Our Quest for the Tree of Life


Based on the true stories of Tyla and Douglas Gabriel

Listen to an audio version of the story in the audio strip below. We have also attached a written version of the story.

Audio version also here: https://neoanthroposophy.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/sunseed-the-quest-for-the-tree-of-life.mp3

The audio is also available here: https://tylagabriel.substack.com/p/the-quest-for-the-tree-of-life

The midday sunlight filtered through the pine needles and limbs of the giant sequoia trees that surrounded the ever-climbing trail ahead of the pair of adventurers. Brilliant light rained down in individual shafts of light that lit up the dark forest around them, like a living bridge to the tops of the three-hundred-foot-tall trees. The redolent air was filled with burgeoning life from these ancient witnesses that seemed to be alive and watching our slow progress up the mountain to the furthest grove of sentries guarding their four-thousand-year-old forest groves that are filled with mystery and magic. Each step seemed to invigorate the hikers as they meandered around the huge orange tinted elders of the earth. The etheric life oozed from the thick, bear-like fur that wrapped each ancient one in a fire-proof skin that was one of the secrets of their long lives. Centuries of lightning had tried to burn these seemingly immortal conifers, leaving wicked black scars on their trunks that often left burnt-out invaginations big enough for numerous people to climb into and call their shelter. It seemed such a natural wonder that no sequoia had ever died of old age in the 4,700 years since they were planted in the thirty high-elevation groves growing on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The ground beneath the hikers was a soft cushion of pine needles that responded with a bounce that made walking a pleasure and diminished the harsh elevation’s thin air and grueling steepness. The smell of Spring was in the air, and you could almost feel the sap rising upward to the precipitous heights above where a flurry of life filled the canopy like a kingdom completely removed from the forest floor. To look from the footpath to the treetops made one dizzy and craned the neck to its limit, creating the anxiety that one might fall off the path to the valley hundreds of feet below.

We had been hiking with our walking poles for support for the last four miles, but with each step the need for this support seemed to lessen. In fact, it was becoming evident that the presumed need for such support was no longer necessary even though a short walk of a quarter of a mile would have worn out Douglas, who had many physical ailments that walking up an incline usually exacerbated.

“Are you tired dear. Do you need to rest awhile?” Tyla asked as she perused the steep path ahead. She silently wondered how Douglas had made it this far without negative repercussions since it had taken months of daily practice and exercise to prepare for this mountain hiking sojourn.

“I am fine. I don’t know why, but I feel stronger the further we go. I guess it is the etheric energy coming up from the ground due to the sequoia roots beneath us. Plus, I have always felt the life force between these trees holding me upright, in some strange fashion,” he answered.

“We could stop at those big boulders ahead and rest in the deep shade and take a break,” she suggested.

“Good idea, I want to put my walking poles in my backpack anyways because I don’t need them anymore. I’ll also show you an Indian trick for stamina that I figured out by listening to the trees,” Douglas said with a smile.

Once they had sat down and put away their walking poles, he picked up one of the little sequoia pinecones from the ground and began tapping it on the palm of his hand. Tiny flat seeds fell from the slots in the pinecone along with some red powder that was dried resin.

“Smell this, it is the lifeblood of the tree that has dried around the seeds. The native Indians use to make a tea that they claimed helped them traverse the mountain paths without getting tired. I used to drink the tea and swallowed a sequoia seed every day for years. I swear it really works. Unfortunately, I ran out of the seeds and resin years ago,” he said with such confidence that the idea didn’t even seem strange to Tyla as he pulled out his canteen and backpacking stove to make hot water for the tea.

While waiting for the water to boil, he jumped up and ran around the forest closely examining each tree looking for the prize they had come find.

“This is the 15th time I have come to these mountains to find rising sap and this trail is the very last one that I haven’t thoroughly explored,” he said as he scurried around from tree to tree. Even this area I have examined with a fine-toothed comb, and yet I have found no visible sap in the hundreds of trees in the other 29 groves of sequoias,” he said with a tone of conciliation in his voice.

“I know, but I still believe that until you have searched every grove and examined every tree there is still a good chance that we will successfully accomplish our mission,” Tyla proclaimed with absolute faith.

