Julia Butterfly Hillís time spent living high atop one of our planetís last living giants is as inspirational as a true tale gets. Her background as a traveling preacherís daughter clears the path for her last minute decision to take a stand and actually live in the redwood named ďLunaĒ, but not even she knew how deep within and without the journey would take her. Her physical time spent up in the tree was tougher than most people could ever face. It was her emotional and spiritual world, however, that was shaken to its foundations. For two years she had nothing but herself and her trust in the hands of all creation. When loggers harassed her day and night, when the wind threatened to blow her out of the tree and even when she got frostbite, Julia simply prayed to understand what her next move should be. She lived on a platform built from scrap lumber hauled up by various environmental activists who saw much sooner than most that it was time to put a stop to the lumber companyís management of our planetís forests. A platform which was barely big enough to sleep one comfortably at times would accommodate three including their supplies.
The author wasnít searching for Luna or a cause when her tree-sit began. She was taking time to heal by traveling with friends after experiencing a brush with death and a life-altering yearlong hospital stay. Shortly after she and her friends embarked along the northern California coast, she was introduced to an old-growth redwood forest that reached out to her mind, body and spirit. She began simply yearning to take a quick walk into the Headwaters Redwood forest and ended up fighting for a cause that at the beginning she knew very little about. She promptly put down roots and soon became a spokeswoman for all the old growth forests. During her trials in Luna she continually called on the creation that surrounded her to empower not only herself but all the players involved in the tree-sit to be guided by right-minded action tempered with love.
The author dealt with each day-to-day living item as it came up: cooking, keeping warm in the frigid year of El Nino, loggers harassing her day and night for months, and finding methods for collecting water to cook, drink, and the extremely rare hair-washing. As time ticked past the three-month marker, Julia found she had become the spokeswoman for not only Luna but for all old growth forests. This was not something she had planned on. Truth be told, she had no plan past saving this tree. As a spokeswoman for the trees, she found she faced the most difficult decisions of her young life. Not only were Luna and the forests counting on her, but activists, children in classrooms around the world, and the planet were as well. True to her nature, Julia climbed into the role and didnít let anyone down.
Her book, The Legacy of Luna, is an easy read, so gentle on your mind that if youíre not careful you will miss her point. She writes as she tree-sits, naturally. Young and simple, the author will continue to be an inspiration to all those who follow in her footsteps for decades to come. She never resorts to the harassment, bad language or tricks that were used on her; instead, she eloquently and constantly speaks out to the world from the tree about the need for conservation. Hers is a voice we would do well to heed.