I’m back here at Sitka, in the campus under giant sitka spruces.
It’s early morning and as I write, my eastward window frames the intricate silouhette of the forest, with its lichen sleeves, just beginning to appear against the lightening blue sky.
The complex calligraphy of trees, branches writing their long stories in the air.
It has been almost 2 years since I went away, after spending my first Covid Lockdown here… And it feels like I never left!
Since I arrived, it has been a deep, wrapping, warm homecoming feeling.
Being welcomed by friend and past resident Ebenezer Galluzzo in Portland; arriving in the campus at night, finding the light of my new residence -the lovely Treehouse- shining us the way home. Hiking up on Cascade head the very next day, greeting the trees, the River, the Ocean. We met Deers, Seals, bald Eagles, a belted Kingfisher, turkey Vultures and it felt like coming back to family.
The same with the Sitka Center Staff, and the lovely neighbors that were my community during lockdown in 2020.
I am back to my village in the forest! And everybody has stories to tell about these past years.
Art flourished. Studios have been built, or made space for; families have grown, houses have been left and found; jobs have changed, new residents arrived, trees have come down and others started growing from the soft turf, sweet and sharp in their bark and needles.
An around us all, and inside us too, there’s this larger story being told with such might it filtrates into our bodies with the salty air, the story that is spring.
Spring rising once more from the ground; a sapling, a gemstone of light.
As I keep writing the sky keeps chaging, painting a pink stripe behind the trees, now transforming into lille and yellow.
I was here when covid started, with all the solitude, panic and confusion of those first months; and now a part of me feels that I am here again, as it ends. As if this magic place created safe, loving boundaries for my experience of the pandemic: a couple of years of madness…framed by the trees.
I have the Rocky Horror song in my head since yesterday, when I started thinking of this post: “Let’s do the time warp again!“
Could it be, for real? That we are given the chance to pick up those threads again, there where we left off, and get going; in some way untouched, yet profoundly changed by what we’ve all been through, each in our own different way. After all, it’s just a jump to the left…
The light grows stronger and even though the sun has not appeared behind the tree line yet, birds have started singing.
We are not alone in the scars we carry. Of all the memories the past two years will leave, I hope we won’t forget this one; a reminder of both our fragility and strength, of the love we can find inside ourselves, in the hearts of our communities, and in the natural world.
The enormous energy flowing constantly inside the changing seasons.
After a yoga session in the breathe of the forest, inhaled and exhaled into thin blue air by the skins of trees around me, I hear it. I hear the love of things, its warmth inside each ray of sun; I perceive my own marvel, the unexpected gift of being alive, its one-in—a-million, random nature. We are loved into being.
And as today I hiked up the mountain overlooking the campus, both walker and land felt familiar and new, different, transformed.
Underlying the forest growth, sometimes under fallen branches, or trodden across by deerways, hidden behind new trees… I found those very same paths that two years ago used to guide me into the wilderness,
and I followed them further than ever among the trees.