CHAPTER FIVE – The Campground Conifer (Dolores, Colorado)
The Campground Conifer
As their journey continued, Jerry began to think about what was waiting for him in Call-O-Rod-O. Looking at Easy Joe, Jali and Henry brought a smile to his face. He thought about his travels, all of the new places he had been and then he thought about his mama. Mama would be so proud of him. He felt that he had grown quite a bit. He felt stronger and wiser and happy. He was seeing the world and making new impressions and new friends all the time.
‘Well guys, we’re here. This is Dolores, Colorado!’ said Easy Joe.
‘Is this our new home?’ asked Jali.
Easy Joe looked down at the plants.
‘We’re not at my house yet, I need to take a rest before we drive the rest of the way, this is a campground.’
‘Wow…’ said Jerry when he saw the view around them. A lush and dark forest surrounded them, and it was so wide, Jerry couldn’t see where it ended.
Humans were relaxing at the campground, squealing children and the faint scent of smoke from a barbeque filled the air. The plants breathed in the forest air. It smelled so amazing, this campground really was a fantastic place, and so different from Phoenix, San Diego and Mexico.
Easy Joe stopped Vanessa at an empty spot and then began to set up camp. When he was done, he told his plants to hang out in the van. He left the windows open and went off to make some new friends.
After it got dark, and all the tents were sealed up tight, Jerry, Jali and Henry left their pots and jumped out of the window. They were all eager to explore these new surroundings.
They started to wander among the trees. Every time they heard the large conifers chatting, and would go to say hello, the conifers immediately closed their eyes and pretended to sleep.
‘Maybe they have a strict bedtime.’ said Jali.
‘Or maybe they are a very prestigious and closed community. We should probably head back to the van, after all, we wouldn’t want to get left behind on accident.’ added Henry.
Jerry really wanted to explore but agreed with his friends. They hopped back into Vanessa and settled into their pots for some rest.
Jali and Henry drifted off to sleep right away but Jerry wasn’t tired and soon he heard the familiar whisper of conifer voices filling the air. Surely Easy Joe wouldn’t leave in the middle of the night, thought Jerry as he snuck out of his pot and walked back toward the forest.
Just like before, as soon as Jerry got close, the voices would stop but a faint humming sound drew him deeper into the forest. The humming was a low and sad sound and got louder as Jerry grew near. Maybe this tree couldn’t sleep either thought Jerry.
Jerry finally reached the humming tree and saw that it was giant and beautiful conifer.
‘Excuse me…’ Jerry whispered.
‘Aye, and who might you be runt?’ boomed the powerful voice when he was interrupted.
‘Ummm I’m uhmmm…’ repeated Jerry feeling a bit shy.
The conifer fluffed his giant branches and took a closer look at Jerry.
‘Aye, aye, the devil’s weed wants a word with me? I think not you marijuana!’
‘But I’m not a devil’s weed or marijuana!’ said Jerry.
‘Aye, aye, you are so, that weed which humans use. Bad luck aye, a sneaky and shameful thing.’ ‘I’ve seen many indecent things here on this campground, why I’m almost 150 years old.’
The old conifer chuckled and began to hum again.
‘But I am decent!’ yelled Jerry. ‘I’m Jerry! I’m hemp and a money tree! I help, heal and bring love to everyone I meet!’
Now this really did make the conifer laugh.
‘Of healing?!! Of helping!!! Aye, what do you know of Love aye?!’ he chuckled until he cried sap.
Jerry looked up at the conifer and told him of Easy Joe and Vanessa, of Jali and Rafi, and Harold and Henry, he spoke of his travels and then he spoke of his mama. The old conifer stopped laughing and listened intently.
‘Mama Maine taught me the sacred oath and she gave me love… right up until the day of the last harvest…. so that I would recognize it when I went out into the world.’
The conifer leaned to the side and bent down toward Jerry.
‘You say last harvest aye?
‘Yes’ said Jerry, ‘She gave me love and wisdom and flowers and seeds.’
‘I lost my mother too aye. Cut down some 60 years ago for timber. The finest timber in the forest say aye. T’was a sad celebration aye. Me mother named me Conner. Maybe we do share a thing or two in common. Imagine that aye. Imagine that. Do you not sleep either little hemp?’
Jerry moved closer to Conner.
‘Not sleep? Why I love to sleep.’ said Jerry. ‘Do you have trouble falling asleep Conner?’
The conifer swayed.
‘Was born with a lack thereof hemp Jerry.’ ‘Every little step or sound keeps me awake always. It’s why I hum aye. It’s the decent thing to do as the forest slumbers.’ The conifer began to hum softly.
‘Conner, I have an idea, I may be able to help you.’ replied Jerry.
This statement made Conner begin to chuckle again.
‘Aye hemp Jerry. Let me see this help of yours’ and he reached one of his branched toward Jerry.
As they began their sesh, Conner told Jerry magnificent tales from his younger days. He talked until he began to doze.
‘I think I’m a bit sleepy…Imagine that aye.’ Connor closed his eyes and began to snore soundly.
Jerry crept back into Vanessa and settled into his pot. When he awoke the next morning, he told Jali and Henry of his late-night adventure. Easy Joe stopped by with some fresh soil and clean water.
‘So guys, looks like we’re going to stay here a little longer. We were going to head out today but it’s just so beautiful out here, I think one more day is in order.’ Easy Joe went back toward his camp and that night when it was nice and quiet, Jerry, Jali and Henry left Vanessa and walked into the forest.
While they walked, conifers all around them chattered and smiled.
‘This is certainly a change from yesterday I’d say’ said Henry. Jali agreed.
Jerry wanted to introduce all of his new friends, so they walked on while the conifers around pointed the way toward Conner.
Jerry heard a familiar snore and found that Connor was still sleeping!
‘Are you the one who came last night? asked the tree next to Connor.
‘I’m Jerry, I met Connor last night, he told me how he hasn’t slept so I helped him’
‘Then you really are a miracle plant aye. Thank you, oh thank you.’
The forest came alive with other conifers who also expressed thanks.
‘Aye, aye! Welcome always hemp Jerry!’ All this commotion caused Connor to stir and open his eyes.
‘Why it’s the money tree Jerry aye. I haven’t slept so soundly.’ He smiled at Jerry and his friends. Jerry told them all of his adventures and right before the sun arose, Jerry gave Connor some seeds and flowers.
‘Take these Connor and grow your own money trees! They will bring luck and contentment for you and the forest.’ said Jerry.
‘Thank you, little hemp Jerry, please know aye, the conifers will carry a message of your healing and helping as far as we roam. Your family is worthy of respect and I am sorry for judging you so harshly.’
Jerry smiled and waved goodbye to his new friends as he, Henry and Jali made their way back to Vanessa. It wasn’t a moment too soon as Easy Joe hopped in a short time later.
Easy Joe turned on the engine and pulled away from the campground. They were on their way to their new home in Call-O-Rod-O!