“Well, I’m banking on your assuredness and insight to pull this off. I have tried for over twenty years to find the exact right conditions that might expose flowing sap. I will not give up until every single tree is checked, and we still have another mile to go before we reach the last sequoias on this path,” he said with stern commitment in his voice.

He finished his due diligence on the trees in the area and sat down to make the tea. After dropping the resin and a seed into the hot water, he stirred it thoroughly and offered a cup to Tyla. They both relaxed and rested, letting the sweet taste of the tea fill their anxious seeking souls. The “Spring tea” was delightful and seemed to fill them both with new enthusiasm and strength to finish this arduous expedition. The chilly air seemed to be filled with the spirit of the sequoias and Douglas began to imagine the trees once again speaking to his inner spirit encouraging the dreams of uniting with these ancient guardians in some magical and wonderful way.

As they rose from their forest tea party, a bird call rang out through the air from above that pierced them to the core. It was a golden eagle high above them flying in the direction the path ahead indicated. They turned to each other with delight and laughed, realizing that the eagle was a message telling them to continue forward on the path towards their goal. Douglas reached out and put his arm around Tyla’s shoulder as he kissed her and thanked her for spearheading this journey of discovery that Douglas imagined he was not even fit to complete. Something stirred in their souls and a fiery confidence rose up and added a new levity to their steps as they followed after the airborne harbinger that insinuated they were going in the right direction to accomplish their heart’s desire.

After they had walked a bit further, Tyla broke the silence, “Since you have already searched these groves many times, what makes you believe we will find a tree oozing sap? You have looked for decades for the right tree, but surely the two feet of furry bark on these sequoias will prevent sap from getting from the inner layers of the tree to the outer surface.”

“You are right about that. The thick bark is composed of an asbestos like material that hinders most forest fires from burning the tree. However, if the fire is very powerful, it can penetrate the bark and reach the cambium core. That is why I believe we will only find fresh sap rising if we get lucky and discover a tree with just the right burn marks that expose the woody insides of the tree. It also needs to be harvested in the Spring so that the sap is fresh and rising,” Douglas explained.

“But you have said before that you have never found a sequoia that was in that particular condition,” Tyla quipped.

“I know, I know. It doesn’t seem likely that we will find such a tree, especially since I have searched all thirty groves and never found that specific condition. But, since I met you and told you the secret of the sequoias that the trees whispered to me two decades ago, your faith in this project is the only thing that makes me think we will succeed. It was only after your penetrating questions that I realized I had not completed the search and that this trail is the only one left that I had not searched to the end. I suppose the sacred treasure must be on this trail, towards the end of it. There are only a few trees that I had not examined when I turned back and left the project unfinished years ago,” he responded.

“So, do you truly believe one of these last trees holds the secret to immortality?” she asked.

“I don’t really know. But I have faith that if any two people could pull off this magical mystery mission, it is you and I. Something just tells me you were right when you said we must finish the search and not give up,” he replied with hope in his voice.

“This golden eagle flying ahead of us is certainly a sign that we are on the right track. I have only ever seen one golden eagle in these forests over all the years. I can’t help but think it is a good omen. I believe that your intuition in these matters is good enough for me to believe. I won’t give up until we reach the end of the forest and have looked at every tree to find an exposed burn mark that might hold a bit of precious sap,” Douglas said with confidence tinged with a bit of doubt.

“Even if we find the tree and get some sap, I still don’t understand how you will separate the sulfur, mercury, and salt from the sap and recombine it “at a higher level” like the trees told you to do so many years ago,” she stated.

“That part of the equation I am going to leave up to you because you are the naturopathic doctor, not me. I am just a forest hiker who can hear the trees talk occasionally and love them like they are my children – very old children at that,” he responded.

“I guess we just have to bank on our intuition and the bird omens, hoping that these last few trees hold the secret,” she said as they both drifted off into reverie about the true meaning of this mission that had driven them to such extremes filled with the hopes of Spring and the dream of unraveling of the mysteries of immortality. Nether one was all that interested in extending their lives indefinitely, they just wanted to confirm that nature had created a biological answer to long life.

