I was spiriting through the forest and the color stopped me. Even though I know this tree, the bright yellow all the way to deep red colors are almost spooky after a rain in the forest where everything else is brown and green.

The medicine woman in me sees this and thinks of dry, irritated skin. Use the leaves and inner bark topically to help heal and sooth scrapes, burns and scaly, itchy skin.

The warrior in me reacts to the color of blood and my heart races. I feel like hiding, readying for the imminent attack. I check for my blade, okay. I have it.

The magician in me feels the magic coursing through the tree. A wand of the manzanita, yes, one day, and only with absolute permission.

My eyes, true and energetic—see the bark, several layers peeling at once, and know the depth of this sister being; recognize the color of every humor within her folds and know the instinct of survival; feel the magic flowing through and know the power of transformation starting internally.

I left feeling full and feeling ready. “Shed your layers,” Mazanita said, “I will bear witness.”

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