This is the 3rd Anniversary of my mentor, Joe Hart’s...



This is the 3rd Anniversary of my mentor, Joe Hart’s death. Last year this day hit me extra hard. I felt lost & alone. Joe used the woods as a creative space, so I headed to a tiny patch of evergreen trees that I loved (but hadn’t seen for years) up in Griffith Park, to connect with him.
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I found it in ruins-burnt to a crisp. My beloved trees were dark & bowed their heads. The air I remembered as rich w/lush pine, now smelled of carbon & ash. Because the surrounding areas were completely untouched, the fire felt cruel, like my trees had been singled out for being too different, too wonderful. Their brutal loss was all too symbolic of why I had come.
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Resolved, I kept walking, but my heart had sunk. I sat, legs overhung at the top of the mountain for over an hour, looking out, listening to the trees. I lay down, felt the earth under my back. The Irish lilt of “Lord of the Dance” (which reminds me of Joe) flickered round my head, I stood up, blessed the space, but didn’t feel any better. Finally, I found a stick, carved his name & the date in the dirt near a tree, on the edge of the path looking over the land, to honor him.
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On my way down, I paused at the burnt & fallen trees. This time, I looked with my heart instead of just my eyes, breathed in the tangled scents of pine, pepper tree & eucalyptus mingling w/fading cinder, felt the earth beneath my feet, wind on my face. I opened my eyes to reach out to touch a tree, to connect, to comfort, to mourn & saw what I had totally missed the first time: a heart-shaped tree stump, with a hole in it. Just like the hole in my heart for Joe…Hart. Sometimes the man speaks very loudly ❤️
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It was perfect! Its roots were shiny black charcoal, its soft brown fibers exposed to the elements without their protective bark, cool to the touch despite the hot day. When I pressed down, it felt hollow-burnt from the inside out, like if I pressed hard enough, what remained of its being would crumble to dust beneath my hand. A reminder: There is magic in this world. It is strong, fragile & dear. Life is temporary. Honor it while you can. Let it fill you while you can. These are the good times-we’re still here ❤️ #gratefulheart (at Griffith Park)

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