My Mentor Tree and Eucalyptus Friend

“I AM WHO I AM,” and then said, “Tell the Israelis: ‘I AM sent me to you.'”~ ISV

This is a short story about a eucalyptus tree. A living friend, mentor and comforter.

My dad first visited the eucalyptus tree when he went horse back riding in the San Fernando Valley. Most likely the late 1940s.  He rode from Ventura Blvd towards the dirt hills of the Santa Monica mountains. It isn’t easy to imagine that there once was a horse stable located near Ventura Blvd. and Canoga Ave. He told me how he stopped one day under the eucalyptus tree and looked over the valley. Once he saw a for sale sign there, a hill covered with wild sage and wider nature. My dad made it happen. His brother was a carpenter / builder and his mother already invested in properties throughout the San Fernando Valley. They made his dream come true. They made it happen for my dad and mom. As a WWII Vet he secured a government loan.

Dad and his brother, Had, created a plan to build a house on that wild hill in the San Fernando Valley. They fought like brothers often do. My dad fought for the large sliding windows that looked over the valley. He also fought to build a house which cuddled around a eucalyptus tree.

I learned to climb that tree as I was learning to walk. The smell of the eucalyptus tree on foggy mornings before going to school or during rain storms often filled my bedroom. I climbed that beautiful tall tree on my way to the top of the red brick chimney often. Sometimes to see thunder storms break across the valley. There I silently sat  listening to the sound of  coyotes in the distance and viewed lights in the night sky. All of this magic still captures my imagination.

Once I left home I often went back to visit with my parents.  The first thing I would do was hug my eucalyptus tree. The seed pods from the eucalyptus are a wonder. Round and cone-shaped with a five-pointed star in the middle. Always a signal autumn was approaching.

Today a walk on a slightly foggy morning at the end of August brought back this memory of a eucalyptus tree I grew up with. I was beholding today to the only eucalyptus tree in my neighborhood. Whispering a scent and showing an aura that took me back to my nebulous childhood. The tree replied to me today, “”I AM WHO I AM.” Maybe this is the same whisper I always heard from my mentor tree and eucalyptus friend.


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