The spouse and friends and I try to take an annual camping trip to the Northern California coast, specifically Patrick’s Point State Park and surrounding beaches and forests. (If you have never been, imagine the Ewok battle in that one Star Wars, because it was filmed in these forests.) They’re eerie and breathtaking and truly seem to exist out of time. I honestly hold my breath when I’m in them because a part of me fully expects a dinosaur to come crashing out of a grove at any minute. Three years ago we took a stroll through one of the groves and, a few days after returning to the grid, the muse struck and I wrote a vignette about it, posted it online, and thought little else about it. My filmmaker friend (and fellow camper/tree worshipper) Jesse Rosten seized upon it and tucked a copy away for future workings.
Now, the workings have been worked. Jesse had me record a portion of the vignette and combined it with some excellent Album Leaf music and his signature stunning visual style. It is ‘Growing Is Forever’ and I absolutely love it. The National Parks Conservancy uses it, as does Visit California. At one point it was in a museum exhibition somewhere. I hope you love it, too. And if you ever have the chance to visit the area, take it.
Here is the full text; many who have only seen the video have called it a poem (which is fine) so I hope its revelation as prose doesn’t disappoint the diehard poesy fans.
A very long time ago, there were no groves because everywhere was a grove with no roads to bisect and no people to erect stones and fences and bridges. The trees were very, very young and had much living ahead of them. The enormity of their lifespan loomed in wooly mists around them, so they stretched out their root fingers and wrapped them around each others’, intertwining and holding very tight. The ferns found pockets of root fingers where they could nestle in and the moss stretched itself out over the soil and everything became very soft. The trees grew and made patterns of light and dark on the ground and the vines swirled in to trace the patterns. Spotted spiders moved back and forth and up and down, making nets to catch the mist, and the mist would linger on the nets in drops that cupped the light. It was very quiet all the time because the trees needed to focus on their lives. It is not easy to grow so much, for so long. Some trees became tired and lay down on the soft ground; others leaned and rested their tops on another. Growing is forever, they whispered, and when one tree had to stop, another would grow out of it and reach very high into the grey and gold sky.
The trees rested and waited to the mist to come and cool them. They were very large, but still not very old, and had much more growing to do.