Redwoods, the Holy and the Profane

During a trip the northern California and southern Oregon I took hundreds of photos in the redwood forests. Some of them are probably more beautiful or perhaps exhibit more technical proficiency than these. However I picked these to represent the extreme ends of an emotional spectrum evoked when everything is bigger than seems natural.

The one end is holiness. Visiting the forests with my wife, sister and parents we found ourselves unintentionally whispering as we wandered through the ferns and massive trees, which towered over us until disappearing into the mist above.

It felt like we had become lost in an enormous cathedral. Only, I have been in many a cathedral that didn’t make me whisper—probably because they were made by man. This cathedral was made by God.

Upward view of redwoods in mist. Northern California

 On the other end, it wasn’t only the trees that were unnaturally huge. There were also enormous slugs and millipedes.  The slugs are the type of thing I imagine would crawl in my head and eat my brain, if they were fast enough to catch me. And the millipedes, sometimes, have the annoying habit of being so numerous that it is impossible not to crunch them under your feet as you walk. Not to mention, they also secrete hydrogen cyanide. While neither of these critters actually poses a threat to hikers, (as long as you don’t eat them, or let them near your ear) they sometimes give you the impression that your fears are not wholly unjustified.

Banana slug on head of hiker symbol in trail marker. Redwood National Park