Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

A bright Saturday afternoon, a dear friend and her son. A walk in the woods to the Source: the Partington watershed springs. "Who needs a sculpture garden?" Margaret remarks as we come around the path and find this tree, its skeleton delicately suspended in the air.

My former Maid-of-Honor Margaret now lives in the big city, but relishes her trips to Big Sur. While living here she met her husband, (yes, I take responsibility for being the matchmaker) tended her garden on a neighboring ridge for a decade, and birthed her baby boy Nigel.

This is the first time we've been in this canyon since the Basin Complex Fire this summer. Mostly we notice the quiet, that and the brand-spanking new PVC pipe that goes from the springs to the manifold, the beginnings of a system that serves all the families on the ridge. Instead of an overgrown, leave-the -breadcrumbs-behind-you-as-you-go hike, we can see our way clearly through the devastated but greening landscape.

We play make-believe science fiction inspired games with Nigel, 6 (almost 7!) shown here with a specimen for the lab back at the mother ship. Crumpling Bay leaves and holding them up to our noses, taking in that powerful tangy scent, makes our hike even more invigorating.

What trip to the woods would be complete without a sighting of mysterious fungi? After consulting David Arora's fabulous guide, All That the Rain Promises and More... These look just like the photo of the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) Darn, I guess we won't be eating these.

Near the the bottom of the watershed we find the springs, with redwoods climbing all the way to the heavens. Even, or maybe especially, burned to a pitch-black, they are beautiful. We half-expect to see colorfully dressed hobbits emerge from the roomy "cat's eyes" (the burnt clean bases of the redwood trees) to offer us cups of spiced tea and biscuits.

Time marches on, as the stream feeding the Source flows quietly into the sun. The land has given us our Epiphany again: our "sudden, intuitive perception of the essential meaning of a simple experience."
But what's this? Emerging from the forest we find we've entered another continent...When I first saw these charismatic creatures I thought I'd slipped into a portal that had delivered me to the far reaches of the Andes. Next stop, Machu Picchu? (Hint: don't miss clicking on this link!)

Back on the road towards home, we promise each other we'll be eating delicious home-made (by Margaret!) chocolate brownies and enjoying French champagne bubbles (for our Twelfth Night celebration) very soon.


Lisa G. said...

I love traveling with you...

Jami said...

Hmmm, I can almost smell the wet woods.

Your writing is the gem at the end of my day and inspiration for the next. I hope you know what beauty and feeling your writing provokes. I take this feeling into my teaching in so many ways. It then meets 20 bright faces and warm hearts...I can only imagine where they take it into the world.

I feel sincere gratitude for your writing, and the artful and inspiring way you bring it all together.

Love, Jami

Soul Searcher said...

I can feel the woods and see the fungi as well as the imaginary hobbits as I read with you. Very good writing and I cannot wait for the piece on Machu Pichu...

Good Luck

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