Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One Last Time: A Trip to Muir Woods

Our last trips wouldn't have been complete without a last trip to Muir Woods, just about our favorite place here in the bay area. These woods have a special meaning to both Max and me. We visited them on our first trip to San Francisco so many years ago and after the woods we went to Muir Beach and watched the waves crash against the rocky shoreline. So we did it again just like the first trip. But we've seen so many more of the redwoods since we've been here that these now are recognized not only as different, but also special to us. Maybe it's because they were our first redwoods or maybe because we have been here so many times, to visit ourselves or to bring our guests here so that we could share the woods with them.

It's not that the trees are so big, because we've seen much bigger coastal redwoods in Humbolt National Forest and we've seen the giants of Sequoia National Park. It's more the nature of these trees and how they grow. These are ancient trees that share ancestry since they mostly propagate from shoots that come from around the living tree. Thus, when one of the ancient trees finally does die, the progeny form it are exact genetic duplicates since they came from the same tissue. This is an example of cloning where maintenance of the exact genome has kept these trees identical to those that were here during the ages of dinosaurs.

The picture above is a ring of tress that survived the "mother" tree that once grew in the center of this ring of trees, but died hundreds of years ago and left only the indentation of where it stood. You can see the sprouts of trees coming up around the trunk of the tree behind me in the picture below.

It's in this way that these trees remind us of family. Families usually have a center that holds them together much the same way that these trees are a family surrounding what used to be their center.

But we also love the beauty of this place. It is peaceful and quiet and green with life.

As we leave California, Max decided that she wanted to bring some of the redwoods with her. These coastals wouldn't survive in Cincinnati's cold winter, but the Giant Sequoia will, so Max bought two seedings of the Giant Sequoia that are "guaranteed to grow". We'll plant them next spring and see how they do.

From Muir Woods we set off for Muir Beach and while walking along the hillside toward the beach we came upon what looks like a Great Blue Heron. It stood in front of me for a few minutes about 15 feet away before flying back towards Max. It stared at her while she took it's picture. It then decided that she wasn't a threat and walked right between us and up the hill. It stopped and posed for us almost as though it knew we were admiring it.

We finally settled on the beach and watched the waves crash into the boulders.

Finally on the walk out the sun was beginning to set and the sky brightened for a final view.

Well it's almost time to leave this beautiful place- this place that has been our home for a little over a year. The movers have most everything in boxes as I write this final paragraph- and we'll sleep at a nearby inn tonight- and then drive away tomorrow. When we were in the Muir Woods just two days ago, Don said- "I'd like to take a picture of the sounds of this forest". Well here it is- the sounds of Muir Woods.


Beyond The Strip said...

Nice blog Mom and Don, I know you two are going to miss SF.

Lucas said...

For some reason, I'm sitting at my desk crying big, fat tears over your post. I too have so enjoyed your time in SF and especially our time together in Muir Woods and Muir Beach. It will remain one of my most treasured weekend in a life full of great weekends. It's probably in my top 2! :) I have also really enjoyed growing closer to you both. I know the move won't effect what has become a really meaningful relationship to me but I suspect it was the blog and the visit that perhaps fostered the relationship a bit. Thank you both for being there for me, for being such amazing members of my family, for hosting me and a slew of others in your dream and for housing The Captain a time or two as well. I love you so much and look forward to your dream continued in Ohio! :) Big Hugs!

Maxanna said...

Thank you so much for your note. They are loading the truck today- and then we'll be gone. Though we'll be back to visit I'm sure- it won't be the same. But since our very favorite times here were with family and friends come to visit- and we'll be closer now to most- you might say we're taking the best part with us.

Liz Lucas said...

I had a great time in San Fransisco when we came and visited. However, I am so excited to have you back home!