It was late July, and I was on a hike with three friends near Cloverdale, California. The hike was actually the immense backyard of one of the friends, he has a cabin on an incredible piece or property in the mountains, there are blackberry bushes and a giant rope swing and best of all–a grove of redwoods. The air was heavy with heat, the hillsides were that summertime burnt gold. To get in character, I picked up a walking stick and chewed a stalk of grass.
When we arrived at the grove of redwoods, we each fell silent. The trees do that to you. I sat down by a stump, right in the dirt, even rubbed the dirt on my legs. Then I noticed patches of light around the forest floor, that they were shifting as the sun passed overhead. I remembered learning that the redwoods are a rainforest, a temperate rainforest, and those moments of sunlight are all those sections of earth get all day, so dense are the trees. So whatever grows on the forest floor must thrive with mere moments of light a day.
I breathed deeply. I rubbed more dirt on my legs. Then I saw my foot was lit up with sunlight. I froze. Over several long moments, the sunlight began to move up my shin, eventually reaching my thigh, then my lap, then my torso. It was one of these threads of light, making its life-giving daily journey, and I was directly in its path.
I remained still, willing the light to pass over my face. I promised myself if I felt that light full upon my eyes, my lips, I would cast off my self-doubt, my social media sadness and cell phone addiction, my despair at not being able to artistically output everything I see, experience and feel. If the growth on the forest floor could thrive with mere moments of light in a day, think what I could do with all the brightness I have–my healthy body, my loving family, my creative friends, my Chairman Meow.
The light moved over my chest, my heart, my throat, and with my eyes closed and a redwood-size smile on my lips, the light illuminated my whole face. I was a new plant on the forest floor, struggling to grow roots, stretching toward the full force of Ra, Egyptian god of the sun, the very word “ra” meaning “creative power.”