Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Largeness

Redwood trees have shallow but long roots. They stretch great distances underground, seeking out fellow redwood roots. Once found, the trees sort of embrace and hold each other up. Walking among the giants, keeping watch out for Bigfoot, I think of all these trees holding onto each other for dear life just a few feet below my step.

Two weeks on a Greyhound bus will do something to a woman. She'll play cowgirl to Nashville's honky-tonk, and by the next day she'll be dancing at a Laredo nightclub. She might sweat it out in the desert while locals moan and wail into karaoke machines, or sit poolside among saguaro cactus and so much sand. There's the beaches of San Diego, with body-building cancer-crusaders and street kids with eccentric stories; LA county with its studio lights and mechanical bulls; and Santa Cruz: ah, Santa Cruz.

All that, to find oneself nestled in a bunch of ancient trees at an overnight Yurok tribal dance intended to heal a sick child. Ceremonial fires, regalia dating back hundreds of years, chants as old as the salmon running in the rivers. And for tomorrow, a protest in Portland to shut down Klamath River's dams; the dams that make the salmon float belly-up in too-shallow and too-warm water. It's a grab at the old ways, at the sacred life-cycle and livelihood of an ancient people who know these trees, and those fish, and the river. I'm just along for the ride.

And what can there be, after that?

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