Filling in the Cracks

Don’t go into the woods!!

148 Days left until the Zombie Apocalypse…

In case my addition yesterday didn’t make it obvious enough for you, let me clarify: I love what Mother Nature has gifted us with.  Whether it’s hiking in the woods or just laying on the grass to watch the clouds rolls by, it never fails to make me happy.  I think it might be an evolutionary thing.  We are wild things and we belong in the wild.  There’s something about the solitude that makes you feel like you genuinely belong to the Earth, like you are as much one of Mother Nature’s children as the flowers and the trees.  (I know it’s corny, but that doesn’t make it any less true!)  As fantastic as it is, there is still something better–letting that solitude be breached by someone worth sharing it with…

That’s always been my favorite part.  Even if it weren’t, let’s face it: If the world is really going to end in less than five months, it is also the right thing to do.  We have a moral obligation to expose as many people as possible to all of the world’s wonders.  Especially since we all have a completely different vision of what those wonders are.  Some people might find it watching the sun come up over the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies.  Some might find it watching the sun set over the shifting sands of the Sahara desert.  From the bluest oceans to the ever-changing prairies, from the deepest ravines to the highest drop zones we all find joy in something that others wouldn’t understand without our help.  Similarly, they have access to the means to broaden our own horizons as well.  It’s definitely a good trade-off.   Who doesn’t like a little game of “If you show me yours, I’ll show you mine?”… It’s always been enough of a motivator for me hehehe…

Anyway, for today’s edition of the “30 Things I’ve Done Before the Age of 30”, I’m going to tell you about three very different times I got to share one of my favorites of nature’s wonders with the people who I love…

To get an idea of the size, we are standing in front of a small portion of what remains of the Discovery Tree.

I have always loved redwood trees.  They were always one of my very favorite parts about living in California.  For one thing, there aren’t very many places in the world where you can see them.  For a lot of Californians, that definitely makes them something to be proud of.  More importantly though, they’re just so enormous.  I know that’s such a simple thing, but I think I’ve made it pretty clear by now that I love the simple things in life.  However, at the same time, it isn’t actually all that simple.  Unless you’ve seen one in person, you don’t really have a true understanding of how big of an understatement it is to call them “enormous”.  They’ve always given me a bit of a reality check.  They serve as very vivid reminders of how small and young we are as a species.  It’s humbling–in a good way.

They look so tiny!!

Anyway, we have been going to see the trees for as long as I can remember.  I’ve been so many times, that I can often look at someone else’s pictures and know whether they had visited Redwood National Park, Calaveras Big Trees, or Muir Woods.  A lot of times, I can even envision how to get to where they are from the Ranger Stations.  It’s a really fun game to play…

I love the trees so much that I can’t help but want to share them with others.  The experience is always a positive one for everyone–even when they don’t expect it.  It is also always something different.  I never know quite what to expect when I take someone to the trees, but I do know that it will be wonderful.

True Tree Love =)

On my recent trip back home to California, I was able to share the trees with two groups of people.  For our first trip back, we wanted to hike through Calaveras Big Trees again.  It was always our favorite–largely because it was so close to us and relatively ignored by other people.  My sister was visiting California at the same time as us with her children and we all decided that it would be a really great experience for them to see the trees too.  She has three little girls–one is 7, one is 5, and the other is 2.  They are all little wildlings.  They belong in the woods so we decided to take them there.  They were absolutely hilarious…and horrendously bad all at once.  One of them kept trying to run away.  She wanted to return to the trees where she belongs.  I would have loved to let her because I know it would have made her desperately happy.  It was enough to watch how happy it made her and her sisters to be there though.  Every pine cone was a new discovery.  the oldest of the three wanted her picture taken with almost every tree.  My very favorite moment though came at the end of their nature trail.  There is a tree there that they encourage you to touch.  Everyone always loves petting the tree, but my youngest niece was absolutely adorable.  Her face was glowing as if she were in love.  It was just very validating for me of how very special the trees really are…

Hehehe

I had a wildly different experience when I took my friends to Muir Woods.  One of them is a nature lover like me.  The other though…well…she is decidedly not.  She was actually supposed to go with us to the Big Trees.  When I invited her along, she asked me “What do you do when you go to the trees?  Do you just stand there and stare up at them?”  She totally didn’t get it…and she totally wouldn’t go.  My dad and I decided to call her the Tree Hater because of it.  We also decided to trick her into going with us to Muir Woods.  Instead, we only told her that we would be spending the day in San Francisco.  We justified this in our minds since it is really close to the city!!  In any case, she was unwittingly dragged along in her flip-flops for a hike in the woods.  It was pretty much one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  She kept posing for pictures where she had “punched” fallen trees–one of which punched her back.  She kept complaining about how her flip-flops from Bass Pro Shop were getting dirty.  The best part though was when we entered Cathedral Grove.  There is a sign there where they ask you to keep down the noise.  My friend is…well…she’s defintiely not quiet…not even a little…not even at all.  Her “quiet voice” was certainly my favorite part of the day.  Even with all of the moaning and groaning about her flip-flops and her tree-hating nature, I still think that she had fun.  I was definitely glad to share the experience with her–especially since the rest of us got to have fun at her expense…hehehe…

We will miss you always Jason!! Love you…

My third special memory of the trees is actually from a long time ago.  You have to travel back with me to the Cretaceous Period–when I was still in high school.  My Uncle Jason had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He had never seen the Pacific Ocean or travelled through California, so he flew out to see it and to say goodbye to all of us.  At the time, we had other family who lived in Washington.  My dad decided to take him on a trip up the coast to see them too.  Of course, no family trip up the coast could ever be complete without stopping at Redwood National Park.  That is one of the most incredible places in the world.  Period.  The groves there are some of the oldest in the world, and the trees along the Avenue of the Giants are record-breaking heights.  They even have a tree that you can drive your car through!  Anyway, we had to take him.  I don’t think I have ever seen him that close to being at peace with himself and with his future.  It was terribly sad, but it was also terribly beautiful.  I think it helped me though.  It taught me that if he could accept it, then so could we–even if we didn’t like it…even if we hated it…and even if it killed us to do so.  Seeing him among the trees was like looking into Heaven and seeing him there.  He had reached a point where he seemed to be transitioning between the two worlds, an angel returning home at long last.  I’d never seen anything like it before, and I don’t think I will ever see anything else like it again…

Looking up into the trees really IS fun!

There you have it: three radically different experiences for the price of one.  Seriously though, those trees are magnificent.  If nothing else, it will teach you that not everything worthy is found in human society.  It will teach you that there are things in the universe that are far, far greater than we are.  It will make you feel that even if they aren’t sentient beings, the trees are wiser than we will ever be.  Most importantly, you will become wiser and greater for that newfound awareness.  One of the most thought-provoking quotes I know comes to mind: “Society is binding. Right? It’s filling in the cracks with concrete. Everything’s filed or reported, logged, right? Chips in our kids heads so they won’t get lost. Society needs to crumble.”  Okay, so it’s from Cabin in the Woods and it’s terribly cheesy.  However, it is also true.  As my friends know, these places might be “unworthy of global positioning”, but that is also what makes them worthy…

Sincerely Yours,

The Butcher of the Bard

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This entry was posted in 30 Things I've Done Before the Age of 30, Countdown to the Zombie Apocalypse, Day to Day Circumstances, Down the Rabbit Hole, My Bucket List and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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