Sink your roots in the granite-filled crevice you’re given

Olmstead Point is a scenic stop along the Tioga Road, which cuts across the Sierra Nevada high country north of Yosemite Valley. The view south is marked by long, smooth sheets of granite shaped thousands of years ago by glacier flows. Beyond the glacier fields, one is offered a clear view of Half Dome and snow-tipped Cloud’s Rest.

Jeffrey pine at Olmstead Point

This Jeffrey pine has a front-row seat to Half Dome. Not too shabby.

It’s a beautiful view. It’s also darn near inhospitable. The weather at 8,500 feet is unforgiving. And, clearly, plants can’t set down roots in solid granite.

But, to quote Dr. Ian Malcolm, life finds a way.

Across the granite fields, there are occasional cracks filled with just enough crunchy granite and other bits and particles of loose soil to give life a chance. Think about the cracks between slabs of sidewalk.

Tough, leathery little flowers and scraggly Jeffrey pines take advantage. They sink their roots into the smallest cracks and stand in defiance of a meager foundation and harsh surroundings. And they grow – tall, proud, beautiful.

I feel a connection to these trees, just as I feel a connection to the tough shrubs and cactuses that cling to the sides of Camelback and Piestewa in Phoenix.

I didn’t start with the strongest spiritual foundation. This is not a complaint. In fact, I’m grateful for it. I received a clean palette on which to explore and improvise.

Some people are born into the Nile Delta of spiritual soil and grow their beautiful tree from there.

I sunk my roots in the granite-filled crevice I was given. I weathered frigid winters. I grew tough bark and a sturdy trunk. I stretched resilient branches toward the sun. With the help of others, I turned a meager spiritual foundation and harsh surroundings (of my own making) into a fertile little patch of soil with a front-row seat to Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley.

Given the view, how could I possibly question the foundation I was given? I know the scrappy little Jeffrey pines do not.


Note: I dedicate this post to Christine Thomas, my yoga teacher who I thought of often while in Yosemite. She’d love it here! And, yes, I had to resist taking a selfie in tree pose for this post.

Another note: As always, you can see a photo per day of my Meander here:


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  1. […] read more? I may not be good at connecting with humans. But I love connecting with Jeffrey pines, coastal redwoods, and […]

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