It seemed to Douglas that each step was easier and filled with the levity of hope, though no outward evidence bolstered that feeling. He still looked anxiously at every tree for the signs, even though he knew that until they came to the river that crossed the trail, they had not really arrived at the place he had turned back when last he was there. He still wondered why he had not finish searching the trail beyond the river when he was there a decade before. Something had turned him back after he swam in the river that ran down from the ice-packed snow from the mountains above. Then it came to him, he remembered that it was nightfall when he got out of the river, and he needed to return to the campground where his friends were waiting for him. He also recalled that he had given up on ever finding the perfect tree in the perfect condition. He had spent decades searching and never found any sap, and worse than that it was Fall, then, not Spring and the trees had given clear instructions that it must be Spring sap, rising upward in the tree. He realized again that it was only the faith and hope that Tyla had instilled in him that rekindled the desire to complete the commission the forests had given him long ago.

He looked over at Tyla and smiled knowing that the only hope to find the mystical substance came from her heart that had sparked the flame that caused two old explorers to brave the mountain forest’s challenges. Her ebullience and joy for this task put a new, bold liveliness in his steps and provided the spiritual nourishment that he lacked when last he tried and failed in his attempts to reach the goal.

It wasn’t long until they came to the bridge across the river. This was the moment Douglas had been waiting for, to pick up the task and finish the search. Every tree to the right and left now had a new magic to it. Each sequoia might be the one he had searched for throughout most of life. The sequoias had grown sparse along the trail but now became ever more so. It was easy to spot each tree and they scampered around the new trees with enthusiasm looking for a burn mark that might hold the answer to the quest. Tyla looked to the left of the trail while Douglas looked to the right, running off to get a look at each tree completely. Hope rose in their hearts with each new sentinel which stood guard over one of the most obscure trails in any of the thirty sequoia groves. Other fir trees, pines trees and cedars started to replace the sequoias that stood separate and singular amongst the dwindling forest. The sequoias thinned out until each new tree along the trail was clearly seen from a distance. The map showed that they were coming to the end of the trail very soon.

They rounded a corner created by a huge boulder next to the trail and ahead of them were a few sequoias, each one with a large burn mark on the trunk. The two hikers quickly exchanged a glance and smiled with delight as their hopes leapt up in their hearts like a flame. Their pace quickened as they anxiously approached the first two trees. Tyla quickly walked over to the tree on her side of the trail and Douglas ran over to the one on his side, searching thoroughly the burn mark, looking for sap.

“Did you find any sap,” Tyla called out.

“Only old, dried sap that is useless for our purposes,” Douglas responded.

They joined each other on the trail and continued towards what seemed to be the last sequoia on the trail. Behind it the forest turned into a normal forest, not a giant forest. This was obviously the final tree on this trail that now rose steeply behind the lonely giant.

This giant was most unusual, it was clear from even a distance that the burn mark was so large that it had carved out a cave that was nearly as wide as the tree and it went all the way through the tree and came out the other side. This created what could be described as a large cave with two very tall openings on both sides making a kind of tunnel through the tree. They had seen other trees with severe burn marks that made small tunnels through the tree, but neither hiker had seen such a huge opening beckoning one to enter the cave inside the living tree. In the middle of the tree invagination was a part of the inner core of the tree which connected to the ground that rose upward to the roof of the tree hollow and subsequently into the heart of the tree. The tree was still quite alive with green needles in the canopy and thick bark on the outside.

The couple turned to each other after purveying this wonderful sight from some distance and hope sprang up in their hearts. They quickened their pace in anticipation that this last tree, this last hope might be the fulfillment of their journey.

“Look, the golden eagle is perched on the lowest limb of the tree,” Tyla called out with excitement.

Douglas looked closely and saw the eagle. He turned to Tyla and said, “This is it. This is beyond an omen, this is confirmation. We have found her; the conditions are perfect. This must be it,” he said with confidence.

As they got closer to the tree, they noticed two people inside the burnt-out, cave-like section of the tree. They were kissing. Douglas turned to Tyla and pulled her close and kissed her. They decided to sit down and wait until the other couple exited the tree-cave before they walked closer to examine the tree for sap because they didn’t want to disturb the young lovers. The next time they looked up at the tree, the couple inside were gone, nowhere to be seen. This seemed odd and inexplicable, and they both wondered if they had imagined the kissing couple in the tree.

