This book was born in Truckee, CA. There is a tree that grows by itself in the rocky mountain on Donner Pass and I was thinking about a kid I used to work with. Kids will sometimes talk about how they feel, because what they have gone through, and it comes up again and again how they don't think they can ever be "normal", accepted, and literally have the feeling that they are incapable of being a person. Going through things can make people think differently, even be a little different, but different experiences make us no less human or capable of experiencing the good in life. Sometimes we can't see the challenges people have faced and continue to face every day, which can make people isolate each other and thus isolate themselves. I didn't know how a tree would get up there or grow in rocks on top of the mountain and it seemed odd... but it was still a tree. Sometimes it is hard to understand, especially without the whole story, how a kid or adult ends up where they are at, but we can understand they are still human, still desire community, friends, and don't want to feel all alone.
Sometimes the best thing we can learn is treat each other even when we don't understand everything.