"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Walking Softly Among the Giants

So often, as I sit at this computer and search for the words to describe the pictures,
I fall short. Today is another one of those times.


John Muir penned "noble simplicity" when reflecting on the mountains of Alaska in 1879.
I realize that those awesome views are days behind us in our journey, but California's
magnificent trees also exude this noble simplicity.
As with the Pacific Ocean and Alaska's mountain peaks and glaciers,
standing in the cool shadows of these tall trees both inspires and humbles me.
Nature in its purest sense reminds me that the world doesn't revolve around us.
Removing the man-made parts of our lives-the buildings, roads, towers and walls-
opens me to praise the God of Creation.
We call them earth tones--the natural shades of green, brown, blue and white. They come from the original pallet of the Artist Himself and speak peace to my soul.

We left the car tucked in a wooded spot and wandered back along a trail.
Not a sound except the trickle of a nearby stream; it seemed too sacred to speak.
Rich earthy, damp aromas surrounded us in the shade of the canopy so very far above.
It was dizzying to bend our necks back, following the rough, mossy trunks up and up until the boughs of green were finally seen.

Some of these silent pillars are 2,000 years old.
Imagine the world 2,000 years ago...
We discovered a damp log bench with this plaque:
I wonder about thoughtful Brett Thompson.
I imagine he was 80 or 90 years old
when he wrote this in 1998.
Though old in years, when comparing his brief life to that of these redwoods,
he considered himself a mere "youth".
I like that comparison.

We lingered in the silence, listening for the echoes of the Native tribes that
crept through these same places back when the oldest of today's trees were just saplings.
I'm sure there were still many tall ones that have since been harvested or just decayed,
the ancestors of these we see today. It was their pine cones that fell into the mulch below and took root, growing into today's trees.
I believe that Shoeless Joe is listening carefully to the ancient voices...
or maybe just a little squirrel.

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