Monday, June 4, 2012

The Woman and the Albino

Last week, I paid a visit to a redwood albino that I found several months ago. I wanted to see how it was doing. From what I've read, the albinos can come and go. The albino seemed to be doing pretty well, there were many new sprouts emerging. While visiting this specimen, a story came to mind.

Several months ago I was visiting a grove where I had found my first redwood albino. On this particular trip, once again, I wanted to check in on the albino to look for any changes. When I arrived near the spot, I was surprised to see a family nearby, a woman and her kids.
 "Did you find the redwood albino?" I asked.
"What is a redwood albino?" the woman asked.

I was excited to share this special specimen with the family, since it's so rare that I meet anyone in the groves. After proceeding to tell them a little about albinos, I asked them if they wanted to wait while I went in search for the tree. They agreed, and after a few minutes of searching, I re-located the spot.
"Here it is!" I called to the woman.

The albino was in less than stellar shape, but I still found it exciting. When the woman and her kids came over, they looked at it, and I informed them about the rarity of such trees, and tried to share all the information I could. After a couple minutes the woman said, talking to her kids,
"Well, I guess that's it, kind of unremarkable..."

And so it goes. It reminded me of when I first drove north from Mendocino to Humboldt county where the big redwoods grow. I too thought the drive was scenic, but "unremarkable." I had a vision in my head as to what the drive would look like, and it didn't match my expectations. I think the same is true of the albinos. It's easy to imagine a glowing white redwood tree, hiding in the forest, but they are often just a few white sprouts amongst a bunch of dead ones, growing at the base of an ordinary tree.

I think over time, what we see as "unremarkable" can be replaced with "remarkable" if we want it to. Once we are able to see something for what it is, rather than what we want it to be, we can be truly satisfied. Just like the drive north into Humboldt, or a single albino sprout, both are unique and fantastic. Sometimes it just takes a little time for the experience to marinate. I would guess, the same will be true for the woman and the albino.

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