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February 20th, 2009

Mountain Greenery

We saw redwoods today. Yes, Deetjens was in a redwood forest, and yes, there are redwoods on Point Lobos, but none of them were first-growth forest or nearly as honking HUGE as the ones we saw in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

I like writing descriptions, but I have to say that the Sublime leaves me speechless. We walked down the carefully-delineated trail, looked up through the leaves to the sun far, far above, took pictures of stumps and moss and sorrel growing in the duff underfoot, walked along the extraordinarily clear river where the steelhead spawn when the time is right, and just breathed.

We were passed, at one point, by a woman with two young boys, one of whom said to his mother, "I like being somewhere different every day. Being at home in one place all the time is bo-oring." To which I said a heavily qualified Amen. I mean, home is far from boring, what with friends and work and simple New Yorkitude. But traveling, seeing scenery and architecture that's completely different from what I'm used to, touching lives that are utterly different from mine, participating, however briefly, in a daily rhythm that moves at an unfamiliar pace, is one of the great joys of my life.

After the redwoods, we drove back to Santa Cruz on Route 9, one of those twisty, windy roads I love driving (which is odd, when you come to think that I don't much like driving at all), came back to the hotel to rest, then set out to walk along the shore and watch the surfers. Talk about a life that's utterly different from mine. I don't think I'd enjoy surfing. I hate being cold, I have no sense of balance, I'm not a strong swimmer, speed makes me anxious, and I'm always nervous about hitting anybody I'm too near. But watching it was wonderful. We walked out to the lighthouse, stopping at intervals to watch the migration of the Common Harbor Surfer out to the waves, then back again in time to catch the sea-lion puppy-pile out on the wharf before finding a seafood restaurant with a table by the water from which we could watch the sun go down. We took lisa_marli's advice about the restaurant: Riva, where she likes to take her mother, and I'm glad we did. The food was good (I shellfished-out with crab cocktail and sauteed prawns with zucchini and mushrooms), the view was splendid.

Home tomorrow. Sigh. I didn't get the writing done I'd planned, but I have slept lots and thought lots and listened to the deep, green silence that surrounds trees that were 200 feet tall before Cynrenius was Governor of Syria and been lulled to sleep by waves and creeks and talked about writing with peers and students alike, which is always useful. So I'd say that the trip has been an unqualified success.

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