April 13, 2016

Hard To Say Goodbye

The ashes of a dear friend returned home this weekend.

I've kept them for 10 years, debating where to spread them. He loved the ocean, he loved the ranch. Ten years of ocean? Ranch? Ocean? Ranch?

Last fall the ranch was in the middle of one of the biggest forest fires in northern California. Everything was burned to a crisp but the house and the tall Mount-Olympus cypress trees that surrounded it...or so we thought.

We took a drive to see what spring might have brought and took his ashes with us.

Yes, it is silly, "Hey, Mitch, want to go for a drive with us?" As silly as it sounds, he did want to go and we loaded him up.

Highway 20 wildflowers were almost non-existent. In years past the road was lined in bright pastels of lupine, poppies, bluebells, baby blue eyes, yarrow, violets and sweet peas. Some of the mountains were still black but several of the slopes were sporting green grass and a strange white flower that I've never noticed. The contrast of black tree skeletons against the bright green was startling.

We stopped at the ranch. So many ancient oaks completely dead, not the tiniest sign of life.

The blackberries surrounding one of the spring-fed ponds were completely obliterated but two hundred year old trees survived nearby, a huge fig tree and an gnarly pear tree. We cheered for their strong survival instinct to thrive through drought, fires and years of being munched on by cattle.

Walking along side the fence....ever seen melted barbed-wire....over the rise and there they were. All 250 almond trees adorned in green leaves. They lived! The last time we saw then they were the blackest of black, smoke still rising from the ground. Here they were, leaves, tiny buds of almonds. Life!

What a celebration! We left Mitch's ashes on his beloved ranch with his trees that had risen from their own ashes.

Rest In Peace, my friend. I miss you but I am glad to know that your ashes are home.


  1. awwwwwwwwwwww (sniff). that is SO COOL!

    1. It was a good feeling to know he was back on his beloved ranch.

  2. How beautifully symbolic. Reminds me of the lyrics to that Beatles song about the blackbird -- "all your life you've waited for this moment to arrive."

    1. Loved this so much, I posted Blackbird on FB with a message for Mitch! Hope they have FB in the land of reincarnation preparation!

  3. I am sure you friend would be have been very pleased if he knew that you would bring him home.

    1. I'm pretty sure he knew I would....eventually!


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