By Raz Allen

January is my favorite month. I love the cooler, breezy weather and the skyline is spectacular when it is various shades of gray with maybe a little splash of pinkish orangish wash. 

photo by Great Big Canvas

While in the midst of winter, January is also a time of rebirth for many. Some of us set our goals for the year and get back into a groove after the celebration of the holiday season. The mood of the month is still somewhat hanging on to the festive energy and looking forward to the possibilities of the Spring.  I do enjoy being able to comb the beach for natural treasures one day and setting off on a road trip to the nearby snowy mountains, the next. Seems like a nice balance of weather. 

I have lived in various types of climates, from 4 feet of snow with a windchill of 40 below zero, to warm, tropical locales with a scattering of typhoon activity. I have been glad to experience many different perspectives. My favorite in the US, though, is California. This state alone has so many micro climates. I do enjoy the atmosphere of the Southern section of the state, but my favorite is mid-to-Northern California where the coastal Redwoods grow. These trees have been in my life since I was very young. Our family would camp every six months in Sequoia National Forest. There too, I got to see the  beautiful contrast of winter snow and sun basking of the summer, all under the canopy of the wonderous and majestic Redwoods. One of the pieces of information that always stuck in my mind was the fact that it was estimated that the wood from the “General Sherman” alone, could make forty-five five-room houses! Not that I would ever approve of using this marvel as building material but the amount of it just blows my mind! The US Forest Service has said that a lower branch that fell off was itself taller than any tree on the East Coast. WOW!

photo by KMPH

A few years ago, I was at a retreat in Mendocino County. I recall hearing the buzzing of many chainsaws in the forest in the distance of where I was camping. I actually cried for the pain of the surrounding forest. As I ventured onto the land a half mile from my camp, I saw a totally cleared field of stumps. It wrenched my heart. 

Last year when I lost my brother, a friend and I held a Sacred Fire for him and all that had lost someone to Covid or to the wildfires. We both turned to a nearby Redwood for comfort. Both of us put our arms around its wide trunk, not even touching each other it was so wide, and we sobbed. I could feel the compassion of that tree. 

Yep its true, I am a tree hugger, just like my Mother before me. I guess the saying fits here, “the apple (or should I say pinecone), didn’t fall too far from the tree”! 

I encourage anyone to try putting your arms around a tree, whether happy or sad. Linger just a bit and listen ……feel. What did you notice? I would love to hear your experiences. Share your story and photos with me at:     raz@earthrootsfieldschool.org

Also, please let me know if I can or cannot share them with others. Happy Tree Hugging!