Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Write of Passage--The Journey Begins, Part 1

Ok, you may have asked yourself by now, "How did this all get started?"
How is it that Cote and I spent two weeks driving 5000 miles together, to climb trees on the west coast, the summer before she left for college? Well, let me just say.....the whole thing began when I made a simple comment about two years ago. It was an off-the-cuff remark in response to an article I had found in my latest issue of Women's Health magazine. It was a "YOU CAN DO THIS" article, a monthly column designed to challenge the reader to push herself to new and never before imagined limits, both physically and mentally. This time it just happened to be out on the limb of a 250' Douglas fir. The picture posted here was the one that stopped my fingers from flipping any further through the glossy pages of my magazine that day. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had never seen a more beautiful tree, and I had never in my wildest dreams ever considered it was possible to climb one.
I devoured the article, word for word. When I finished, I looked over at my oldest daughter, the one who has loved to climb trees since she's been tall enough to reach the bottom branches (tiptoeing on wobbly step stools, of course), and said these now infamous words......."Someday you and I are going to climb REAL trees." I proudly held up the article so she could see just how serious I was, and like any normal, enthusiastic, open-minded 16-year-old, she looked at me and said,"Yeah, right Mom."
But something happened that day. A seed was planted, an idea took root, and a dream began to grow. I cut the article out, placed it in a special folder, and every so often I would reread over the author's incredible account of what it took and what it was like to climb these massive trees. I didn't know how and I didn't know when, but I knew someday Cote and I would have our own tree-climbing story to tell, a version written just by us.
When I tucked the article away that day, I tucked a few extra dollars into a plain white envelope as well. I did this almost subconsciously, and then I started adding to it whenever I could. A few dollars here, a few dollars there. Whatever I had left over at the end of the month, or whatever I was willing to pretend I never had. On the outside of the envelope I wrote these words by John Muir...."In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." Someday Cote and I would walk into a forest glade, far from home, and find the answers to questions we didn't even know we were searching for. The journey we would take to get there would be filled with adventure and riddled with unknowns. Yet we would discover more about ourselves, more about each other, and more about this big beautiful world we live in, than we could have ever imagined was out there. All we had to do was open the car door, buckle up, and press the pedal forward.
I think I'll stop here for now. I'll give you a break, and I'll give my mind a chance to relax/regroup. I'll come back and finish the "beginning" of this story, the next time I'm here. There's only a little bit left to tell before we actually pack up the car and head west. I hope to see you then....

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the beautiful comment. It means a lot. I have always been a tree-climber too. This story sounds amazing. I just climbed my first tree since childhood a couple weeks ago. It felt great. I hope to do it more often. I'm happy to see you're blogging. It's a great way to keep in touch!


Powerful Words

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~Kahlil Gibran