California, I love you! I want to hug every tree, pour my love into the trunks, out the roots & into the earth.

I feel a primal love for these coastlines, foothills, mountains & valleys where I’ve lived. When alone in nature, I often walk slowly & gently imagining that my feet are kissing the land. Sometimes I lie face down on the earth, cry & let myself be held. California has been underneath & all around me my whole life. It’s held me, seen me & fed my soul with its beauty & peace. The fires burning out of control each year always hurt so much. The toxic smoke effects our bodies, human & animal lives lost, so much vegetation, homes are lost & the feeling of being scared/at risk is enormous. So many people work so hard to protect the land, our lives & homes, to fight the fires, clean up afterwards & rebuild from the devastation. The land heals, the trees grow back, the air clears & regeneration begins again. The way many of us live is so hard on the land…always altering the earth to meet our needs by cutting down, clearing, grooming, irrigating, planting, spraying, reshaping, paving, building…so much more. We’ve felt entitled to colonize & control land based on our desires instead of what is best for the land. All of life is supported by the land & it needs love in the form of honoring, respecting, moving gently & giving way to the wisdom of nature. It knows how to grow, heal, restore & sustain life over time. I can’t remember ever verbalizing or writing about how much the land of my state means to me before, but I’ve always been aware of it. I can’t know if my single existence makes a difference, but I know that there are some special places in nature, some trees that know me intimately. They remember me & have seen me grow up. It’s like The Giving Tree, the vast imbalance of what I’ve received vs. what I’ve given from the trees & the land I love. I think it matters to walk gently, to remember to give love back, to listen to & give way to the wisdom of the land whenever possible.

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