The Lonely Tree

Etna, Calif. //

I’m back in Etna, California – my hometown in Scott Valley, a remote ranching community just south of the Oregon border. Population: 700. In the 10 years since I have been gone, the number of things that have changed I can count on one hand. It’s the most beautiful place on earth.

On the valley floor you’re surrounded by mountains, secluded from Time itself. One one of these ridges, a lone tree stands out.

You wouldn’t even notice it, but my mom has looked at the same tree for years. The trees along the path of her morning run frame it perfectly. She thinks about how lonely it looks.

Some people worry about money. Others about time or death or security or what their neighbors think about the lawn. My mom worries about a tree being lonely.

Today we decided to go find that lonely tree.

With a rough sense of direction through a maze of old logging road, but mostly luck, we found it.

If you’ll care enough to find a tree at 6500 feet to give it a hug, you’ll care about anyone. And that’s everything that my mom is; she’s a window to my Ojiichan and all of his carefree compassion. No one is a better example of unconditional, sacrificial, relentless love like my mom. And I’d say that even if I weren’t her daughter.

We should all be searching for lonely trees.

“It’s not lonely anymore!”

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