They quickly dashed towards the tree with great expectations spurred on by the golden eagle, the kissing lovers, and the tremendous fire-wound that had created the perfect conditions to harvest some sap from inside the tree-cave.

As they entered the tree-cave they could smell something different than either one had ever encountered before. It was the smell of burgeoning life mixed with pine needles and the rich forest air around them. This was unique and engendered a reverent mood for the sacrifice the tree had made to bear its interior to the world. It felt like being in a biological temple of life that held the memory of growth for nearly five thousand years.

“Tyla, look,” Douglas yelled out, “Come see; it is fresh!” The blood-red sap was oozing from the pillar of the core of the tree. This pillar still connected the ground to the heart of the tree above and the sap was rising upward to feed the cambia. “This is it! Oh, my heavens! I can’t believe it! We have done it; you have done it,” he said as he grabbed her and kissed her.

“Thank you, my love! I didn’t believe you until now that this was even possible. You have made my dream come true,” he said with a tone of thankfulness and reverence. His heart leapt into his throat, and he was silenced by the wonder and awe of the moment. Decades of searching had now come to fruition. He was overwhelmed as tears of joy came to his eyes and he jumped up and down with sheer happiness.

“I knew we could do this together. You were not meant to find this yourself, and many others have come into this cave and did not see or appreciate the gift this tree is giving us freely. It is only because this tree was so deeply wounded by fire that this pillar could share the blood of its life. This is a great day for the sequoias and for us. We must find a way to complete the process and make an elixir of life for humanity,” Tyla said with wisdom and insight.

Douglas took a small bottle from his backpack and scooped up the liquid sap that was oozing from the pillar. He was like a child in a candy store. He filled the tiny, amber-colored bottle to the top and handed it to Tyla. They were both ecstatic and could hardly contain themselves at the reality of accomplishing their mission. It was miraculous to think that the very last tree on the trail was the only one that could provide the special circumstances to offer its sap in such a way, and that only through patience and diligence, over many years, the prize would be obtained.

Douglas was out of his mind with joy. He hopped around the cave with effervescent  gratitude for Tyla’s faith and fortitude that had led them to this moment. He kept patting the tree and hugging the pillar. Then he started kissing the sap and without thinking, took a fingertip of sap and put it into his mouth without considering the consequences.

“What are you doing?” Tyla said sternly. “You have no idea what that will do to you. Your vision and instructions are to first treat the sap alchemically before you consume it. What do you think it will do to you? Could it be harmful, or even poisonous?” she said with great trepidation.

“Oh, I hadn’t thought of that,” he responded. “But if we can drink the resin from the pinecones without negative effects, I assume we can drink the sap. You are right, it could be poison until the three component parts are separated and recombined at the higher level as the vision told me. What should I do?” Douglas said.

“Well, first, what did it taste like?” Tyla inquired.

“It tasted bitter in my mouth and then sweet in my stomach. I do already feel some sort of exhilaration and excitement, but that might just be the moment. I don’t really know. But I guess we will find out soon enough,” he said without diminishing his excitement.

The couple stepped outside of the tree-cave and looked to see if the eagle was still perched in the tree above. They had to walk a bit away from the tree to look up so high in the tree. But there above them was the eagle who seemed to be watching them with great interest. This seemed to them again to be confirmation that they were doing the right thing indicated by the blessings of the forest and the eagle.

They walked a bit further away from the sequoia tree, even the though the path had ended, to get a better look at the back of the tree-cave and the side of the tree they had not seen upon entering. As they stepped away to gaze lovingly at the tree, they walked into a group of trees that were only ten or fifteen feet high. They were unusual looking and seemed to not belong to the standard growth all around them. Then Douglas called out, “My goodness, Tyla, these are baby sequoia trees. I have seen areas like this in other groves that were cultivated by forest rangers. Sequoias can only germinate if a forest fire burns the pinecones, and then its seeds fall into burnt ground. Amazing that the fire that burnt our magical tree and created the perfect condition to express sap also germinated its own seeds into a small cluster of new, baby sequoias. These babies could be hundreds of years old for all we know. What a wonder!” he exclaimed.

“That is amazing. Then we can truly call this amazing tree the “mother tree” since its babies are gathered around her,” Tyla said reverently.

