Thursday, May 10, 2012

the redwoods

You know that I take a trip to the California redwoods each year.  I stay at a camp and use the week for reading and retreat.  This experience is almost indescribably good.

A new friend of mine, Lynn Youngblood, wrote the following article which was published in The Blue Springs Examiner, Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Lynn Youngblood – The Green Space – The splendor of the redwoods

I am writing this from California, where I’m visiting family. Today, my brother-in-law, Peter, drove my sister, Margaret, and me to see the Giants – not the San Francisco baseball team, the other famous giants in California. You know, the ones that reach for the sky and are about 2,000 years old – the redwood giants.

Peter and Margaret live about an hour and a half from a large area of privately owned redwoods. Peter took the scenic route for my benefit and we drove Highway 101 along the coast headed north along Tomales Bay, then headed inland.

As we got closer my brother-in-law said, “We are almost there; soon we will start seeing the redwoods.” As we traveled just a couple of miles further, I started smelling a sweet, freshness in the air. “I can smell them!” I exclaimed, feeling as giddy as a 5-year-old smelling cotton candy. It has been more than 10 years since I have visited these giants.

About a mile or two more and we entered their magical paradise; tall, stately trunks that pierce the sky above. They are so tall, that with most of them you cannot see the top. Although these are big, we have not yet reached the virgin redwoods. These before us are second or third growth, meaning they were the second or third cut after the virgin trees were cut by the first settlers.

Most of the redwoods were cut when California was first being settled. Even then, one felled tree could bring nearly $1,000. Landowners soon learned how valuable the trees were and gladly, willingly, allowed these ancient giants to be cut – many for timber and for the railroads.

There were a few visionaries who saw the need to preserve these trees for future generations to witness their awe-inspiring beauty and strength. After all, novels have been written, books have been filled with poems, art painted, sculpted and carved, and many other creative pieces have been produced after seeing these incredible gifts of nature. Standing in a grove of redwoods one cannot help but be humbled to their core. It is a place of peace and sanctity, of healing and grace. The forest floor is so far below the canopy above, that just the beauty of shafts of sunlight piercing through the dark shade is a sight to behold.

The forest floor is covered with many different species of ferns, mosses, and small delicate wildflowers. The mosses also grow up many of the tree trunks and in some places, so do the ferns; in some of the crotches of the trees and along bent trunks small ferns grow. The smell of damp earth, bark and green “pine” boughs is so fresh you want to capture it in a bottle and take it home. Bird songs I have never heard fill the air, even in the heat of the day. Drive out of the forest and the birds rest during the day, but in the redwoods, the birds celebrate the life within and sing with joy. Many forests are special, this is magical!

If I were lucky enough to know when I might draw my last breath – I would say, let me visit the redwoods one more time, say good-bye to friends and family, and then I will be ready to go.

I hope you do not wait that long – go see the redwoods, let the magic inhabit your soul forever!

And there I hope you see that Lynn has hit the nail on the head.  What a blessing it is to walk among the redwoods.  If you ever get out that way on vacation, let me know and I can direct you to the many places to visit them.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful commentary on a place you and others have gotten to enjoy. I would imagine this made Jeff want to be there now vs. a little later. Can't say that I blame you.

God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for the Redwoods.