Standing among trees that are taller than tall, I had the distinct feeling of being smaller than small.
Ancient redwood trees: majestic, astonishing, jaw-dropping. So tall you can't see the top, only branches and leaves against the sky. So large your arms can't wrap around them, like a toddler hugging a giant.
Reddish brown bark sometimes twisted with age and weather. Hollowed-out bases big enough to stand up in, wide enough to camp in.
Like elderly people, many redwoods have swollen, knobby joints or burls, and are surrounded by their children and grandchildren—saplings—at their feet. Their lives have spanned hundreds of years, some of them 2,000 years.
In the redwood forest, a deep breath gathers the pungent woodsy smell of decay, fungus, moss. The air feels cool and damp, even in the summer, when the mist above prevents sunlight from drying out the trees. The forest is quiet, adding to the sense of mystery.
I have visited Muir Woods in Marin County, just outside of San Francisco, and the Redwood Grove at Henry Cowell State Park in Santa Cruz. My walk among the redwoods left me awe-struck, tongue-tied, a bit humbled, and very grateful to have seen them.
When have you been tongue-tied and humbled by something of beauty?
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Photo courtesy of Caleb Jones | Unsplash.