Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Ritual #24 The Mystic Redwoods
Janis and I have been friends and traveling buddies for over 15 years! Janis has always talked about the Redwoods in Northern California where she has been 4 times before. I would hear stories and look at the pictures and just instantly feel this longing or connection to see them. It was always in the back of my mind and then Brian told me about his interest of moving to California to pursue his dreams in film. I was scared but excited. One of my thoughts actually was, "I'll finally be able to go see the Redwoods!" Well about 3 years later I've done it. I was lucky that things just came together so perfectly. Janis wanted to come back out and visit and she was trying to think of which ritual to do. It just popped up in both of our minds instantly. The Redwoods!
It is difficult to describe what the draw is exactly for those that might think well its just trees. Its like a holy pilgrimage in a way for those that really love and revere nature. These trees have been preserved and are ancient. Imagine all of what they have seen. Its like exploring a museum of fine and ancient art. I always feel peaceful and soothed when I sit under a tree. There used to be this tree at college that I would take my breaks under and I always felt renewed when I did.
We are of course connected to the earth but dirt and rock don't usually hold much for us although I love rocks and have been collecting them for many years. The waving plains of grass, the streaming rivers, and the trees rocking with the gentle breeze, these feel more alive to us and sometimes if you let go of all your responsibilities/conecpts of your identity/etc you can feel a part of that dance that nature does.
Although we spent Sunday and Monday exploring the Redwoods, the majority of the time in the redwoods was on Sunday. We got up, showered, and sat in the little cafe at the motel, eating oatmeal w/ bananas/drinking coffee, and talking to others that were visiting the area. We actually met a couple, Alexis and Pier who are from LA who drove up and were continuing to Oregon before they flew back to LA. They were hilarious and a lot of fun. I might try to hit them up when they come back in LA.
We plotted out what we wanted to do that day. Our first stop was to the Trees of Mystery. Janis had worried it would be hokey but it advertised a lift that brings you through the tree tops. We both felt it would be worth it just to see that view!
We stood at the statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe that dwarfed us. In the pictures that I will post soon, he actually looks Paul Bunyan was going to squish us with his shoe, we were so small next to him. Janis went to the cafe nearby to eat a little more and I explored the gift shop. I found my magnet! Its a thing I have to collect them where ever I go. Then we started off on the hiking path. We right away saw this amazing tree called the Elephant tree. Its called that because its roots look like the trunk of an elephant. It was really amazing. It took us a long time to go through that forest as we stopped every few feet to be amazed by another one of nature's scultpures. We saw a tree that looked like a lighting bolt, another that they called the Catherdral trees which were actually a few trees linked that created a kind of cathedral. People actually sometimes get married under them. Janis was planning her ideal wedding to be held there, she joked she just neeeded a groom first. I really liked this place. It was a really good introduction but as I compare it to the other forests/groves I feel you were seperated somewhat from the trees. We couldn't peer as close as we wanted or touch them as much. Therefore we didn't get the same intimate/intense connection we did with some of the other forests where we just felt engulfed in.
The Sky tran here at Trees of Mystery was definitely worth going. It was just breathtaking to soar over the tree tops. This way you can feel what it must be like to be a bird, free to soar. You get off and you can actually climb more stairs to even get another beautiful visage. On one side we saw mountains/flowers/forests and on the other was more forests and the ocean. They left binoculars that you could use to peer closer. We spent a lot of time just drinking it in. Due to being in the city and only getting out now and then to nature, I was parched from lack of connection to nature/beauty. I felt at first I just greedily guzzled the beauty into my soul. Then I formed a more balanced connection to the scenery around me.
After the tran we went through this area of the walk where you see carvings and the story of Paul Bunyan. Now this was actually a bit cheesy and strange that they were promoting mythology about logging in the very area where we were revering the trees. The carvings were actually really amazing though.
