This is the eleventh post in my series covering my recent escapades and adventures in California. For more, check out Leslie’s California Travel Log.
I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
– e. e. cummings
We didn’t have much time at Sequoia National Park, so I find myself at a loss for words to describe the experience to the extent the park deserves. I love the outdoors and nothing makes me feel so at home than the quiet of a forest or the shade beneath a tree, so it goes without saying that I enjoyed myself here. I feel regretful that I didn’t take in more of the signs or do more reading about the history and science of the trees. I only remember a few things.
Walking along the path through the trees, the smell was of sawdust and pine. At one point I came across a fallen tree that had dried in the sun and was now a place to sit, walk along, or play and its fresh woodsy odor was one I wish I could imitate in my backyard. Silly for me to think of the smell first, but I guess everyone expects the Sequoias to be enormous, so no surprises there.
But yes, they were extravagantly large. Larger than I’ve ever seen. You look straight up to see the top and it seems that the sun is not so much further away than the tip toppest leaves of the tree. I could imagine a giant sitting at the foot of one, reading a book.
One of the stumps had a marker near it to tell its story. It took nine men two full days to chop it down and after it was gone, the stump was used as seating for a children’s Sunday school class long ago. What lucky children to have such a beautiful place of spiritual retreat.
The quiet, beckoning-solitute of the woods reminds me of the space Anne Morrow Lindbergh describes in her gracious novel, Gift from the Sea. Below, interspersed with my photos, are a couple of quotes from her book.
“I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”
“This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of details, of intimacy – even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide.”
The trees remind me to be still and breathe. May you find moments in your day to do the same.
My last California Travel Log post is up next, detailing a combination of fun stops on our trip that didn’t fit tidily into any of the other posts. So, Odds & Ends is truly what it is – an ice cream shop with Sequoia-size servings, a hipster coffee house off the beaten track in San Francisco, Lombard Street, and backyard vistas will make up this tossed salad series wrap-up.