redwood terrace

I keep reblogging redwoods.

I was born in Redwood Terrace, the settlement. Not the building ppl post pictures of. Never even seen that building. Anyway. Redwoods are my first home. They’re my protection. They play a key role in my spirituality, which is why I’m making prayer beads that represent that forest in San Mateo County. They represent everything that could ever be home in the most extreme way. I can never move back. But everywhere I go I take them with me. They’re at the core of everything for me. They’re the first place I remember ever.

I’m thinking of them now because I want my feeding tube badly but it’s the morning of the surgery and boy do I have the jitters, even with Ativan every four hours to keep me from totally losing it. Redwoods are familiar. They’re the most real thing in the world to me. Redwood Terrace is the most real place in the world to me. It belongs to that time when visually things were just textures, but boy could I feel how things felt like inside, and that’s most of my memories. Including a tree we all knew as the Mother Tree. If I can ever get my damn living will signatures witnessed, my wishes are for much of my ashes to be put in that one forest as close to the Mother Tree as possible. I hope that time is a long way off. But whenever you give up control of your body for surgery there’s always that question “will I wake up again”, no matter how safe it is.

But when I’m scared the redwoods are where my mind goes back to. It was the only place in the world I was ever protected. Not shielded from life. But protected from things nobody should deal with. Not by people but the place itself. So it still means safety and protection to me. It still means all those things. I was young but I have an excellent, long memory.

So sometime late morning early afternoon they will place my feeding tube. And I will enter a more extreme phase of not eating much orally except maybe a little light soup broth now and then. And maybe just maybe it will save my life by preventing aspiration pneumonia which I’ve had a zillion times this year it feels like and am recovering from the worst recent case now.

I can curl up on my bed and be curled up in the bottom of the Mother Tree right now. It feels like its here, because it exists in some place and time so it always exists and will exist in a way. I have no clue if its standing but it doesn’t matter. It’s here with me in my whole life always. And if its been there for hundreds of years maybe I can handle a little surgery.

This is the Mother Tree in Redwood Terrace, California, a settlement in San Mateo County of very few people when I was born there. Talked about it in a previous post. Means everything to me. That thing hanging down the side is part of an iteration — another redwood growing on the huge branches of the main tree. A single old redwood tree can become a forest of its own that way. I’m thinking about this tree now as I wait for surgery.

The Mother Tree

This conversation happened after I yammered on for ages about the Mother Tree and redwoods to a particularly observant friend.

Me: So do you want to see pictures of it?

Friend (with complete earnestness): Oh yes! I love to see pictures of other people’s god symbols!

Luckily I rarely blush due to emotions, or I’m sure my whole face and neck would’ve been dark red.

[Four pictures. One of baby-me walking behind a calico cat in a redwood forest. One of my dad and baby-me on a yellow porch, him holding me. And two of my dad holding me in a redwood forest. Captions handwritten by my mother read “…and chased her cat called Mouse. There was a big yellow balcony to sit on with daddy and a terrace of redwoods to explore…”]

This is stuff (besides the cat) that I like mostly because of the background, which are various parts of the redwood forest I was born in. I also like that they have my dad in them. He was never distant or freaked out by gender roles, he always loved me and did all kinds of stuff with me. One of his favorite things to do there with me was listen for owls. I remember nothing visually but I remember the owls hooting. He said my eyes always got really big when I heard them.

[Me as an infant in a blue dress and bonnet, standing in front of a stool on the floor of a redwood forest.]

I actually scanned most of these pictures for the backgrounds rather than the foregrounds. This one is a good example. I’m standing on a forest floor covered with redwood needles, and that is cool. I have very strong memories of the forest floor, some visual-ish, some not. (My very earliest visual memories are of textured things like forest floors, not “foreground” objects.)

I also like it because it shows one of my earliest stims, the finger wiggle.

[Picture from Google Street view of Redwood Terrace.  A quote from Kathy Mattea is superimposed, saying “In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet I slip away, like a bird in flight Back to those hills, the place that I call home.”]

Seriously that’s… exactly what I do, even if she’s doing it with West Virginia and I’m doing it with the redwoods.  I feel like it’s always inside me, so I can go back whenever I want, and especially at night.