"SnowMom of the Pines"

Forests and trees that are special to ENTS members. Place that elicit powerful emotional feelings and fond and deep memories to that person.

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James Parton
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"SnowMom of the Pines"

Post by James Parton » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:30 am

ENTS,

My Mother, Joyce Hayes was diagnosed with Breast Cancer back in January 2007 and has had many treatments concerning it. She nearly died from the chemotherapy back in the spring of 2007. She has had radiation treatments, chemotherapy and mastectomy/reconstruction surgery as well. She had been pronounced cancer free until earlier this year when it was found again, this time in her spine. Unlike the first time it is inoperable and they are treating it with radiation and now experimental drugs. The object is, to keep it from spreading. Especially to her brain.

Anyway, mom has always liked to hike with me and enjoys my exploits on trees. A couple of years back I took her through a wonderful Red Spruce grove on the Mountains-to-Sea trail near Black Balsam Mountain here in North Carolina. A little while back Mom had a very vivid dream about this place. It goes like this. " It was winter and snow covered the spruce trees but it was largely clear of snow under the canopy. It was so still and quiet you could hear the snow fall. She was walking among the trees in the stillness. Calling for me. She found a tree and waited. But I never came ".

Mom has pondered on the dream's meaning for some time but I don't think she has ever came to a conclusion. She mentioned to me a while back that she wanted to go revisit that grove of spruce ( She calls em' pines! ) trees. Since they are located just a little off of Black Balsam rd and the MST I knew they would be easy to reach. In the last 3 years mom's ability to walk has really decreased and she cannot go with me like she used to. But the groves close location to the road proved a plus here. She said the dream was so vivid she should be able to find the exact spot she saw in the dream! After taking some pictures of the brilliant Mountain Ash trees we entered the Spruce Forest. Mom searched around for a while not being able to recognize anything until she found a familiar path. Finally she found a familiar tree. She broke down in tears and hugged the tree! Then she looked across a small clearing and saw the tree that she waited for me under in the dream. Crying, she went to it and sat under it. My daughter, Sarah was with us and I am pretty sure she did not know what to think of it. We sat there awhile and communed with each other and the forest. We talked of the dream, the forest, life, cancer, me taking a course in druidry, death, and God.

Leaving, I believe that God may have brought us here using the dream as a tool. God was using the forest to help alleviate the psycological pain of the cancer. A release. But it is more than that. He may have been helping her find a resting place for her body after death. See, she is planning on cremation. She hates cemeteries. She had been planning on a much more remote site under a maple on the other side of Black Balsam Mountain. Maybe God was directing her here? At least at this place more relatives could make it in to see her final resting place. Under these wonderful spruce trees. And in the dream she was looking for me. Was that a sign from God for me to attend her in locating this place? Only he knows. By the way, I think the grove is pure Red Spruce. I found not one Fraser Fir here.

I know this is sorta sad. Mom may have years to live. Maybe a normal life length. The doctor has never committed on a " how long she has to live " date. It all depends on keeping the cancer from spreading. While mom's ashes may end up in this grove, she will not be there. Her spirit and/or memory will be with God in Heaven. If paradise is what we make it, she may be walking in a spruce grove in heaven. Calling for me. Awaiting my arrival. Heaven is a happy place!

Mom does love snow and winter by the way. On her Incredimail groups, she goes by SnowMom. So she is " SnowMom of the Pines ".

We afterwards visited Devil's Courthouse but mom was not able to make the walk up. I did measure a nice Red Spruce there which measurements are, 6' 8" cbh and 89.8 feet tall.

We later visited a pine plantation I remembered from my youth. That is a post soon to come.

James
Attachments
American Rowan.JPG
The Spruce Grove.JPG
Mom at the Guide Tree.JPG
Mom under the Hayes Spruce.JPG
Mom and Sarah in the Grove.JPG
Leaving the Grove.JPG
More Mountain Ash.JPG
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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dbhguru
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Re: " SnowMom of the Pines "

Post by dbhguru » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:25 pm

James,

A most moving account. Thank you for sharing it with us. We will send healing thoughts to your mother. I sense she is a person of great spiritual strength and able to receive them. That is all that matters.

At times after the deaths of both my parents and my dear first wife Jani, I thought I'd come close to glimpses of the grand design. But the veil between this world and the next remains opaque for most of us. A few blessed souls appear to be able to see a little beyond the veil and a very few well beyond. But visions from the beyond often become entwined with the earthly ego and messages become hard to interpret. As people approach death, many get glimpses of the 'other side' and report what they see. My father did, and he wasn't one to exaggerate or fantasize. Accounts of the other side vary, giving the purely earth-bound opportunities to scoff at the accounts of those who report near-death experiences.

My mother was somewhat psychic and I was aware of enough of her experiences to keep me from drifting into the typical frame of mind of the here-and-now engineer when I made my way through Georgia Tech. My first wife Jani had psychic powers that were respected by her Indian elders. She had a few sobering experiences that I witnessed. Then there are others I have known who have had extraordinary experiences -- but all were non-repeatable in the scientific experimental sense. At the time of Jani's death and thereafter I had my own experiences that I have never accepted as coincidence. Whether these experiences are proof of divinity in the strictly Christian sense or of a much, much more complex structure of energy and matter such as Dr. William Tiller suggests in his extremely difficult to read "Science and Human Transformation: Subtle Energies, Intentionality and Consciousness", I cannot know. But to the extent I can comprehend his research and arguments, I think he has made a contribution to the expansion of our consciousness in a scientifically valid way. A couple of high profile scientists I know, do not except Tiller's work, but I don't think they have given it a fair shake.

