Deep time amongst the Redwoods

August 27-31, Redwood Highway 101, Crescent City to Leggett

I’ve been on the tour for a week now. My ride has passed the shakedown phase. I know where I have packed every item for the trip, in which pannier, and the I’m mastering again the sequence of setting up camp, cooking dinner, breaking down and getting back on the road. These simple rituals become automatic, allowing my mind to travel in other ways. I’ve titled this tour “Retrospectives 2022”, a time for reflection, reckoning, and renewal.

Crossing the border into California always brings excitement and anticipation – I’m going to see the Redwoods again! Patches of these great trees appear alongside 101 north of Crescent City. My first camp will among a lovely grove at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. I pitch my tent under the towering canopy, and the base of these giants, hundreds of year old. I cycle the next day through national and state forests, preserved groves. I marvel at what these beings have witnessed, in their quiet, slow powerful existence. Many over 1000 years old, how can a human mind comprehend.

And yet, I must. I’m entering “Deep time” a friend once told me, as I mused about planting Sequoia Sempervirens on our property in the coastal rainforest flanking Marys Peak. I thought of how Douglas Firs would recede, unable to tolerated the increasing humidity of climate change, of how the Redwoods I had planted would grow large, and seeding the forest, eventually replacing firs and spreading over the entire coast range. I was thinking a thousand years in the future, long after I’ve returned to the clay, long after this crazy civilization has run its course.

Some judge this thinking as fatalistic. But I don’t find my musings bring me hopelessness or despair. Instead, I feel a long, slow, calming, as if I’m sharing minds with these ancient trees. Sharing deep time amongst the Redwoods.

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