Pandemic, Civil Unrest, Ancient Trees, and Bleeding Hearts

a son putting his own safety on the line in full police riot gear.

a daughter under siege in her own home: trying to keep children who should be in school and playing with friends appropriately informed and safe while trying to work.

a daughter-in-law afraid for her husband and back to dental work in double mask and face shield.

a daughter-in-law packing her classroom for a move to a new school that may not be occupied; learning to teach her students remotely and her own children from home—indefinitely.

a sister pastoring her flock through the pandemic and unrest, struggling with the technology curve, unable to physically comfort.

a sister working harder than ever to keep her closed retail business alive to an unknown future.

a sister/mother/grandmother trying to be supportive in any way possible, and it’s not enough.

a woman sharing images of beauty on social media as antidote to the news that is worse every day.

a nation weary, afraid, angry — and dying.


I take a hike on a day between storms of nature and away from storms of humanity. I don’t know why I’ve never been to the Grove of the Patriarchs (really, could not they change the name?); I’ve driven by it several times. Maybe because I snobbishly eschew touristy interpretive trails.

I arrive early and, since the gate is closed due to the pandemic, park along the road and walk in to the trail head. There’s no one else here. Yesterday I sobbed with worry for my children. Today I weep with heart-deep wonder under the deep-silent canopy of 1000-year-old trees, and later the pounding, crashing roar of the Ohanapecosh River.

I rarely read interpretive signs, but today I do. Every one is a metaphor for this old-as-time resetting, cataclysmic force we are living in. I  walk with much on my mind and heart. I leave it to you to make your connections. Human life, plant life, and ever-flowing river. We are one.


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Things of great age  or beauty do not just happen, they take time. The forest you see today has developed on the ashes of an older forest.

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These fast-growing trees thrive in open areas created by landslides, floods,  or fires.

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Although hundreds of seedlings will grow on fallen trees, called “nurse  logs,” only a few survive to maturity.

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Despite hardships, they survive.

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The trees have intertwined root systems. When one was felled by wind, the other fell as well.

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And through it all, the river rolls on, sometimes turbulent, other times calm. And our hearts bleed, as we fail some of our number again and again.

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(Adventure log with more photos coming soon.)

2 thoughts on “Pandemic, Civil Unrest, Ancient Trees, and Bleeding Hearts

  1. Funny how when we think we are escaping to the woods we come to realize we are instead seeing the strength of our own circles. Our hope is in those thousand year old trees. Such a beautiful, thoughtful way to share how you’re feeling.Thank you. 

    Liked by 1 person

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