Leaving the coast, Highway 1 headed east with a sharp kick to the stomach putting the ocean and fog behind us while entering a place in which summer had yet to come. This road makes this dramatic turn due to the Kings Mountain Range that hug the coast so perfectly no road ever was made to follow alongside it, leaving this stretch of California beaches known as “The lost coast”. These mountains not only keep the coast isolated but also keep the beautiful redwood trees to their east sheltered from the intense fog giving them time to soak up the sun to become the tall behemoth’s that they are. It is in the midst of these beauties that we called home for the last two days in Hidden Springs Campground, with our tent also hidden among trees. We had to walk a steep path to get to our tent, with no neighbor visible to either side. This state park followed alongside highway 101 on a smaller road known as The Avenue of The Giants from Phillipsville up past Pepperwood, with various ancient groves to either side. The history of these trees is legendary, and the fact that they are still standing left us all in awe each time we walked among them. Along this route, towns seemed left behind also, boasting of a special redwood on their property. The Eternal Tree House, the Drive Through Tree, just to name a few. As we explored this area, it seemed to stop time for us as we pondered the 1500 years some of these trees have stood. It makes one feel a bit small when you wonder what your place in this world should be. On a lighter side though, we began our 5th week on the road refreshed and giddy. While being here, I found myself not thinking much about anything. A calmness settled in while listening to the wind rustle high above us, and as total darkness encompassed us at night while no moon appeared to pull us back to real time.
During these walks Henna would describe in full detail her plans for her future. She has decided to become a traveling writer, being gone for years at a time, writing about her adventures on paper only to come home to transcribe them. One such trip entails a boat to China, replete with many pencils and paper, water, and all other necessities she might need. Her fear was only that she would forget this dream, because being a kid she assumed she would abandon or forget it and never complete it; therefore, every now and again she would remind us very enthusiastically that she remembered her boat trip. Her excitement for all the possibilities in life, the adventures, the stories she wants to tell was infectious. I want her to remember. I want her to always look for the possibilities. During another walk among The Giants, Henna declared that she wanted to walk barefoot. She has been expressing this desire stating that she loves to feel things beneath her feet as she walks. Stones, sticks, dirt, you name it. So I let her. Shet walked along a soft path laden with dirt and dry red wood pines. She never relented, and stated how much she loved this connection with the ground. She continued to ask if she could go barefoot the whole rest of the day. Our discussion took us into the depths of civilized behavior and how people do things, to which she gloriously declared, “when I get older I’m going to walk barefoot everywhere”. Again I loved this moment in which I could let her have her way, the possibilities of walking barefoot entrancing her. I did not want to be the harbinger of bad news on how some day she would actually enjoy shoes and that she may or then again maybe not come to this realization.
Our neighbors on our last night here were a young couple travelling north to visit friends in San Francisco. Cameron, who took off a year after high school, had travelled extensively through South America. His sweet companion, Griffin had also traveled to faraway places such as Thailand, Australia and Toronto. It’s in these stories that I find the possibilities too. “There are as many ways to live in this world as there are people in it, and each on deserves a closer look” taken eloquently from Harriet the Spy. By stopping time for a moment, I get so excited for the possibilities in life.
We are heading east today, and our slow decent home will begin. As we leave this place, I know that the calmness here will be found again but may take some real stopping to catch it. While thinking about home, I get excited for the familiar there, the people we love there. But I know that I am going to make sure that Henna remembers her dream and is aware of the calmness and always of the possibilities.