On this trip I’ve learned to fully appreciate the idea that brilliant surprises can be found in even the most mundane locations.
This morning, while Elias climbed the stairs of a play structure in a small Felton, California park, I heard what I believed was a banjo being played. I could not see where it was coming from so I urged Elias to follow me as I turned toward the playful and quick footed tune.
When I looked up I noticed a covered bridge tucked into the trees. Mysteriously appearing like Alice’s rabbit hole or C.S. Lewis’s wardrobe, I blinked and the bridge was there. With Elias charging the way we entered it and found a young man sitting against the wall finding solace in a steel guitar. Tucked into the wrinkles of the old bridge he quietly and calmly listened as if to a grandfather and replied with sweet melodies.
Once through the bridge we happened upon a horse rescue whose numerous stables were home to ponies, miniature horses and thoroughbreds all of whom survived life’s misfortunes and found new homes in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains. It was Willow Pond Ranch, whose tagline read, “A sanctuary where rescued horses inspire enduring transformation”. The phrase “enduring transformation” replayed itself as I tried to grasp the gravity of two single words.
We are all constantly transforming ourselves and can never be who we were yesterday. Our daily experiences change us, creating tiny bends in life’s path.
In the afternoon we took a family hike into Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Starting from Highway 9, where the low trees are covered in moss, the redwoods appeared so far from us. Alex kept pointing to the distance claiming that he wanted to see the big trees but feared that with the two babies, we would not make it that far. Having given up our search we turned down a new path to discover that we were at the entrance of a centuries old redwood grove. How had we not realized that we were standing next to some of the world’s oldest trees, I don’t know. But before us was a path that circled trees of unfathomable height and girth. The walk was as magical is its swift emergence. Clover covered ground, fallen trees blanketed with moss and towering redwoods helped to create a world belonging to Tolkien.
There are very few places in this world where individual trees have their own personalities and which are remembered once left behind. Redwoods have this awesome ability to speak with you and stay with you once you’ve said goodbye.