Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nature is Always Adjusting to Change

This week I'm in Yosemite, staying in Camp 4 with the rock climbers, and making new friends. Climbers come here from around the world, but I seldom see anyone I know from previous trips, so each trip I have to introduce myself again. I realize that what I tell them has changed over the years. I am not who I was. I continue to evolve since Evelyn died. Parts of me are the same, mostly the stories of my past, but my interests and my goals for this trip have changed.
In summer, there can be more than two hundred people stuffed into this one camp, with six people in each site. In late fall there are far less people, generally around eighty, depending on how long the warm weather lasts.

As I walk around the valley and look closely, I begin to notice dozens of changes.

A white spot on three-thousand-foot-tall Sentinel Rock means that another slab of rock has fallen off. Walking closer, I see a new ledge a thousand feet up that is sixty feet long. Rock falls from Sentinel are easy to spot because its surface rock has weathered and lichened dark gray. Any rock that falls leaves an obvious white mark. What falls can be a surface covering, a flake, or a chunk of the wall, although what looks like a small spot on a wall 2000 feet up can be dozens of feet across.

The river also changes drastically throughout the year. In the spring its powerful current surges from the spring runoff of melting snow. Often the spring flood will be so full that it will reroute the Merced River. Then, because Yosemite has a Mediterranean climate and it doesn’t rain much in the summer, the river slows to the meandering creek it is now.
In the woods, a familiar and old craggy tree has toppled, one that I liked to sit under and watch the meadows. I will have to find a new place. Three years ago, a fire burned through one section of the forest. Now the seeds of new trees have grown to be two-feet high. Nothing stays the same in nature, although in a place as large as Yosemite Valley it looks unchanged when I drive in.

People change, too, but I don’t notice until I get close enough to see their eyes.

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