Regardless of whether one approaches the other side through religious faith, study of psychic phenomena, personal experiences, or some combination of the foregoing, life has far more meaning than when viewing it all as a one way trip, with curtains at the end. One thing I do accept is that consciousness is a universal force gifted to all, albeit differently manifested among the species. It is not the byproduct of chemical reactions in the physical brain, although the working of the brain is physical and consciousness expresses itself through brain activity. We are physical beings, but we are also spiritual ones. Ancient cultures probably knew this better than modern people. In the end, there may be many paths to nirvana.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Larry Tucei
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Re: " SnowMom of the Pines "

Post by Larry Tucei » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:38 pm

James, I wish your Mom all of my best thoughts. Happiness, Love, Peace, ect. Larry

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James Parton
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Re: " SnowMom of the Pines "

Post by James Parton » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:36 pm

Bob and Larry,

Thank you for all of your kind words. Cancer has been hard on me and my family but not near as hard as it has been on mom. Cancer is a debilitating depressing disease. Even if one survives it. It has made quite a bit of difference on how mom looks at things. She values life more. And that is a good thing. It is a shame someone has to get cancer to realize the real value of life. And that applies to all of us.

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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dbhguru
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Re: " SnowMom of the Pines "

Post by dbhguru » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:52 am

James, Larry,

Cancer changes the sense of who we are at the very core of our being. It presents us with personal tests that force us to think deeply about the very meaning of life. My mother died of the worst kind of cancer in 1992. She suffered horribly. None of us could do anything, but watch her go down hill, day by day. My wife Jani fought valiantly, and at one point, thought she had the cancer beat, but then it came back with a vengeance. Both these women faced death valiantly, but we, their loved ones, will always live with their losses. When we think just of ourselves, it always seems so unfair. Why do our loved ones have to be taken away when they still seem to have so much to offer? I expect that there are lessons that we, who remain, must learn that cannot be learned without experiencing loss.

In my case, I was lucky. Although in 2007, I was diagnosed as having aggressive prostate cancer, they caught it in time. Living these days without a prostate is no big deal. I didn't need the damned thing anyway. Still, even with the quick recovery, I am aware of my mortality in altogether new ways. It certainly is no longer just an abstract idea. I don't take anything for granted these days. Recently, I have turned to reading about the trials of others and looking for ways to live productively and give my life as much meaning as I can.

An advantage of being deeply religious in times of crisis is that one's faith can provide not only a sense of hope, but also a strong conviction that our earthly journeys do not end our personal identities. We can accept that our physical journey's are but an infinitesimal part of a larger, soul journey. Whether one sees that journey through the tenets of one's religion or in some broader, less distinct way, in the end, it works out for the better.

We all wish your mother the best and send you, our dear Ents brother, our thoughts and prayers.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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James Parton
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Re: " SnowMom of the Pines "

Post by James Parton » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:25 am

Bob,

You having lost two dear loved ones from cancer, plus you being a cancer survivor yourself makes you a very good person to talk to on this. You understand what mom and I are going through. But like your mother and Jani, mom is a valiant fighter. She has her down days but overall she has done very well. I am very proud of her.

Back in early 2007 when mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer, when she first told me of it I became quiet. I actually withdrew from the family for several days. This hurt mom a bit. It is something I did not mean to do. It was just sort of a " flight or fight " reaction. It hurt so bad I withdrew. After I collected my thoughts and emotions, naturally I returned to her side. At the time it was just my way of dealing with it. People with loved ones with cancer, or people with cancer often tend to either dwell on the cancer and often give up the right to live without a fight, or live in denial. I now try to be realistic with it but not go to extremes. I don't pronounce her dead or deny the fact she has cancer. But I know what it can do. But medical technology has advanced so much these days that a person has a fighting chance, especially if the cancer is caught early. And then there is God. He can never be left out.

Bob, congratulations on your personal battle with cancer. May our master ent live to a ripe old age! Think, if you make 100 you would be like our...uhhh...Yoda!

" May the force be with you "!

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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James Parton
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Re: " SnowMom of the Pines "

Post by James Parton » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:02 pm

ENTS,

As an update to this post, my mother is not doing well. She probably has already began the dying process. She is currently in the hospital with a serious infection and the cancer appears to have spread to her brain. She has undergone so many treatments that her body cannot take any more and the doctors have about done all they can do. She now is fading in and out of consciousness being out much more than in. On the bright side she does not seem to be in much pain. Unless something improves she will be going to hospice this week.

She has been bravely and optimistically fighting this cancer for 4 1/2 years and now is nearing the end of a battle she cannot win. But is that so? In death she passes on to a better place. A place the cancer cannot follow. While she loses here, she ultimately wins the battle. She will reside with God and await my arrival in due time. But I will miss her so until then.

I will dedicate this Spruce Grove to her. It is the " Hayes Grove ".

Folks. It has been a hard week.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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edfrank
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Re: " SnowMom of the Pines "

Post by edfrank » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:25 pm

James,

A very nice and thoughtful gesture. I don't know what else to say.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

RyanLeClair
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Re: " SnowMom of the Pines "

Post by RyanLeClair » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:31 pm

My thoughts are with you, James. As for naming the grove after your mother, that is such a heartfelt gesture, there can't be anything more beautiful than that.

--Ryan

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dbhguru
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Re: " SnowMom of the Pines "

Post by dbhguru » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:27 pm

James,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your mother, and the rest of your family. It is ahrd to know what to say at times like these. Just know that we ae with you.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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