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Posts Tagged ‘redwoods’

Redwoods – june 10,11?

land of the trees

I am in the redwoods – i made it here – to the land of the ancient giants. The sun is going down and i will soon sleep beneath these trees. As i walked over to the hiker biker camp, here in Jedidiah Smith State Park, where i was a year ago, my right arm began to move – circling on its own. I walked back along the empty road, me and the trees and the ferns below, and it began to move again on its own – a circle – as if dowsing some energies here. I ask, what energies lay in this place, the zone of the trees by the smith river.

I have entered into the land ruled by trees – first the forests inland – as i crossed yesterday from Klamath Falls to Medford, through a land of lakes and trees in mountain zone, and today as i headed out here – but now am among these ancient giants who dwell in this narrow zone. And the hotsprings of this morning, and the town of this afternoon seem so far away in both time and space. On the bus riding through the beautiful land of hills and trees i felt lonely once again – lonely for an area also lived in by human beings – a land where all live harmoniously, I am back in California, but somehow it seems to me more like oregon.

A giant downed tree trunk sprouting life, not only moss, but plants and leaves and other trees growing on it as it decomposes. As it is all around, life growing from decay, life growing from life, a cycle to be completed and renewed.

the cycle of life - from death and decay sprouts new growth and life renewed

Thin soil covers the earth, hiding the rocks beneath, the spirits that have not yet emerged. The high canopy of the redwoods blocks out much of the sky. This zone is contained, life on the surface, between the above and the below – neither too visible, and not the focus, the focus is on the life that sprouts, that is, the colour of green, the colour of plant life form. It forms a bowl or a cocoon, not from the sides like valley walls, but from the bottom and the top, and you cannot see far, the vista is short, for forest surrounds.

I feel small and insignificant beneath these trees towering above, and their girth is wide. I am surrounded by the living, and i am just a small part, i am so small. There is so much here. it presses in. like a city in some ways, but so different, but the pulse is strong, all emit energy and the dance is dense. I feel small in a different way than when i travelled across the deserts a few days ago, on the train, with little life and green to be seen – the earth and the sky so vast, so large, and i, the train, so small, so little breathing life, so little dancing around, the above and below in full force. I longed for the dance of life on the surface, and now it is here, i longed for trees, and now i am in their land.

Redwoods Towering above

I sit beneath the redwoods. although they are not the only trees here, it is their land. The narrow strip in which they still grow, where they remain, looking over the land and us, providing a zone where the other plants may thrive. Where they may thrive beneath the guardians of this land, beneath those that have witnessed so much, who communicate between earth and sky. They are the survivors in this small place, in the groves that have been preserved, only small patches of what once was. For so many have been decimated, in the early days, chopped down with eyes for profit and their use. It feels lonely and heavy. The sun, now giving way to clouds or fog, does not shine through and the eye does not see very far.

I am back to the zone of the familiar- returned to the shore once again. I lost sight of it for a while as i went inland and above, but now i am back, and i am not sure how i feel. The route is known and the intensity is gone. I have come back down, closer to sea level once again, I leave the park, to go to the store, one that i know is there. I have been on this road before, going the other way.

I feel the life around pressing in – as i need not process it all. I know where the bathrooms are, where so much it, and realize that i feel similar to how i felt before, a feeling i had forgotten about when i was out of this locale. Two kids hitch on the road in front, how small and insignificant we appear but in such a different way than in the desert with broad spanses and vistas, and a seemingly lack of life – the bare earth, the sky and us. Here is it the life forms that are much greater – trees and ferns and salal and more – both the earth and sky hard to see, for life abounds, and we are just such a small part of it. Life on the surface that is so visible, all manifesting into form, all manifesting so large and grand.

Ferns are some of the oldest life forms around, and the redwoods are ancient trees, which once lived in so many other locales, their range now limited to this narrow strip of land. Here ancient forms are still alive, ancient life continuing on into the present, living in the here and now – not merely emerging from rocks and stone. All becomes manifested into the 3D. I feel the density of it all though i am 10 miles inland, out of the deep fog belt of the coast, where air condenses into a thick haze. Here the element of water, of emotions, is so present, though now the sun shines on through.

The life i called forth – life in the trees, where the life of people is in harmony, different elements dancing together. Here the plant life grows in harmony – it is us who can seem out of place. It is not merely the redwood trees, but the diversity of life forms – the ferns, the sorrel, the moss, the rhododendrons, berries, alder, salal, trillium and more that grow together, intermingle, give each other life. we focus on the largest, the tallest, but they are all part of this zone, they all are part of the intricate dance – a dance that includes the animals and birds, and yes, today, us.

The sky is now grey – much more typical of this twilight zone, this zone where the giants thrive. I walk around, no people about, myself and the trees and the plants, green live thrives, lush and magnificence. All forms in denseness become manifest – in morphological fields. It is a twilight zone – i imagine dinosaurs roaming around, giants of the past, and wonder if they still do, invisible to us now. All feels so old and enduring, the past living on, clinging on, taking hold. I remember the petrified forest in Arizona, huge logs turned to stone, all dry and barren, with fossils of dinosaurs and ancient forests about, destroyed in some great cataclysm. I remember that place that felt of life destroyed, and i remember this images that came to me the last time i was here, of waves seeping over the land.

