In the Cathedral

Cathedral of Redwoods

This morning we headed out to The Redwoods.  On the way we stopped at the bakery in a small town of less than 250 people.  The bread is baked in a wood fire oven. Usually on a Friday, it is packed with tourists,  bicyclists,  and bay area weekenders standing in a long line winding its way from a packed parking lot surrounded by farms. The crowded line with cash in hand anticipating the taste of blueberry meyer lemon scones, cinnamon rolls, and fire baked loaves of bread.

This morning,  we walked into the bakery, the one person behind us, another local.  A retired nanny I worked with at one of my last pet sit jobs. I hadn't seen her in years. It is a rarity these days to bump into another local in a county that hosts 7 million,  yes 7 million tourists a year.  Hawaii has 11 million visitors a year. That gives you a general idea where we are on the map.

The tourist swamped bakery was bare. Now that I think of it, I didn't see one commercial plane or private jet fly over today.  Earlier, my friend Brenda texted me to let me know the bagel shop was empty.

I ordered my favorite bread. A sourdough wheat stuffed with cheese,  shiitakes, and onions. My partner bought a smoked cheese savory scone. We headed out towards the coast never making it out to the beach.

We watched the hawks hang steady in the sky while a blustery wind chilled us to the bone. We spotted wild turkeys and deer grazing along the country roads.  It was quiet and still. We turned off the radio and listened to the silence.

We drove up into the hills through the damp misty forest winding our way to the old trees.

We walked to the cathedral.  In a large circle, I stood behind a wooden altar surrounded by the grove of redwood trees forming the natural church.  I looked amongst the trees. I found a bench and sat within the grove, in the silence,  I found my breath. The cathedral of trees formed around me, bearing witness to the call of a redwing blackbird, the sounds of a woodpecker high in the branches, and the steps of my partner coming up the trail. The silence was so palpable,  I could hear the deep humming of the ancient forest like the sounds of the ocean heard from the inside of a seashell.

We left the cathedral and walked the path through ferns avoiding the poison oak reaching for us from the boundaries of the worn trail.

Driving back home, I remembered the different worlds we live in. The human world.  The natural world.  The TV world. The world of hope.  The world of fear. So many worlds swirling and connecting and disconnecting.

The cathedral of Redwoods reminding me which world I choose to believe in and belong to.

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