I embraced the charred trunk, still standing five years after fire ravaged the mountain and closed the trails. Weeds and scrub oak up to my waist were claiming the barren ground. She cried, I felt her pain, heard her anguished cry in my veins as the fire boiled the sap in hers. She was not gone, still there, roots reaching deep into the earth drawing nutrients up where baby roots of new brush could feed; embracing me, humbling me, reminding me that life never ends. Our connections remain as long as we are willing to hold them. Past lives, memories, treasured loves who have passed through the gates, and those who remain to keep feeding the rest.