Last week I took a trip to visit my aunt in the San Francisco area. I use to visit a lot when I was younger. As I grew older, I had fewer opportunities to visit. Most of my visits as an adult kept me close to Silicone Valley. If you know the area, you know that it has it’s own distinct beauty, but it is also very congested with humans. Last week I visited Marin County, which, too, is over-populated, but contains some hidden natural gems; namely Muir Woods and Mt. Tamalpais.
Considering all the rain they’ve had the past few months, we were blessed with sunny weather each day. On one of these sun-filled days we took a drive up to Mt. Tamalpais. I was impressed with the vast mountainscapes (or as Californians would call them hillscapes) we discovered so near the urban sprawl. State and National Parks secure the forested lands and it was all breath-taking.
On our way down-hill, we made a side trip to Muir Woods National Monument. I don’t recall ever visiting this magical place before. As we strolled along the trails, I was overcome with awe over the gigantic Sequoia sempervirens. These trees, commonly known as the Redwoods, are massive and endangered specimens.
I don’t often have experiences like this, but I truly felt it was a spiritual encounter. I totally understand how John Muir (the monument’s namesake) viewed nature as a form of religion.
In some respects, the spiritual nature of my experience revolved around my concern over the continual loss of habit. My feelings were also due to the sheer size of these trees, reaching up to 380ft tall and 30ft in diameter; I felt small. It takes time to grow to this size, these trees are known to live 1200 to 1800 (or more) years old. I am very sure that the spirits I felt were greatly due to the age of these trees. They witnessed many evolutions of this coastal region. They emitted an energy and seemed powerfully wise, but I’m afraid few people actually stopped to listen.
Now that I’m home, I’m processing all of this and trying to figure out how I will interpret these emotions into a quilt.