Achaemenid Garden

I was balancing rocks by a babbling brook. The earthly colors of the smooth spheres of rocks at the bottom of the brook were distinctly visible through its pure glacier water. The stinging cold of the water told me that they all melted not far from where I was sitting. The air, the water, the earth were all so harmoniously cold enough to freeze human flesh. But the crackling fire kept the familiar faces coming back to this green haven in the middle of Trinity mountains.

Hyampom, a census-designated place in the Trinity County, California, puts one in an elevation of 1503 feet up in the mountains. Unlike the communities of asphalt and concrete with rivers of vehicles and a sea of people, here I was surrounded by the blue serenity of the mountains and a silent, majestic community of Pinus and redwoods as far as my eyes could see.

I was visiting the emerald county for the first time as per an invitation from my co-walker to take part in a rafting adventure down the Trinity River. He had lived in Hyampom long enough to know the heartbeat of its ecosystem. Working under the clouds of Silicon Valley now, for him, this is the place to reset his system. As I filled up my lungs with the pure mountain air and hydrated my being with water straight from the brook, not only did I understand his words, but I could also see us both transforming from stressful, mechanical robots to sensible, sensitive earthlings. The pace of life slowed down to the rhythm of flowing water like the pace of your heartbeat slows down to the beat of your sleeping lover’s heart when a nightmare wakes you up. The harmony lulled me back to the tranquility of life.

Two harmonious earthlings, we walked down to one pebbled bank of the brook. The mid-day rays of the sun beamed through the layers of multi-green boughs, lighting up little patches of the glacial waters. The sparkles glowed on the long slender stems of water plants that skirted a lush green along the foot of the high river bank across the brook. The moving sparkles in the shadows transformed the stems into a crowd of slow marching green legs.

At the top of the high bank were two massive trunks of redwoods, old and mossy, their giant roots glided down the slope of the bank. The eroded slope had revealed a clear profile, that mapped the giants’ search for its life-blood through roots as thick as fully-grown red pine trunks. And when I thought nothing else could possibly be added to this earthly garden of Eden, there it was… A spherical white rock, of the size of a human head, held tight and close, by the massive wrinkled roots around it. Sitting there on the bank, facing this incredible piece of art in nature’s museum, I saw how the rain had washed away the curtain of soil that covered the precious white crystal of the giant who held on to it for centuries.

The second old giant showed more feminine shapes of twisting roots and a mossier trunk. Their roots intermingled mimicking the tender embrace of lovers grew old together through thick and thin. A mere rambler in life, an insignificant hominid in the museum of true gods and goddesses of nature, sitting by a babbling brook of pure glacier water, I paid my respects to the gravestones of a great-grandmother and a great-grandfather of all the trees around them. For me, this was the nature’s paradise garden for the once-mighty emperors of earth.

It was a feeling, an experience, an honor that carried the power to humble my entire being. It was a shrine, a museum, a tomb, like no other, that made me forget all words that numbed the keen primitive senses. All I could hear were the psithurismic symphony of thousands of leaves to an eternal opera of the flowing water. I could only smell the mossy earth, the decaying leaves, and the perfume of all wild-flowers.

It was meant for the senses to absorb and for the soul to replenish.

Absorbed, replenished, reset, we returned home. I urge you: reset to the ticking of the nature’s clock; reset to the beating of your true heart. Breath. Ramble on to find yourselves in places that tune in with your senses, that humbles your entire being. Change as you absorb the calming, nourishing energies of those places, and leave those places as they are for the seventh generation.

P.S. The photo was taken by my co-walker as I was lost (in plain sight) in my “Achaemenid Garden”, in Hyampom, California.

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Nimna Perera

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