Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sunday Worship

After we exited the ferry in Sausalito, I asked the Island visitors if they had ever seen a redwood tree. Yes, when Eisenhower was President. It was time to go again.

The cars were bumper-to-bumper on Highway 101 as we exited to Mill Valley. They peeled away as we approached Mount Tamalpais, so traffic was only moderate as we pulled into Muir Woods. Nevertheless, the parking lot was filled on late Sunday afternoon.

We ambled the main trail with dozens of other park visitors. The walkway was wide and worn, a blessing to those with hesitant hips and painful patellas. We were glad we had brought our jackets. The forest floor was dark and cool although it had been a bright 80 degrees in Sausalito.

The sun winked through the leaves. We craned our necks upward but couldn’t see the tops of the trees. We pondered the antiquity of a cross-section of a felled redwood, whose rings revealed that it had been born during the age of Charlemagne. No human eyes likely witnessed its birth, but its death had meaning that we memorialize.

We were invigorated; was the feeling due to the imagination or does the putatively higher oxygen content of the forest provide a scientific explanation?

People murmured softly, as if they were in a cathedral. Dwarfed by these giants, whose birth predated ours by centuries, perhaps they were. © 2007 Stephen Yuen

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