“…Hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky… Hope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency; because hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal.”
— Rebecca Solnit
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.
This park on the far northern coast has the most lovely, moderately challenging hiking trail that winds through magnificent redwoods. Humboldt County has really great old growth redwood groves. The atmosphere is very quiet and serene Redwood Park has a flat grassy area with a playground right in the middle of the forest and trails at the edges that climb the hillside. Sorry about the crummy photo quality–these were taken a couple of years ago with my old 3GS iPhone.
Tree trunk archway.
The dappled light here is magnificent.
A tree growing out of the stump of another massive tree, slowly wrapping its roots around it down to the earth.
We explored a new trail today at Point Lobos: Whaler’s Knoll Trail, which seems to have the highest elevation in the park. Phoebe was a trooper and walked up the steep path to enjoy this view. She has been walking 2 miles with me just about every day this week. Her secret? Tortoise steps.
Brilliant twilight sky
Outlining the pure, dark form
Of oak trees above
I made some mango black tea this morning and immediately missed my grandfather; on my last visit to him in Hawaii Kai before he died, I had bought several tropical fruit flavored black teas. It’s amazing how smells and tastes can trigger the most emotional responses. I was so sad during the yoga session I just finished that I finally cried about losing him last month. He was always the kindest member of the family and it’s hard to imagine never being able to hug him again. Phoebe keeps asking me when we will go back to Hawaii. She knows that her great grandfather has passed but she says she feels Hawaii is her real home and misses the warm green waters of Kailua Bay on the other side of Oahu. I grew up visiting my grandfather every summer. Maybe when I finish my degree we might move there for a while to be close to the land and the memories of my grandfather but I’ll always return to California.
I feel like I could choke on my sadness right now.