Saturday, May 7, 2016

Advice from a Tree

              Yosemite National Park                The 4 year olds wanted to share their stuffed animals!

As I’m sure you can imagine a lot has happened in L.A. since I last wrote a blog in March.
Here are a few snapshot sentences of what I have been up to:

Conan audience member!
  •  I have explored new museums like the Getty Villa and the Grammy Award museum in the city
  •  Been to the taping of Conan’s late night talk show twice 
  •  Explored the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and discovered a beautiful pond to sit by
  •  Helped house two clients who have been on the streets for years and am getting much better at navigating the system of the Housing Authority
  • Had a visit and vacation with my boyfriend, Brett
  • Sang Let’s Hear it for the Boy at a fundraiser for a friend’s nonprofit bike-a-thon
  • Read the book The New Jim Crow and Brain on Fire (I’m now starting a book on Mother Teresa called Come be my Light)
  • I went to Disneyland again for Rowena's birthday! Thanks Paul! 
  • Disneyland trip #2!
  • Helped many people obtain California IDs, Social Security cards, birth certificates and other applications that cost more money than they can afford
  • Given impromptu biology lessons to kids from the neighborhood about our garden
  • Been the intermediate buffer between some friends experiencing homelessness and angry police and business owners
  • Climbed down the embankment to the LA River
  • Been heartbroken by a difficult domestic violence situation at work
  •  Made a 5 day trip to San Francisco and Yosemite National Park
  • And met the new site coordinator for DOOR Hollywood, Elizabeth

When I look back on the past few months and weeks, what stands out to me the most are the times I have been able to find nature within, and outside of, the city. When we went to Yosemite last weekend I came across a beautiful poem in the visitor’s center entitled Advice from a Tree. It really resonated with me and helped me reflect on how trees really can be good role models for our lives.

The city wears on a person more than I realized. When we drove up to Northern California and through large areas of farmland and vineyards, I took great comfort in the familiar fields of grass and the wild trees that were never planted in rows by human hands. Driving through the small town of Copperopolis where we stayed also reminded me of how friendly it is to wave at everyone you pass instead of avoiding them.

Other times I have found nature include camping at the beach with Brett, walking through the green space in the cemetery next door, taking in the different kinds of trees across the street from my bus stop in the morning, sitting on the back patio of a friend’s house with a palm tree that creates its own oasis right off Sunset Boulevard, the Getty Villa by the beach, and of course the grand creation that is Yosemite Valley with its waterfalls and huge stone mountains.

As I have gone through this year on what feels like a desperate search to figure out how I fit into the world, this poem truly puts my feelings into words. I don’t believe I was meant to be a city girl forever. I need my fresh air and green grass and quiet nights with crickets outside.  This year in the city has certainly shown me a more diverse and fast paced way to live, but it has also taught me to cherish the quiet and find more peace within myself even when I sit among sirens and yelling all around.

 As of today I have 9 weeks left in Hollywood. Some days that feels like a long time, other days like a short time. But regardless, I understand that just like a tree I am constantly expanding my roots, remembering my place among all living beings, embracing each new season’s changes, and enjoying the view of Los Angeles!
The Getty Villa (left) and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (right)

The kids made me a new pair of glasses when I got back from San Francisco!

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