We went to Praire Creek area next and that's where we fell in love with that area. It was funny that we had just stopped at this trail head without a real understanding of which one it was. We started walking in and Janis exclaimed that this was the trail she loved and was looking for. I guess it was just calling to us. At the begining there are very large beautiful trees that take some time to go around then the forest becomes more lush and you go over the bridge and stream. The deeper we got into the forest the more quiet and still it seemed. We seemed to be the only around in that immediate area which was so nice. We were really able to just connect to the amazing energy in the forest. The trees seemed the most ancient in that area. There was a wisdom and understanding that came of strongly from them. After we went to Big Tree which was a little more populated but still amazing. Then off to Gold Bluff's Beach! We drove down this dirt/gravel road for quite awhile until we could feel the ocean breeze. We got out and walked. We happened upon the most gorgeous beach I've seen. The thistle, coastal flowers, and bleached wood on the beach contrasted with the overcast sky, and dark sand. There were also misty green hills all around is. I was cold but content, shivering while watching Janis scamble out of her shoes and socks, running into the surf. I took a mental picture along with some fuzzy ones on my camera phone. Its an image that I would like to paint in watercolor some day.
We luckily were off Davidson road by the time it got dark as that road is bumpy, windy, and narrow. We saw some kids speeding through that looked like they were going to party on the beach. On our way back we drove along some of the coast. It was really beautiful and there placks that excplained the mythology and stores surrounding the area from the National Park Service.
That was one busy Sunday!
We decided to get the most time in the Redwoods on Monday as possible before we had to leave to drive to the airport. We drove up to the tourist spot in Klamath where supposedly you can drive through the tree. It cost us $4 and we couldn't really drive through it as it was a little narrow. We did walk through it though. It sounded like a fun idea but when we got there we decided it was kind of sad. This gorgeous tree was just gutted out so people could get there kicks. It seemed like defacing it somehow but I understand the concept of trying to make money any way you can. We were told it was a poor area so we can't fault them too much.
Next we went back down to the trails and picked another part of Praire Creek which is extremely long. This part of Praire Creek was so different. While still ancient this part of the forest was more green/lush/and sort of magical. We completely expected a gnome to just walk through the foliage. There were these two trees that faced each other and created a small path to enter that area of the woods. We stopped and half seriously asked them if we could pass. They felt like the grandmother/grandfather protectors of the forest. I put my hand on one trunk while Janis put hers on the other, we linked hands and could feel an energy pulsing back and forth between us and the trees. It was so incredible. I think this was my favorite forest. We felt so energized by it and awestruck. The forest reuses everything. Even if a tree fell it slowly grew moss, greass, and flowers on it until it started to resemble the forest floor.
This is how I feel after life is like. We are brought back into the fold and beauty/wonder grows out of our good work/energy. We become part of the great collective or spirit again.
We walked past a cool stream with a beautiful lily leaning towards the water. It was such a beautiful scene. We cooled our foreheads with the water and then continued on. We entered into a clearing full of ferns and flowers. It was bathed in so much sunlight. We became warmed by it and giddy. We took pictures, skipped around, and I lost my footing and plopped down. I laughed to myself, but it was all part of the energy that suddenly changed in that sunny place. We turned around then and made our way back to the car. It was very difficult to leave that area of the forest. We felt intantly at home there and didn't want to leave the forests' amazing beauty and energy. We did end up being able to peel ourselves away. We then were off to Lady Bird Johnson grove before we made our way back to SF.
It was around 11:45am or so when we got to Lady Bird Johnson. Janis said we needed to leave by 12pm so we only had a very short period of time. Unfortunately/Fortunately, however you look at it, we spent like 45 minutes there. It was before noon and there was this gentle mist everywhere which just bathed the trees in this glow that we loved. These were th mystical trees I came to see. Then the forest unfolded its greatest miracle. We were walking and suddenly saw shafts of light just coming out of the trees. It created a circle of light all around us, and there was a rainbow spiral of light where the sun was trying to push through the space between the trees. It was probably one of the most beautiful spectacles of my life. We literally collapsed on the grown and sat, staring up at this beauty for awhile. We flagged down those nearby and just pointed. It brought more people there and we all just gawked at this gift that nature chose to give us that day.
Then we were off to SF! We had quite a trip ahead of us, like 7 hours. Our plane left at 8:35pm. We actually almost missed it and would have if anything else had taken a minute more of time. Janis just drove like hell was following her and we got there with 15 minutes to spare.
This was one of the most amazing experiences in my life, what more can I say? :)
PICS WILL BE POSTED SOON! We have over 200 of them!