This was his place of peace, his sanctuary. Trees and ferns surround me, as I look down on the creek, Fall Creek, the place where the eagle flies, and the evening quiet will grow, until there is no more light in the sky.
His dog and I sit there, finding our quiet place in the shade, near the river, and we smell the dry dirt of the summer, and the smell of the forest, and the water below us. The breeze blows through the leaves, and riffles the water flowing west, sunlight dappling on the rocks, under the mossy columns of tree trunks, nearly black against the light green of the maple leaves.
I scratch the dog’s ears, and he wags his tail. He is calm now, after jumping on me and getting excited when I filled his water bowl and untangled his rope, and dragged a chair over to him, so that we could visit.
And, today, this place still keeps its sense of peace. Yet, love and celebration are in the air. It is Kris and Jennifer’s wedding day, and I look over to where the foxgloves bloom, where they said their vows and declared their love for each other, family and close friends leaning forward to catch their words in the soft breeze of this warm July day. The call of the crows stilled a bit, as we performed the ceremony, and now the house and the deck and the yard are noisy, filled with laughter and quiet conversations, as everyone feasts on the pulled barbeque pork and the potato salad and sips their cold beer and pop. The crows have resumed their sorties, scouting out the river and wondering if there is food to be had from the barbeque.
Everyone is relaxed, enjoying the day and enjoying the celebration of love. This place feels good. Good in so many ways. As we arrived, we felt the love, and the peace of this place. This is a home of lovers, who sit out overlooking the creek in the evening, and talk and deepen their love and their commitment to each other, and dream of their future.
This morning, I read that the Greek gods held various trees sacred, and that it is believed that the Greeks named their gods as a way of giving expression to the spirits of the various trees they held sacred. And, so it must be, that we all, in a way, need a way of expressing the spirits of the trees that are in our lives and the spirits of the peace that is nature, that which surrounds us, and gives us comfort and understanding.
The trees here are growing old, the Douglas fir, the spruce, the Western Red and the Incense cedars, the big leaf and the vine maples. They have thick, old trunks, and rise high into the sky, giving shade to this part of the river bank, holding the soil and pushing into the blue above us, their roots deep, pushing down between the rocks, down to the water.
I do not know the names of the gods that hold these trees sacred, yet I feel their spirit, and fill my hunger with their presence, knowing that they watch down upon my nephew and his bride, knowing that they give them peace and comfort, and a refuge from the chaos of the world. And in this refuge, they will build their partnership and grow their love, and their roots will push down to the water and high into the sky, just like the trees.
There is laughter again, the laughter of people here today who are family, who are friends. It is the noise of relaxation and camaraderie, people comfortable in who they are and where they are going. My nephew kicks back, in the midst of all of us, at ease with himself, and at ease with being married today.
He has found his place of peace in this world, and he has found his life partner, his soul mate. He tells me this, but I knew it when I looked into his eyes, and I felt it in our first hug. At last, there is peace in his heart, and in his soul. And the trees smile down. This is good. At last.