It was a beautiful summer day. He had driven for hours and as he neared the forest his anticipation increased. He was nearing the home of the great redwoods.
Finally, as he pulled into the parking lot, he let out a yell for he could actually see them, standing tall and waiting for him.
When he jumped out of the car however he felt as if he was being attacked with a blowtorch. The breeze he had expected to be cool was instead hot and dry. He felt he had been in cooler saunas.
Oh well, he thought, it’ll be better once I’m among the trees.
He stepped onto the trail and headed into the grove at a brisk pace, but he found himself slowing down rather quickly as the heated air quickly began to sap his energy. This was ridiculous. He knew his stamina was down for he had been quite ill but he had expected something special as a result of his visit to this forest. He had felt a call to come here.
Feeling shaky and slightly dizzy he considered returning to the car. Then from out of the stifling heat came a refreshingly cool breeze that seemed to whisper for him to continue on the trail. The slight burst of energy he felt propelled him forward until he found himself standing within arm’s reach of a huge redwood.
He reached out and touched the rough bark. At the moment of contact his eyes filled with tears as forgotten memories flooded in.
He had been there before. He knew that particular redwood tree. It had saved his life. It had protected and nurtured him during a seemingly endless night as death hovered nearby. He walked around to the other side of the tree and there was the cozy spot where he had rested as the tree kept him warm and sheltered.
He sat there once again and recalled the events of that time. He had gotten lost when he wandered off the main trail. It was beginning to get dark when he tripped on a rock and tumbled into a small but very cold creek. The fall had stunned him but he still had enough wits to realize he had to get out of there before hypothermia set in.
Crawling up the slope he began to shiver uncontrollably and felt his consciousness start to fade. Yet something, a kind of whisper, pulled him onward. Finally, almost at the end of his endurance, something large and dark blocked his way.
Using what little strength he had left he struggled to his feet and staggered forward to see what was there. It was a tree. The biggest tree he had ever seen. He fell against the trunk and tried to hug it. He felt warmth and heard that little whisper again. He managed to turn around, slide down to the ground, and lay back against the tree. Then he passed out.
Bright sunlight had awakened him the next morning. He was in his bed at his apartment but had no idea how he had gotten there. He could remember nothing about the previous day or night. He felt very ill and was hardly able to leave his bed for several weeks. Then came the call to visit the redwoods and the sudden return of the lost memories.
As he sat there with his back once again against the tree he knew there were still some unanswered questions. What was the quiet voice that had guided him to the tree on that night? How had the tree given him warmth and strength? How had he been returned to his apartment?
Finally, shaking his head, he arose and tried once again to hug the redwood. He realized he couldn’t because the trunk was too massive. Yet, as he stood there, he could swear he felt the tree smile.