They both stood there looking from the babies to the 350-foot-tall Mother Tree who had weathered many forest fires and still held fast to the earth. They estimated that the Mother Tree was probably 4,700 years old, like the other great trees that had been the first to grow on these western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. They say it is the silica in the granite mountains and the salt in the ocean spray rising upward from the Pacific Ocean that caused the sequoias to grow in these exclusive groves, and nowhere else in the world. The majesty of the moment overwhelmed them both and they decided to lie down in the baby sequoia grove and look up to the towering top of the Mother Tree. Before long, they both fell into a sacred reverie in each other’s arms.

The day was getting on, and the clouds were gathering for a Spring rain, but the explorers were reluctant to leave the Mother Tree. They knew they only had the strength to make this difficult hike up the mountain once, so they didn’t want to leave knowing they may not come this way again. They savored the moment like the best dessert they had ever eaten.

Just then, a gentle rain began to fall that drove them to take shelter inside the tree-cave. It was enchanting to be inside the tree as the rain grew stronger and became a downpour. Douglas pulled a high-tech plastic sheet from his backpack. It was his emergency shelter that kept heat inside when wrapped around the body. They both cuddled in a comfortable corner of the tree-cave and wrapped the sheet around them creating a most lovely place to take refuge from the storm. Outside, they could see that the eagle had flown to a new perch on another tree where it seemed the eagle was keeping an eye on the couple inside the tree. The explorers looked at each other with deep-seated satisfaction and relaxed into a much-needed rest that eventually turned into a deep sleep.

Tyla watched as Douglas dozed off and she kept looking at the golden eagle looking back at her. She felt there was some type of message the eagle was trying to communicate to her about this whole affair. She, too, joined her sleeping partner as she adjusted herself into a comfortable position.

Both sleepers awaken when the sound of rain slowed to a stop. Tyla was fully awake first and was dazed and confused by the strange dream she had had during her nap. She had never quite had such a vivid dream that remained so clear after awakening. The dream seemed more like a memory than a fantasy and it stirred her soul to its depths. She hoped that Douglas would awaken soon so she could tell him about what she witnessed in this vision. She reviewed the story her spirit witnessed in the dream, and it seemed to make perfect sense to her.

Tyla dreamt that the golden eagle was much larger than herself and began to speak to her of times past. The eagle asked her if she knew who she was and why she had been so insistent about coming to the sequoia forest. She answered the eagle and said she didn’t know what the eagle was talking about. Are you afraid to find out who you are, the eagle said to her, without speaking? It seemed to be some type of clairvoyant conversation they were having. Tyla answered that she was not scared and would love to know who she was and why she was here.

In the next moment, somehow magically, the eagle had swooped down and its talons grabbed Tyla’s wrists and lifted her up into the air, flying high into the canopy of the sequoia trees above. Tyla could see that high in the tree’s canopy the bark disappeared and was replaced by what looked like human flesh. As the eagle circled the highest part of the tree, it seemed that the human flesh-like bark formed into the face of an old person. After circling the tree numerous times, the eagle let Tyla down on a great limb hundreds of feet above the ground. She was shocked and scared that she might fall off, but the limbs seemed to be alive and supported her so that she was safe. She sat down on the limb and became comfortable with the extraordinary situation. Before long, the flesh-like part of the tree transformed into the face of an ancient, bearded man who began to talk to her.

“Qui Yin, it is so good to see you again. I have missed my “maker” for these past millennia. Look what your genius has created. You have accomplished the mission the Yellow Emperor, Huang Yu, gave you almost five thousand years ago. We are your children you created to satisfy the dreams of Huang Yu. His dreams of immortality have almost come true, for you have found the fountain of youth that he was longing for, the biological lifeblood that extends life. Long you searched for the answers when given the task, but through your courage and diligence you have arrived at the answer — a tree that never dies of natural causes, the Tree of Life.

“Your mission to Lu, the name you gave to this land of mystery and wonder, was long and hard but you endured and returned with the treasure no one else could find. Even the authors of The Classic of the Mountains and Seas, who traveled all the lands west of the empire of Chin, could not find the tree of life. You cross-bred the trees of Lu until you found the perfect combination that has birthed an immortal tree that combines the Dawn Redwood, the Meta-Sequoia, and the Fox-tail Pine into a conscious tree that has witnessed the Earth over the past five millennia. Your path from Alaska to South America has left your biological record of your wonderful, botanical experiments with the flora of the land of Lu. We rejoice at your return to the nurseries you and Shenrab planted so long ago.

