Deep Roots and Granite Walls
Something about Yosemite keeps me tethered. Solid granite walls, two thousand year old trees, rivers rushing without a hurry… all evidence of an eternity of presently forming.
Before I began living and working in Yosemite, I thought I would work and live in the park for two years before moving on to the next season of life. Instead, two has turned into four and I do not expect to leave anytime soon. While it may no longer be a novelty to me, this place has shaped me so profoundly that its lessons feel as though they have bound me in the most captivating rhythms possible. The arms of the trees reassure me more than those of humans at times.
Many of my coworkers and friends come and go from season to season, using Yosemite as a stepping stone along their nomadic journey exploring the many parks and wildlands throughout the country. Such dynamics have their pros and cons for me. I get to meet people from every corner of the world and nearly every walk of life. I engage with perspectives different than my own and believe I am better off because of it. Unfortunately, not all these folks stick around for long.
I am not a nomad. I sink my roots deep. If I am involved in something shallow I often feel that I might wither away. I want my actions and my lifestyle to be one of substance and to mean something profound. I want to leave places and people I encounter better than I found them, even if I only encounter them briefly. Near and far, we are all intimately connected, and I am thankful for those nomads who have taught me such irreplaceable lessons.
All this is not to say that I am a perfect example of such an ethos. I am still, after all, human – to err is in my nature just as much as anyone else. When I am healthy and at my best, I try, I fail, and I make my best attempt to correct any harm I may have done. I know of no other way to go through life sustainably.
Perhaps our faults are precisely why we all need each other. Our errors often teach us greater things than we could ever learn from success. I imagine few more reverent experiences than departing that learned wisdom to those who drift in and out of our circles. Even the most reclusive of us need others. If this isn’t the truth then I do not know what is.
So if you ever do encounter me, please help hold me to this: a life of substance and of growth, one of shared experience and of wholesomeness – ultimately, a life that helps us all stay in it for the long haul.