(Aug 8, 2016 - Jacksonville, TX)
I’ve seen the Big Trees. I’ve see the largest, tallest trees East Texas and the Neches River has to offer. I’ve seen “virgin” pine trees with a perimeter taking three grown men with outstretched arms to surround. These trees are magnificent!
We went to California to see the trees. We did “see” trees.
California has trees. They are trees. The trees are the tallest, largest trees and among the oldest living things (organisms) on earth. Taking almost a life time to see, still never too late; now I long to go again.
An unexpected phenomenon, predicted.
Traveling up “the 101” from San Francisco is the Avenue of the Giants, snaking left and right, east and west, under the 101. Some tributaries off the Avenue dump in rural areas and some side roads just deliver into groves of the giants, redwoods.
Understand, these paved roads are narrow for not to sacrifice for access. There are turnouts. I was directed to a special turnout by a crusty, old volunteer at the visitor station. This turnout was special for it was among the largest grove of the tallest trees in the world! Redwoods! Imagine a place. We sat on a log at the turnout. Alone. The few passing vehicles were not noticed.
We were mostly in shade on a sunny day – like a room; no, more like a cathedral. Looking up, the ceiling approached heaven. A light breeze touched the skin. The sound of the wind passing through the branches was in a distance – up; a way up.
Sitting and breathing air these magnificent beast had produced – for them to become part of you - was communion. This was communicating with the Creator, as a prayer.
As stated, “And the feeling is not limited to me” – this feeling is there for anyone who will submit to the power of their presence. Redwoods!
"The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any tree we know, they are ambassadors from another time. They have the mystery of ferns that disappeared a million years ago into the coal of the carboniferous era. They carry their own light and shade. The vainest, most slap-happy and irreverent of men, in the presence of redwoods, goes under a spell of wonder and respect. Respect—that’s the word. One feels the need to bow to unquestioned sovereigns. I have known these great ones since my earliest childhood, have lived among them, camped and slept against their warm monster bodies, and no amount of association has bred contempt in me. And the feeling is not limited to me.
From Travels With Charley (1962), John Steinbeck.
Until we put in again,