“The more time I spend up here with Spirit tree, the more I become aware of why he is here” whispered Jason as we woke up.
Last night, Max got to blow out 5 birthday candles on his requested strawberry and vanilla cake, open a few presents and stay up extra late (maybe the cake had something to do with that?) After the boys were asleep, Jason and I rode our bikes out to Spirit Tree to spend the night.
“Tell me more” I said.
“Here we are cradled by Spirit Tree’s dead, beautiful roots. They protected us from the wind all night and even though they are no longer living, they are still supporting this massive, magnificent tree.”
“Just like Spirit is still fully apart of us, surrounding us with his strength and love,” he added after a moment listening to the breeze.
We lay there, slowly waking up after a night of holding each other while the winds whipped around us. I looked up to the tree’s half dead and half living branches. The dead branches were just as beautiful as the live ones and had weathered the wind all night long. The two existed together in stark contrast. It wasn’t “life” and “not life”. It was “life” and “beyond life”.
An image came to my mind – it was of both boys in my belly together. They were spooning each other. One purple and one pink. The purple one, Spirit B, was not moving but was still holding on to the pink one, Max. However Max was not afraid, instead he had a very peaceful smile on his face and was nestled in to Spirit’s cocoon, soaking up his love and energy.
5 years ago on this night, Jason and I held both of our boys for 24 hours. As a foursome, we all fit into one hospital bed – pressed tight into each other. George Winston’s album “December” became soundtrack to our immeasurable grief. Together we weathered a storm filled with gusts of pain, joy, love, disappointment, anger and wonder. Even after 70 hours of labor, I could not take my eyes off of them. I wanted so badly for time to stop. In the late morning, our dear friend Lux took Spirit B away to commit him to the fire. From the moment he took Spirit B from my arms, he did not let a single person touch him, placing him into the furnace himself. A few hours later, he came back with a vial of his ashes. It was not how I envisioned my two baby boys. But just like branches have many forks, in life we have the opportunity to make many choices. Each choice is like a different branch forking off from the trunk.
On Spirit B day, Jan 16th – we hiked up to Spirit B tree along with our closest friends and family who helped care for us during our darkest storm. Even Jason’s mom who has a hard time walking was able to come – thanks to an amazing chair (aptly named the Advenchair) and 5 strong men. The summit ridge is horribly steep and loose lava rock, but it was no overcome with teamwork, will and a little help from Spirit I think. At the top, Jason had mounted an old antique phone to the tree, complete with beautiful burned in artwork of a hawk, mountains and a rainbow – a Spirit Phone. Jason was inspired by Japan’s Wind phone – created in 2010 – that has been visited by over 30,000 people. We can now hike up to the tree atop the butte and pick up the phone to talk to Spirit.
As I was tucking Max and Revel in before we left, I asked them if they wanted me to say anything to Spirit. Max said “Can you tell him that I will go next time and that I love him?”
“Of course” I said.
Revel had nothing to say, but I went ahead and thanked Spirit B for leading him to us and for naming him.
This morning, as we rode back home to wake up our boys and take them to Forest School and Kindy, Jason and I talked about our night spooning Spirit Tree’s roots, about trees, about death, about Max and Revel, about all the adventures we want to go on, and about how we want to live.
I can feel my heart stretching and cracking open again, however this time I am excited and prepared for the growth yet to come.
“When I die, she said, I am coming back as a tree with deep roots and I’ll wave my leaves to the children every morning on their way to school & whisper tree songs at night in their dreams. Trees with deep roots know about the things that children need.” – Brian Andreas