Loretta Halter

From the Author in 2000:

I have lived and hiked through the hills of Felton, under the beauty of these great redwoods since I was a young girl of 19, over 25 years ago. Seven years ago I entered a dark period in my life, and as I walked into Henry Cowell State Park and began my usual trek through this redwood forest, I came and stood before my favorite tree that I named Eyesa. Knowing I was losing my youth, feeling a lack of direction and purpose in my life, I stood there before her, feeling quite sorry for myself until I heard what seemed like this tree’s voice beckoning me to come closer to her. I nestled inside a wide crevice in her trunk, pressed my ear against her and listened.

A voice went off inside my head, “Do you dare tell me, Eyesa, how ugly you feel about yourself?” I gazed up at this grand and gnarly tree that reminded me so much of a frozen waterfall cascading gracefully downward into the heart of the Earth.

That same voice challenged me again. Humbled by the spirit and wisdom of this tree, perhaps an angel in tree form, I had to acknowledge her perception of all life — that all creatures, great and small, possess beauty, grace and a purpose. I did not know what my purpose was yet until four years later, while earning my degree and teaching credential at San José State University.

Once again I came back to Eyesa, as I had done so many times before, only this time I uttered a prayer to God and made a vow before this tree to protect our forests by teaching children about ecology. Inspired by this tree, my story was born, and my hopes of becoming an environmentally-based school teacher became a reality.

I currently am teaching fifth grade at Seven Trees Elementary in San José, California, a school named after the seven young redwoods that are growing within its campus. –  Loretta Halter

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