I was on a roll. Every Saturday or Sunday, I’d sit down at my computer and write a blog. I enjoyed the process and the ideas and words flowed easily.  Then I moved.

Since then, finding momentum and inspiration has not been easy.  Years ago, when I took a writing course, my teacher said “ keep the pen moving.”  These days that means fingers on a keyboard. She suggested that writing “blah, blah, blah, I don’t know what to write, I’m so stuck, and so on and so forth” was far superior to sitting and looking at a blank page and that those meaningless words would transform into prose.  This is my blah, blah blog. Bear with me.

I know that part of what is holding me up is the tree outside my door.  After ten years with no outdoor space, I love my little patio and the grandiflora magnolia holding vigil by the fence. I love sitting outside and watching the Eucalyptus trees by the creek playing “leafies” with each other.  I watch a branch full of leaves reach out towards the tree next door while the next door tree does the same. It’s like watching a dance. I get mesmerized and inspired by the community of leaves. I get intrigued by the tree community connecting and playing.

When I first moved to British Columbia, I got a job cooking in a tree planting camp. While I loved sleeping in my tent, storing food in the glacier fed creek, and cooking up great things for the other young people on that site, looking over the acres of tree stubble was like looking at a freshly created graveyard. Each day the tree planters walked through the stubble planting seedlings. It wasn’t an easy job as the logging process left behind stumps two feet high interspersed with branches and tree trunks deemed too small to be profitable. It was difficult terrain. In my heart it felt like toddlers were being turned loose amongst the graves of their parents and ancestors to raise themselves.  Since that time, every time I drive by a logged area, I say “I’m sorry.” It breaks my heart.

Today as I write this, much of the Bay area is without electricity because of the danger from high winds. Three fires are raging within a 3 hour drive of here and more in Southern California. This morning I went to Oakland Center for Spiritual Living, my community and my place of work, where we held service in the dark. Our power is out at least for two days. People joked and supported each other. As my minister said, “what better place to be on a day like this?”

The high winds, the devastating forest fires and the forest graveyards are not separate from one another.  I can’t go back and change what I did or didn’t do when I was young. I can’t go back and change what my generation did or didn’t do. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the enormity of the legacy my generation has left my children and grandchildren. I feel scared for them. At the same time, I remember growing up during the Cold War when we had air raid drills in school, where people were concerned that the atomic bomb was going to end the world. I see young people doing exactly what we did. Loving and building community. Solving problems and creating others. Raising children and moving one foot in front of the other. 

I’m one woman in the midst of what can appear to be chaos, doom and gloom. Sometimes I lie awake wondering what is mine to do. I don’t have an answer to that. What I do know if that I can love my magnolia tree with care and attention.

And I can keep writing.