Trees Are Life

Dog walking is a rather solitary business– at least it is for me– but that’s how I like it. You’re never gonna find me at the dog park communing with other dog walkers whilst our charges are off somewhere milling about or rolling around in petrified coyote scat. Nope. When I’m walking dogs, I much prefer the company of trees to humans.

Lake Hollywood.

How I love the ethereal glow of sunlight filtering through branches or the way in which trees in the foreground of a sunset become a majestic show of shadow and light.

Sunset over Valley Village.

Every morning begins with a quiet encounter with the pepper tree right outside my apartment. My favorite way to begin my day.

Pepper tree at sunrise.

The crab apple tree just outside my window is a hive of hummingbird activity. Such a pleasant distraction. These little fairies bring me such joy.

One of many tiny visitors.

Some of the trees I see along my regular dog walking routes:

The sky’s the limit in the Hollywood Hills.
Fall finally arrives at Holmby Park.
Towering over a Griffith Park trail.
Communing with the clouds at Franklin Canyon.
Beverly Hills palm.

I often entertain fantasies of one day living in a rustic abode, somewhere in a canyon, where I can take my coffee outdoors and dream beneath a canopy of trees.

Dream home.

I think it’d be cool to come back as a tree. A California Live Oak, specifically. All manner of birds would alight in my branches and sing their joyful songs. Deer and coyote and hikers would take respite in my shade. I’d be a lush playground for squirrels and tree climbing children, emit oxygen for the living, and through my extensive root system, I’d provide nourishment to any sickly tree in my purview.

It’s not totally outside the realm of reality, coming back as a tree. The Capsula Mundi Project envisions human remains placed in egg shaped burial pods which are then buried like a seed in the earth. A tree, chosen in life by the deceased, is then planted on top.

Can you imagine? Instead of visiting departed loved ones in a traditional cemetery, people could visit those who’ve passed on in a sacred memory forest. Rather than picking up a roadside bouquet that will quickly wither and die and get tossed by groundskeepers, family and friends can tend to a tree that will live on for generations to come. And I mean, let’s get real, this planet desperately needs more trees.

Unfortunately, the burial pod memory forest is, at least for now, is nothing more than a beautiful concept. You can, however, do the biodegradable living urn thing (available on Amazon, because of course it is!) in your own backyard, which is totally cool, but it’s no memory forest.

But you know, I’d be more than satisfied to stick with my original plan: have my kid scatter my ashes around my favorite spot, where my favorite trees live; the ones I’ve named the “star-crossed lovers”. I visit this spot whenever I need to refresh my soul, have a serious conversation with God, or cry it all out. It’s beneath one of these trees that I buried the hummingbird that took its last breath in my hand. It’s where I close my eyes and listen. It’s where I feel centered and at peace, there, among the live oaks.

The star-crossed lovers just beyond the bridge.

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