Every turn was like seeing an old friend. I knew this trail now, unlike five years ago when I had no idea what lay ahead. Ironically, or perhaps symbolically, the fog was so heavy that I could not see the sky above, or ground below. Much like our future, we’re not allowed to see the details.
I was OK with that. I was more than OK with it… I was firmly in the present; taking in all the sights and sounds that surrounded me.
It was within the silence that I could hear my heart.
I repeated the rituals in my head as I reached each milestone. I just knew them when I saw them. I paused again to give reverence.
Honestly, I also looked around to see if I could find the tokens that I threw aside.
I especially wanted to find the giraffe that represented “Mini D”, the 3-year-old who came for a year, but took my heart forever.
Poking around in the bush yielded nothing but two arms covered in tiny wet leaves. I didn’t want to do any damage, especially if this happened to be the wrong spot.
I found myself having to say goodbye all over again.
Yet, I also got a chance to add more gratitudes and goodbyes as I walked.
Thank you, David.
Thank you, Eric.
Two amazing people, who became like angels to me since the last visit… and who left to become angels just a few short years later.
As I moved on along the trail, what struck me the most were the trees. Just a few months after I was here, the area was struck by a horrendous fire. The blackened trees stood as a testament to that horrifying time.
What was so beautiful though was the voluptuous green that sprouted boldly towards the sun. Even fallen trees had offshoots springing up.
That above all else was my lesson for the day.
No matter what you go through, new growth is possible.
I passed all the usual spots and knew I was getting close. I could feel the presence of the Tree and the Holy Ground where “Stu Rosen Art” was born.
There was a trail that stopped looking familiar.
I paused, trying to think back.
Did I go that way?
Then I turned to the right.
There it was.
The magnificent tree.
My old friend.
It spoke to me, “Hello.”
“Hi,” I whispered back.
Hello, you beautiful, magnificent thing.
(I said that, although I hope the feeling was mutual)
And there, just to the right of it was THE HILL.
For five years, it’s been the wallpaper of my phone. Every time I looked at it, I was reminded to “take the hill!” Don’t hold back. Don’t fear what’s up there. Never believe that you can’t make it up there.
So, I did. After a short pause to touch the branches of tree, I trotted up the hill.
Like the whole trip, there was nothing to be seen.
I joked that there was a 404 glitch in the Matrix, and that they needed to reinstall the sky module.
(Such a geek!)
So, I headed back down to the Tree.
To sit underneath one more time.
To gaze surreally at the Hill.
To eat my lunch.
To draw the Hill again, this time with a pencil.
I learned a lot doing that.
I learned that I don’t do well when it’s cold and rainy and my foot falls asleep while sitting on the hard ground.
I learned that even my pencil sketch isn’t all “that much.”
I realized that my art career would’ve taken quite a different turn if I started in pencil and not pen.
I learned that imperfection should never stop me.
Looking back on my very first sketch in pen, I could see it wasn’t really a work of art either.
But it’s a first step.
In the same way that a child’s first step isn’t winning any marathon.
That first step led me to London and Beverly Hills.
That all the other steps allow me to touch the lives of people like nothing else can.
And that it’s possible to rise out of the fire.
Burned, but beautiful.
And growing anew.