I recently took a trip, a vacation to a distant part of the country.  It was a long awaited respite that I needed to rejuvenate my spirit and reconnect with nature.  Oddly enough everything seemed to come into play to keep me from this trip, literally hindering me from going.  I had been called, you see, by many a serendipitous occasions to go, leading me to believe that the trip was meant for my spiritual development.  I was then determined to make the trip regardless of the seemingly unyielding circumstances that belied my going.  I soon realized that circumstances are merely that, and that one’s choice despite the seemingly insurmountable can change the course of one’s life.

Two days before the trip, a loved one, my grandmother, passed away quietly in her sleep.  Being the only living family member it was my duty to make the appropriate arrangements, which seemed daunting at best.  In addition my job was requiring only just recently that I attend some training sessions and there seemed to be a position being made for a “person in charge” that everyone was vying for.  Needless to say, personalities where beginning to emerge themselves from their ego hideaways to slash and gnaw at anyone who was thought to be considered.  My trip, however, had been preplanned and requested.  Everything was paid for with no hope of a refund.  I felt trapped and annoyed by circumstances well out of my control, but was determined, despite my grief and anxiety to make the venture.  So I made the arrangements, timing them for my return, and scheduled my sessions for then as well.  I didn’t care much about the position, as the mechanics of politics often eluded me, and the idea of lauding myself at the expense of others, though considered an acceptable practice, has never set well in my stomach.  Thus, off I went to see what the universe had in store for me.

IMG_0083It was a nature trip.  I had dreamed of seeing the magnificent “sequoia giganteum”, a mountainous tree of epic height and unfathomable girth.  The first thing I did was to find these majestic beings and stand in awe at their feet.  Some 300 feet high and 40 feet in diameter, these majestic beings live for over 2000 years, impervious to rot or bug infestation.  They have limbs as large as 6 feet in diameter and if they don’t fall, which appears to be the only thing that can kill them, they continue to grow, climbing to dizzying heights.  Their roots are shallow and spread maybe a mere 100 feet from their base, anchoring them to the soil.  Even if they do fall they are indestructible, never rotting or succumbing to insects, they just remain for another thousand years in repose.  Fire is even a necessary caveat to their survival, releasing their seedlings, allowing them to reproduce.  Few succumb completely to fire as their somewhat fire retardant bark hinders this, although neighboring trees whose tops skirt their lower branches can set aflame their leaves and rarely their demise.  Deep within the forest nestled in the bosom of God they grow, quiet, austere and majestic.

I saw nature in all its glory; granite peaks jutting out from mountain ranges cut by glaciers hundreds of years ago; deep winding valleys bordered by towering pines and graceful waterfalls; narrow rivers and streams trickling through dense rock to become a tumult of white rapid spray soon swirling into large expansive lakes high in the mountain valley, and each creature large and small, an intricate part of this magnificent dance of nature.   All just being.  I watched as people clamored from all over the world to see that which was neither manufactured or mimicked.  Snapping pictures in awe of the planet that they lived on, but was disconnected from.  All soon to return, like myself, to the manufactured, metal and cement lives that we live.


I stood at the base of the majestic sequoias and thought, “why do I live as a caged bird?”  Why do i live a life that I have never felt was my own but dictated by the circumstances and expectations heaped on me by society?  Unlike the mighty sequoia, I can choose which of the neighboring trees skirt my branches and like the sequoia I can grow and grow until the day I topple over and even then I will continue.  I guess I don’t want nature to be a novelty that I take pictures of once a year,  I want to join the dance that I have always been a part of.  Perhaps therein lies my disconcertion.  Perhaps I was meant to live among the beauty that is nature, foregoing the manufactured facade that I was conditioned to strive for.   The mountain ranges, the waterfalls, and the mighty sequoia all beckon me home.

On my return, I took care of the funeral, went to my training sessions, eventually, and watched abjectly as my colleagues positioned themselves for a couple of more dollars an hour.  Deep within me the sequoia stood, waiting and watching, silently beckoning me to return to myself.  I have decided that I will.  I know it will be a daunting task to uproot a life so well manufactured, (mental chains included), but I think it well worth the effort.  What is life if not lived?  I have no way of knowing what’s in store for me, but I know what lies behind me.  That in itself is a catalyst for change.  I have learned that if you listen closely the universe will speak.  How you respond is your choice.  What a wonderful gift.