THE REDWOODS

We traveled up the coast, past golden hills dotted by black cows looking out over the tropical ocean, wind blown houses, their wood graying in the salted air. The colors of the flowers on the California coast are vibrant and bright against the gray white sky, standing proudly in lieu of the absent summer sun. The farther north we drove, past Fort Bragg and tiny coastal towns, thick dark trees crept to the edges of the road, their soft needles dampening the sound, softening the light. The coastal air still cool, but the sun glittering above, it felt like early fall on the east coast as we drove into redwood country, into the land of giants.

Into the thickening darkness we pressed, feeling as though we were driving our car into an ancient cathedral. Everything grows quietly here, things move more slowly, more deliberately, and people speak in soft voices. There is a magic about these trees, standing so thin and tall in the silence of their own making. We walked between them, touching their faces, looking up towards their tops. I took off my shoes and walked on the soft carpet of needles covering the forest floor, my footsteps knowing and silent, as if my feet had walked these paths before.

This is a place where trees creak and groan as if in conversation. Hallowed ground.