by Mike Swezy
The weather relented and the winter fog rolled back to reveal the hills of Fairfax and a gray-toned Mt. Tamalpais standing in witness of the formal dedication of the Alex Forman Trail, named in honor of Marin Municipal Water District’s recently deceased board member. On a cool January afternoon, nearly one hundred family members, friends, and MMWD directors and staff gathered at Sky Oaks to remember Alex Forman’s service to the water district and his personal connection to the watershed. Fellow MMWD board members, Sierra Club colleagues and his wife, Lauren Vanett, all spoke with fondness and a certain clarity regarding Alex’s courage, intellectual integrity and abiding love for Mt Tam. Lauren offered a blessing that captured the moment and gave us all images to meditate on as folks hiked the length of the newly christened trail to Lake Lagunitas after the dedication.
During the ceremony dogs barked, laughter rang out, and silent tears streamed as the trailhead signpost with the newly plated marker bearing Alex’s name was unveiled. The weathered redwood post, sunk deep into the mountain’s soil, was milled from an old redwood log salvaged from Kent Lake and carried a black fire scar, testimony to the mountain’s ancient history of death and renewal. I admit that when I first inspected the post at the trailhead, one of nearly a dozen installed along the trail’s length, I thought a cleaner, more finished post would have been better. I know now that the post was perfect for the moment, it was of this place and authentic—just like Alex.
Lauren’s trail blessing is offered below and will be a part of a forthcoming memorial along the trail.
A Blessing for All Who Walk the Alex Forman Trail
May you walk this trail with open eyes and hearts
not looking for anything,
yet spotting the Cooper’s Hawk circling overhead,
the polished deer bone below, the jackrabbit in the tall grass.
May you walk this trail in playful conversation
and profound dialogue, with cosmic awareness
and in layered silence.
May you bring barking dogs and skipping children,
babies in backpacks, teenagers, lovers, and friends.
May you feel soft earth and jagged rocks beneath your feet,
cool shade, gentle rain and filtered sunlight on your skin.
May you marvel at the beauty of the live oaks’ twisted limbs,
the smooth bark of the madrone, and the elegant grace
of the towering redwoods.
May you bring apples and almonds, dark chocolate and tangerines,
a water bottle, a thermos of hot ginger tea.
But most of all, may you bring your whole, curious self,
the way Alex would,
and walk this trail in wonder, grateful to be here,
in this moment, right now.
January 9, 2010