I went to Henry Cowell by myself this morning after dropping Phoebe off at kindergarten. I got there at about 8:45am while the sky was still cloudy and mist shrouded the trees. After passing a pair of women walking out of the forest, I had the place seemingly to myself. I followed the interpretive trail walking slowly and drinking in my surroundings, trying to feel at ease. When I came to the Fremont tree where an early pioneer was said to spend the night on his journey through the area, I ducked inside, right into the darkness, opting not to use my phone as a flashlight. It took several minutes for my eyes to adjust and see the patterns of the wood and the little enclaves people had carved out.
It felt like the most magical place in the world to be in the center this massive tree which extended so far above and so deep below, sitting in the quiet darkness. The birds had been loud in the forest but all of that was inaudible from within the tree. All I could hear was the occasional bellowing of the train horn. I knelt on the ground for a while with one knee touching the scratchy ground before sitting down on the seat of my sundress with my thighs against the dirt.
I sat there as long as I could manage and when I emerged, the deep green of the branches above looked as vibrant as ever. I sat on a bench in the clearing and read in my book for a while, then continued my walk. It was getting sunny then (around 10) and there were small groups of people around every turn. I stumbled upon a doe with two fawns who seemed indifferent to my presence just 20 feet away behind a very low barrier fence. The fawns were adorable and I stood still and watched the family until they walked behind a thick redwood. There were another two does nearby. Both paused when they saw me but relaxed when it was clear that I would continue my walk.