“Worry not, my maker, that Shenrab is not poisoned by our sap. He, too, has returned to us many times trying to understand what the ancient trees were attempting to communicate to him. Our gift of longevity is our present to you both as the result of your efforts over many human incarnations. The botanical record of your studies and experiments were left on the trail from meta-sequoias in Alaska, to sitka trees in Canada, to the coastal redwoods, to the bristle-cone pines in the White Mountains, to the fox-tail pines and sequoias in these mountains. Once you found the answer here in these groves, you traveled all the way to the tip of South America leaving thule trees and people trees along the way as further signs pointing to the north. Then you both returned to Chin with your amazing discoveries.

“This is not the first time you have gleaned the life-blood sap from our immortal veins. You took our seeds and sap back to Chin with you as proof of your accomplishments. Huang Yu was proud of your accomplishments, but it was too late for him for he had listened to lesser counselors who made tinctures of mercury that eventually shortened, not lengthened, his life. But you planted seeds from the Tree of Life in Chin, and to this day they still grow as a sign and proof that you accomplished the mission you had been entrusted with.

“Your return today to the once small nurseries you planted so long ago is not the first time you have returned to us. We have waited time after time for you and Shenrab to return. Someday, you both will remember your heroic deeds and brilliant insight into the natural world and your legacy will be seen as one of the greatest insights into the nature of immortality.

“It is true that Shenrab was the cartographer of your expedition. He created the Map of Lu, which Huang Yu had demanded of him during this expedition. Shenrab had done the same on many expeditions which he summarized in The Classic of Mountains and Seas, one of the oldest books in the world that was commissioned by Huang Yu. But Shenrab lacked your botanical wisdom in crossbreeding plants and trees and he had no such botanist with him on his many journeys. Even his expedition with the Sun Monkey King to the Queen of the West was a failure to find the elixir of life. The Peaches of Immortality and the Great Ginseng Tree were only temporary elixirs that could not satisfy Huang Yu’s desires to live forever. They were delusions that provided temporary effects that faded with time. But your Mother Trees brought down the fires of heaven into the rare earth that returned that fire with immortal life. It was you, dear Qui Yin, who created us and thus became the new Prometheus, only bound by your human form that must take a new body with each new incarnation.”

“Surely, you must remember what I am telling you, for it is your spiritual biography which you lived together with your beloved Shenrab from one life to another. Do remember, please, and ensheathe yourself in the good merit you have created from life to life. We, your immortal children, have never forgotten your wisdom, grace, and goodness that created us. We await, millennia after millennia for your next return. Today we celebrate your return and will fulfill our promise to Shenrab to help you create a human type of lifeblood that will keep you healthy and strong for decades to come.”

“Our greatest joy is to know that through your own human effort you have realized that you are immortal, you never die. You simply return, after crossing the river of forgetfulness, to a new body that longs to remember your noble deeds over many human incarnations. It brings us great joy and happiness to acknowledge your many lives dedicated to understanding the true ways of the world. Join us in a song of praise and thanksgiving that show our gratitude to you both.”

At that, Tyla fell back asleep while hearing the most heavenly, harmonious music that she could ever remember hearing. It seemed that all sequoias were singing in one voice that was everlasting with divine praises to the spiritually divine heavens, blessing the couple who had wrought this wonder. Every nursery the couple had planted were now great and mighty trees that joined the throng of giants whose song rang from deep in the earth to the heights of heaven. Time seemed to telescope and dissolve as space folded in upon itself until all that the two had done over many lives now congealed into this moment when the two lay in each other’s arms in the tree-cave they had taken for shelter from the storm. Golden rain seemed to fall on them, bringing blessings ineffable and indescribable. Tyla knew at that moment that all she had been told was true and it raised the veil that hid the mystery of her many lives.