For now all life is showing, the life that remains. It is green, more green than i imagined, the green that i so yearned for, the green of the heart and of life. Still it feels heavy, pressing down, so much energy caught in moisture, and what has become form. Thought forms hang on, emotions come alive, energy condenses in bodies and in my joints, even the redwoods have burls. And i am a small part of this all.
Mosquitoes fly around my face, a nibble here and there. I feel insignificant – then i look at the tree stumps, those that were cut down, and i see how much power (wo)man can have, despite our size – how we have cut so much of this down. A mosquito bites again – i remember their power – able to cut us down – malaria, dengue, west nile and more. how they can cut us down with the poisons that lay inside, that they transmit, that have taken hold in them. size has little to do with power, and as another bites, i realize i am just a part of the chain of life. I sleep beneath the trees once again.

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I sit in my tent under the redwood giants and i have to thank them for being alive. their grandeur and energy overwhelm me and i have to thank them once again. They remind me of how small i am and how our lives are fleeting, just temporary – for these trees have lived hundreds of years and tower above all that is around.
and then i remember how few remain – just about 3% of the forests that stood 150-200 years ago, most chopped down and used for building for furniture and more, and most now remain in the protected areas of national and state parks on down the coast. and as i thought of their endurance, the lives they have seen, i realize that the old ones are the lucky survivors of that time. Today i went out to the stout grove, and saw other tourists passing through – awing and marveling over these giants and remnants of a time gone by, appreciating them for what they are – but for how long were they not valued in and of themselves, and were like so much today – people, elements and other life – just valued in terms of their short term use to us.
in stout grove there are several fallen trees, giants that have tumbled in more recent years – their short wide root systems exposed. and i have to think why one and not the other fell, and what determines when one goes. I thought of the other giants, further up the coast, the hemlocks and spruce and cedars of the other old(er) growth forests, and of passing through after a storm, seeing a few laying downed beside the road or over roofs and asking why these now – for they seem so permanent and so old to boot. and others with first marks, and one that lightning hit. And here in this campground knowing they stood in several feet of water in the big flood. but the survivors live on and show their light, and i thank them for being here.

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I am camping in Jediah Smith Redwood, my tent planted between three old growth redwood trees, and it seems so small compared to their grandeur. and so do i. My site, probably the best in the park, is circled by many more of these ancient life forms – hundreds and hundreds of years old, and others in the campground may have seen a thousand or more. and i think of all they have witnessed in thier lives, standing, growing tall, enduring the changes and catastrophes of the years , the endure and thrive and have such a rich presence. and i thank god for bringing me here. and the park of this morning on the coast, and the towns i passed through and bus rides i took seem eaons away.
my energy has calmed since being here – was rushing through and off kilter for the early part of the day. i woke at 3am and never really went back to sleep and packed up my tent in the damp grey before 7am and walked into town to catch the bus south at 8:45 not entirely sure of where i was going to. and by the time i got to brookings at 8am a steady drizzle was coming down as it would on and off for the ride south to crescent city california.
and i could feel the energy, the twitching in my face and movements of my arms, overnight and i felt more and more that i had to get off the coast. the afternoon before when walking back to the campground, i had a feeling of walking in that twilight zone where all seemed a bit unreal – and i felt that life was going on but something big was about to give. and at night in my tent the cool damp earth beneath seemed less stable than it usually is.
the first bus took my south to smith river, the convenience store beside the casino, and the whole ride down i felt not myself – a transformation or something, that energy rush that i had experienced in santa cruz and down the coast – the landscape seemed sad beneath the grey, the homes and people all worn down, a guy at one stop before 10am out in sock feet, drinking a cheap can of beer and smoking a butt, but giving another money so he could get on. Crescent city was still a grey sprawl. I thought of previous times i passed through and hated it here, sitting in mcdonalds for 2 hours in the rain waiting for the bus to continue on a few miles south when greyhound ran through back in 2001. and i try to remember seeing the beauty, but that was another time in the winter sun. i still felt like the earth was about to give and could i get away soon enough, and i sat by the bus stop waiting, waiting, for 45 minutes but what seemed like days hoping i could get out of this place. And that energy and those feelings kept on rushing through.
I catch the bus out of town and get here to this magical place, down highway 199 which twists through the ancient groves. i feel calmer away from coastal air. But, then when i go to the bathroom i see a sign marking the high water level of december 22 1964, the tsunami from the huge alaska earthquake, and the line was over the top of the bathroom door.
the sun broke through for a few hours – at about 330 pm. i sit at my picnic table in this quiet area and thank god that i am here. and tonight i get to sleep beneath the trees, my tent in an alcove surrounded and dwarfed by three. And i feel their presence within me and marvel at their lives. somehow the magic of the world has come back alive.

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