My family’s favorite lake

My post from June 2014 (Mother Earth) about Jane Goodall was one of my favorites. There was much I wanted to add to that post but didn’t get a chance. One mention I didn’t get to include was who inspired me when I was younger to respect Mother Earth.

That person is my father.

My father has been one of my best friends in my life. I realize that might seem odd to some- but it’s very true. And I think that is why I find it difficult to write about him, even now. Too much emotion.

From as young as I can remember, my Pops (aka ClarkGriswold) would take us hiking in the woods where we could explore, whistle with the birds (he’ll have tough competition in NZ), determine proper scat identification, and hug trees. He was the one taking photos of the flowers: little bluebells, pink lady slippers, lilacs or the fresh dew on the tree leaves. Occasionally, if we were extra quiet, maybe a photo op with a deer (before “selfies” or “ussies” were that cool). And at night, my dad often reminded us to look up at the sky and imagine what might be out there. He put into perspective how teeny, tiny, small we are in comparison to the light of the stars and moon.

I just came back from a trip to the USA to see family and I learned that my father’s favorite tree is a White Pine, which pretty much sums up my dad’s character quite well. The Iroquois in North America refer to the White Pine as the “tree of peace” due to a Peacemaker telling all the warriors to bury their weapons under a planted White Pine. A very tall and tough tree, I’ve also heard it is the symbol of wisdom and longevity. 

A sturdy White Pine

My dad also loves grey wolves and has perfected their howl. The Native American symbolism that I’m aware of, and forgive me for not doing my research, is that the grey wolf represents a deep connection with your intuition. Again, I think this sums up my dad pretty well. He’s always been a quiet, humble, and private (he will probably be embarrassed by this post) man. Some might say he’s shy or an introvert, but he’s always been someone who honors his instincts, stands up for his rights if necessary (someone has to chase the chipmunks out of the garage!), and allows forgiveness where there sometimes should be none.

This is just a glimpse of the bravery and gratitude that my father has passed on to me…  and now to his grandson.

So while I was listening to Dr. Goodall lecture about finding unity with the heart and the mind, I couldn’t help but to think of my dad’s compassion for all living things. And don’t worry, Dad. I’m not putting you on a pedestal. I’ve never searched for perfection from anyone. Except when playing with Barbies.

I’m very fortunate to have the relationship I have with my padre. He is my political sounding board, my music-enthusiast, my movie-watching buddy (gotta love the Back to the Future Trilogy, right?!), my camp fire supervisor, my museum-hopping seeker, my editor and my teacher, and now… he is my quiet, wise guide and my reminder of finding peace within this jungle of life. 

 

Lake Itasca through the Pines

 

I just had to say it.

And of course, he’s always cool rockin’.

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