When walking through a forest, I’ve noticed certain unique trees, usually located some distance from each other: they are larger, straighter, stronger, and they have a majestic air about them. They appear older than the others by some measure and look regal, a forest leader, a great grandparent many times over. The city of Monterey numbers its street trees, and number 2285 belongs to one of these royal monsters, a Monterey pine standing guard next to Peters Gate a few blocks from our house. This old one has been struggling for many years, and even the winter rains failed to revive it. When a tree over a hundred feet tall begins to die, it becomes dangerous, and the city has to remove it. Today they began to cut 2285.
I walked up to this beauty and gave it a hug to help send it off. Oh––I could feel the tree, the depth, and breadth of its roots and its massive spread above me. I could feel the life and personality, its age and wisdom, its strength and stability. But what I didn’t feel was distress. There was no fear or turning away. I reached up and tugged on its number tag, and it just fell into my hand. 2285 seemed fine with these last days and the experience of its energy dissipating. There was no resolve or acceptance, just a presence. Without the churning of the human mind, dying isn’t any different than living.