As the time in the Redwoods draws to a close, I am struck by the contrast here versus there. There could be anywhere. It usually refers to the place I call home and the location of work. The work contrast is most vivid. While I know the excursion to the Redwoods is a brief one, it seems very real in all the tangible senses. I can sense the presence of nature everywhere I look and in everything that I touch and smell. The stark reality of the elements, from people to trees, all serves to remind me of my place in the universe. Even the way the weather interacts pushes one to experience the difference between the northern California coast and anywhere else.
There are some on both sides of the fence that would like one to believe that core issues, challenges, and problems in life are the same wherever you go. On one hand this is absolutely true but there is a fundamental difference. I am in a temporary community where I am not a threat or significant thorn to any one or thing. Perhaps if I stayed and become a “fifth generation this side of the river” this statement would no longer be true. As a guest I am afforded temporary privileges that often do not rest with those who belong.
What is really different? Am I willing to understand and grapple with the line that divides here from there?
The harsh reality is that while there are those who bluntly confront me in my analysis, saying “You're crazy! Who's trying to kill you? You're demon-possessed.” (John 7.20) There can be no denying that knives have been sharpened and swords drawn. The blood spilled has been minimal but the battles lines are clearly drawn for those willing to see.
In the midst of the Redwoods and morning fog I can see something more clearly than at any time in my life. The danger is here, it is just different. The larger questions loom; am I willing to fight? If so, what is the cause?
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