Tyla awoke to the call of the golden eagle that seemed to know it was time to rise and embody what she had been shown as the revelation of her many lives. She looked at her beloved who was still fast asleep in her arms. Her heart’s gravity and the weight of unknowing rose upward into the beautiful song that still resounded in her soul, and she reveled in remembering the story the ancient trees had revealed to her. She knew that all that was said was true and that somehow the message had been encoded into the sequoias, her trees that she bred and raised into immortal sentinels of wonder and majesty. It was true, she had created the Tree of Life that bears the secret of the elixir of life, the fountain of youth.

As she continued to awaken from the dream, the reality of life dawned upon her. She looked out of the tree-cave to see the golden eagle still starring at her with penetrating eyes that seemed to see everything. The rain had stopped, and the sky was clearing up and growing brighter. She pondered all that had been told and shown to her and it seemed to uncover those parts of herself that the river of forgetfulness had obscured and held back from her conscious memory in this life.

Douglas started to stir and Tyla couldn’t help nudging him awake because she was so anxious to tell him her dream, or vision, or divine communication – whatever it was. He opened his eyes and was quickly awake and obviously also anxious to tell her something.

“Wow, I have had the most profound dream. I guess the sap really did effect me. Yep, there’s the culprit, that golden eagle flew me high into the trees and they talked to me and told me all about our connection to the sequoia forest. Finally, it all makes sense,” he said with great excitement.

“I had the same type of dream,” Tyla quickly replied. And at that, they both started recounting their dreams as the other nodded their head in full agreement. It seemed that they both had a similar dream. Same names, same story line, same exact experience was had by both. Even down to the details of who sent them on the original exploration and the objective of what they were to discover and bring back to the Yellow Emperor. This could be no coincident because they had never discussed such things before since the content was brand new to them. Every detail of their dreams matched exactly. Obviously, they had a shared dream of a past incarnation together. But the names, places, and plot of the story were unfamiliar to them both, so they knew it was not something they had learned and forgotten.

When they had recounted every detail of their dreams to each other, they sat in silence for a long while trying to comprehend and digest what they had just experienced. Neither had ever had anything like this happen before, let alone they both had the same vision.

Eventually, they unwrapped themselves and stood up in the tree-cave feeling like they were drunk with some spiritual effulgence or heavenly hang-over. They again thanked the Mother Tree and looked again at the flowing sap in wonder. If all that the dream told them was true, this was a revelation that would never pass and would be part of everything they would ever do in the future. They both felt the imperative to figure out the way to make this sap into the elixir they were obviously born to accomplish.

They stepped out of the tree and the golden eagle took wing and flew up to a high branch in the Mother Tree and called out loudly, as if to say good-bye. The couple picked up their backpacks and started down the trail that had brought them to their goal. They walked in silence until they reached the bridge over the river. They could not resist the call of the river this time, so they scrambled over the huge boulders along the river until they came to a large pool of water perfect for swimming. It seemed like some type of baptism to dip into the river that flows through such an enchanted forest. The tannin in the water tinted it a slight red orange, much like the color of the sequoia’s bark. Trout quickly hid beneath the boulders as the couple swam, laughing like children excited from the day’s frolicking and profound revelations. It was hard to leave the glorious swimming hole, but they had to get out and lie on the boulders while the sun was still warm enough to dry them off. They both kept looking at each other and bursting out into peals of laughter celebrating their victory.

Each step down the path became easier and more filled with levity. The explorers were walking on clouds as they descended back into the man-made world thinking about the idea that they had walked this path many times before in the far distant past. It all seemed so unbelievable, like a fairy tale that has a happy ending. Countless times along the trail they turned to each other and congratulated one another for a job well done. They had so many trivial details to discuss, but they seemed so mundane compared to what they had experience earlier. Eventually, they sank into silence feeling that their hearts and souls could not be more united together as one. It seemed that any thought the one had, the other would also share. A conversation of the heart overtook them as they uncovered more and more layers of ramifications arising from their experience. They could only assume that this gift from the eternal would continue to blossom into more assurance that they were immortal due to the many lives they had lived together that now spread before them as the call of destiny, the precious gifts of the goddess Fortuna. Ultimately, they now knew that all they had done up until this point in time, was only the beginning of what would come next on their journey – to find a way to offer the secrets of the Mother Tree to all who seek immortality.    

Chapter Two: Quest for Immortality