Life in the Trees

It’s 9:20am and I’m still in bed. Don’t be too alarmed, I’ve been awake since before 7, however I’m feeling a tad bit overwhelmed and my greater concern is that the gravity outside of this queen-sized haven is stronger than I’m prepared to deal with and might actually crush me like a bug into the carpet. I’m serious, it isn’t even 10am and I’m already being this dramatic.

Right now is a classic example of something that I should make note to reflect on later. Why am I so unhappy? Why am I so anxious? Why does my stomach feel like it’s full of rocks and how do I pull it out of my throat? I know all these answers, they’re fairly simple. My daily life is changing and, in all honestly, I’m not looking forward to navigating the next two months. I have the grace, but I’m not looking forward to actually using it. I’ve gotten great practice so far, being a total shit to my sweet boyfriend this morning for no reason that sounds convincing enough to type. (Sometimes we’re all assholes.) The uncertainty of this week is looming, I can already feel the forced social interaction at orientation and my skin is crawling in anticipation. I’ll feel better, probably once I finish this coffee and put on some pants. No, that’s a lie. Pants have never made anyone feel better.

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To soothe myself, I’m revisiting a recent trip that Devin and I took to the redwoods in Jedediah Smith State Park in northern California. Devin, having grown up in eastern Washington without California transplant parents, had never had the privilege of stepping inside Stout Grove. As part of our Labor Day Weekend getaway to Bolan Mountain Lookout, we decided to wake up at the ungodly hour of 4am, climb into my car, and drive down forest service roads until the sun broke and we reached the giants. It blew his mind. I’m so happy to have been there.

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I visited Stout Grove for the first time with my Californian mother a few years back. We left Lorane on a Friday evening and ended up camping in the back of her minivan up the Rogue River in Gold Beach. I awoke before 6am to my mother driving us out of the campground. Until you’ve driven through the redwoods listening to your my mother shout, “SAY SOMETHING BAD ABOUT MY STATE, I DARE YOU!” pre-9am, I don’t think you’ve lived.

Stout Grove is a beautiful, brief loop trail (not worth calling a hike because it’s a flat walk) The grove was named for lumberman Frank Stout, who died in 1927, afterward his wife, Clara Stout, donated the 44-acre grove to Save the Redwoods League. The grove has a cathedral like quality, though the trees may not be the tallest in all the parks, it one of the most beautiful places I have ever set foot. All the literature says to visit the grove in the late afternoon, I’ve only ever been around 8am and I can tell you that it is still gorgeous with the newly risen sun gently bursting through the upper canopy. BONUS FACT! Apparently some of the  ewok scenes from Return of the Jedi were filmed in this area of Jedediah Smith State Park.

The redwoods remind me that I am small and all that I can do is breathe and grow.

I am breathing, not so sure about the growing sometimes.

Until next time,
Dretta

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