Up and Down (Muir Woods II)

What to do with a long day in Muir Woods National Monument?

Let’s begin with the Redwood Creek Trail, but then avoid the crowds by climbing up Canopy trail.

Descend along Fern Trail back to Redwood Creek Trail, and continue up up up Bootjack Trail, all the way to the antique Mountain Theater.

Connect via Old Mine Trail to Dipsea Trail, enjoy the views, and follow it all the way down to the end, closing the loop.

(There were enough water fountains on the way to keep me hydrated.)

Trillium Ovale (Muir Woods I)

At this time of the year, the monthlong Brown here in the Midwest is broken by the appearance of the first Spring wildflower, the Snow Trillium.

I have written too often about it.

At the same time of the year, the Pacific woods already burst with wildflowers.

Here we see the Trillium ovatum, whose white flowers slowly turn pink while they age.

The threefold symmetry sees the occasional exception with the appearance of a quadrillium, which has fourfold symmetry, like the four leaf clover. With astonishment I saw here a specimen with two-fold symmetry of leaves, petals, stamen and sepals. Duollium?

Echinofossulo

Last autumn I ordered seeds from the Echinofosssulocactus genus and potted them on October 11. Around October 21, the first green specks had sprouted.

Echinofosssulocacti are (when grown) recognizable by their distinctive wavy ribs. We’ll have to wait.

By November 16, little thorns started to emerge at the top.

As of today, they have grown quite a bit and are getting ready for being repotted soon.

I like things that grow slowly and become resilient.

Patience

Our human sense of time is deeply flawed — linear, homocentric, short.

The majestic redwoods of the Pacific Northwest capture our centuries in moments of their existence – past, present and future become one.

Each year a circle, circle after circle, in perpetuity.

Time here has become space that is occupied by fragile instances of hope.

Burnt, scarred, fractured, hollowed, and yet still alive, stubbornly providing support for what is more important.

We humans have managed to reproduce the size of these trees in our cities. However, what we have missed is to also capture the organic beauty of every little detail, each sliver of bark.

We still haven’t acquired the patience and the determination to allow something to happen.

Let’s not forget that trees will remember us when we are all gone.

Birth (Ferns 7)

My first visit to Fern Canyon in summer was shear awe, with the abundance of fern and growth. In winter, time seems to be in balance.

Everything is suspended, in space and time. This is a moment of not-knowing, of anxiety.

After descending into the canyon, the intense presence of water shows how everything is in flux. Are we ready?

Curiously, the walls of the canyon give safety and comfort and embrace.

The walls move back and forth, and eventually recede and relax.

Are you there, too?

Trillium Falls Trail

After visiting Fern Canyon in Northern California, the Trillium Falls Trail offers a convenient loop to conclude a rainy day.

What do our short years matter to these trees? Having this much time, and not messing up, not failing, is not for our kind.

Even falling takes an eternity here.

The giant redwoods carry themselves with a grace that is beyond us, and create a space that is entirely their own.

Palimpsests of textured bark record stories of pain and healing. If only we had skin like that.

Or are we the ones who are blessed not to know what is contained in so much time and space, because we could never bear it?

Is seeing time pass quickly really healthier for us?

And is fragility only possible because others bear the space and time that is intolerable for us?

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Three and a Half

The first three pictures are from the summer in 2018. My daughter and I were on our way back from Northern California to San Francisco.

We stopped for a night in Mendocino, precariously perched on a cliff, the morning fog obstructing the view of the beginning day.

The last three pictures were taken this January, 3 1/2 years later, again on our way back, again in Mendocino.

This time the evening clouds leave the view open.

What happened in these 3 1/2 years? And what will happen in the next 3 1/2 years?