What an amazing Earth Day! Temps nearing 84°F, planting nearly 200 more redwoods on the land. Seth, Shawn and I planted, staked and covered each seedling with a protective ‘Tiller Net’, a UV degradable deer browsing prevention sleeve. As the boys chattered on to each other, yelling across the forest, I enjoyed planting high on the South ridge in solitude and contemplation. Although this ridge would get less sunlight, it also would be less parched in the late summer drought months. Other trees had done well on this slope, as evidenced by the old grand firs still standing after the logger left last fall.
I planted the Sequoia Sempervirens thick, at 10-foot spacing, among moss and trillium in full blossom. Each seedling carefully placed into a thin hole dug with a tree planting shovel, as I wondered how long they would grow, how tall and wide and strong. Would they be here in 1,000 years? Seth pondered whether humanity would be here that long, then said – Yes, our ancestors would be here still. I didn’t know. No matter, I felt inspired to be planting trees whose relatives outlived my contemporaries 20-fold. And then I imagined, what would it be like to witness such long periods of life on Earth, the rapid movements of bird and animal, the slow turnings of season, sun and moon. And to witness the loss of brother and sister to chainsaw and human greed, when the Californian multi-thousand year forests were cut down in a mere moment. Do the redwoods forgive us?
Some of my planting work is penance, dues paid for logging last fall. We harvested over 130,000 board feet of timber, just to catch up and ‘break even’ again. Financially, I couldn’t really afford to take the last year off from working in the restaurant. But emotionally, I couldn’t afford not to. The stress of working the floor had taken a dangerous toll on my health and sanity.
And now, here I am, back as Floor Manager. Earth Day evening, and the restaurant is booming! I return from tree planting to a full house Sunday evening. Running like mad, trying to keep ahead of the new guests who seem to arrive every minute. With the outdoor patio seating open, we serve nearly 70 seats. I am ‘in the weeds’ – a restaurant phrase I learned way back from Theron, our New Orleans chef extraordinaire. In the weeds, which means there are a dozen tickets, lots of anxious, angry customers, glaring at you, even though 30 people showed up at once, and there are only 2 cooks and 1 server. Despite the weeds, we do well, working as a good team. Most customer seems to have a good time, after all.
From the forest of trees and trillium, into the weeds! All in a day’s work, Earth Day 2012.