I am fairly certain that this picture of my dad was taken in the Sequoia National Park at age 25 during a trip we all took together which would have been my first trip into the Sequoias to see the trees. That would be 35 years ago. What is amazing is my dad and I have been back to the Sequoias together many times over the years and I just returned from a trip on Thursday, where I was able to share it with a new group of souls (the 5th Grade Class my wife teaches). The Sequoias are one of my dad's most favorite things to see and to be around since the massive giant trees represent a world of majestic beauty and stillness unsurpassed. My dad and I have hiked amongst the Sequoia trees many times and the amazing thing is every time we go back to the park, the same feeling of awe and disbelief that trees could be that giant and old returns.
This year on Father's Day, there are many things going on...My niece's father is celebrating his first Father's Day, my cousin Sebastian is visiting and celebrating with his three children and family and of course, my dad, the Pater Famila is celebrating his Father's Day. While hiking in the woods with 17 young kids the other day I was struck by the amazing gift my dad has given me by always sharing his love of the trees with me and it was the first time I was able to give that back to some young kids who were having that experience for the first time. It made me feel proud to have a father who has shared so many experiences and given me so much in this life.
The Sequoias are not just any forest....when you return you remember each tree that you visit since they are so distinct and every time I saw a familiar tree it made me think of my times in Sequoia with my dad. Our last visit was on the motorcycles in 2010 and it was the first stop of an adventure to see more trees in California. Our plan was to ride to the Sequoias, the Bristle Cone Pines, and the Redwoods...it was a tree trip...the weather, however, did not quite cooperate and after seeing the Sequoias the route was changed due to a huge storm in the Sierras...so we rode north and stumbled onto some incredible roads and scenery that we had never been through before until we arrived at another favorite spot...The Redwood Forest in Humbold County. Yet again, my dad and I have passed through this incredible forest many times before and it was another opportunity to spend time with the majestic trees that seem to understand that life is not a race, but a slow journey into the wind.
Those times in the forests with my dad are some of the ultimate times together as father and son. It is a simplicity of life that illustrates how small we are and how important it is to spend time together and to experience the richness of life. I count myself as lucky since I am well aware that there are those of us in this life that did not have a father or had too little time with them. I am 40 now and having always wondered if I would make a good father is no longer a question in my mind as it is obvious to me that the only prerequisite to being a great father is making sure that your child knows that no matter what, they are loved and supported and as long as there are Sequoias to hike in, there are paths that you can share with them that will last a lifetime.
I love you dad. Happy Father's Day.
Love and Understanding.