I had a surreal experience last week. A reminder that underneath all this superficial drama that we experience in the physical and waking world, there is a deeper connection… threads of a subconscious web that exists whether we are sensitive to it or not. We get so caught up in our daily lives that we become blind and ignorant to the connections and cues that seem to randomly appear out of nowhere. Do they mean anything? Are they guiding us in a certain direction? Do we really have a choice? And who or what is “they”?
On to my little story… This past week I was leading my usual Wild Friday hike, this time in Malibu Creek State Park. It was a hot and stagnant day so it was a small crowd. The kids in the group were 5 and under which encouraged us to go at a bit of a slower pace, and that was absolutely perfect as we encountered some interesting bugs and a few plants on the way.
We wandered a bit farther down the trail and at one point I randomly looked up into the heights of a towering oak tree. I noticed an unusual variation in the usual oak leaf patterns and realized that there was a clump of mistletoe growing there. I am mostly familiar with this parasitic plant from what I’ve known in Arizona where it can be seen a little more prominently due to the smaller and sparser leaves of the trees on which it grows such as the palo verde. I didn’t think much more of this brief encounter other than “Hmm, look, mistletoe, cool” and then went on my way.
A few hours later, the hike was completed and I was off on my own for a while, waiting until it was time for the kids to get dropped off by their father. I decided it would be a good time to call my dad who lives in Arizona. Which, regrettably, I don’t do enough. We talked and as always it was good to catch up on the drama of life.
Then he mentioned that he took a photo of a plant.
For some, especially me, this would be a completely normal thing to do. However, if you knew my dad, you would be equally surprised as I was. You see, he’s a car guy. He runs a large and successful concrete company. He’s got so many other things to do and think about than to stop on the side of a busy street, get out of his truck and take a photo of a plant that he knew nothing about. He explained that he wasn’t quite sure why he did it, but he saw something in this tree that struck him as unusual and was compelled to photograph it. This encounter left his mind and a few hours later, he received a phone call from me. I hadn’t called in few weeks.
He told me about the strange plant
and how odd it was that he stopped to look at it, knowing that I have an interest in plants. When he described it, I knew exactly what it was. Mistletoe. He sent a photo and I confirmed. My curiosity piqued and I quizzed him on the time that this happened.
The exact same time that I noticed the mistletoe here, in California.
What does this mean? Anything? Or maybe just coincidence. Or are the plants talking to us, bringing us together subconsciously? Who knows. Was I just supposed to call my dad that day? Maybe.
Or maybe not. I’m studying botany right now for my Master’s degree and I am compelled by the complexity and sophistication of plants. There is something more to them along with the algae, fungus and bacteria of our planet that have such a greater impact and connection to us than we most likely will ever understand. It is a reminder of the interconnectedness between us and our world around us. We are not separate, we are not special. We are a small part of a much greater and vast universe. And it knows more than we do. This is a topic that I am absolutely fascinated with and will discuss more in future posts.
And I think I’ll call my dad a little more often too.