also an apple tree, and that tree was my especial friend. When I moved here I was a bit in shock from personal losses and a big (subsequently deemed "bad") decision to quit my job with AT&T for whom I had worked for 22 years. I used to go into the back yard in a robe, lay out a nice thick sleeping bag and a pillow, take off the robe (I had no neighbors in back at the time, the ones on the sides did not seem to come out much and the robe was right there if I heard a sound. ) and just lie under the shifting shade and multitudinous colors of green from the leaves of the apple tree. The earth here is very fine soft red dirt, and it felt good between my toes. The slightest breeze was wonderfully refreshing on my skin. I would stay out there for long stretches enjoying the birds and the pretty light, watching ants go about their business and thinking. It regrounded me. I came to call that tree Dr Apple Tree, and it was far kinder and more deeply healing than any human physician has ever been. It was a beautiful tree when it blossomed! And the smell of the ripe apples could wake me up with a watering mouth. The apples were good too and I had wonderful memories of my grandma's homemade applesauce. Unforunately, my friend the apple tree became sick and we could not save her. So Bruce cut her down when she died and we used her wood for lovely warming fires. I miss that tree!
Trees are important in my life. I feel there have been some that were really good friends of mine. The first major one was special to my brother and me. We named it Toenail because a root looked just like a big toe, complete with nail. Toenail was a huge pine who lived in the mountains in Crestline Ca on the property of the cabin my family rented for years. Even after the cabin was sold and we no longer went there as a family, my brother and I would occasionally go to see Toenail. The last time I went, on the way home from my brother's dying, I looked and Toenail was gone. I did not think I could be sadder at that time, but I found that I was wrong. Another tree I loved was a big stately pepper tree that grew across the street from my house in Norco. That was a beautiful tree and I liked to sit out front on the porch swing catching the famous 3 o'clock breeze and commune with that tree. The plum tree and the lemon tree at my house were very generous and good, but I didn't love them the way I did that pepper tree.
Sitting near a tree or near a waterfall (like the one in the picture David took at the top of this journal) have always made me feel more alive and calmer at the same time. If there is a waterfall, the mist from it is so refreshing and the tumble of the water is like a song to me. My favorite waterfall, I think, is the Upper Provo Falls. I have many good memories from that place.
My love extends to even fictional trees and I am thinking now of a romance written by a local luthier. It is called The Two Trees and the luthier's name is Kevin Lee Luthier. I've heard him speak a couple of times and what a fascinating life he has led! He makes the most expensive violins, violas and cellos of any living maker and he mines the ores, makes the paper for the labels even raises the purebred Arabians who provide the hair for the bowstrings! He is a very interesting speaker and does a great impression of Paganinni. The Two Trees in the story are visited by young friends who grow to love one another sitting each under a respective tree, sole to sole as it were. Trees are good for quickening the better impulses.And for the laying down of roots.
So, when I have thoughts I'd like to share with you, I invoke the spirit of Dr Apple Tree who lives on in my heart and I hope that what I write comes from the deep natural heart of me. And speaks to the deep natural heart of you.