Last night I came home to pink-tipped roses and a kiss. So begins our quiet celebration of our 31st year of being together. We had promised to go hiking again to celebrate the day. My hubby was a little reticent about Mount Tam. A little too windy, he read.
And so, this morning, he did let me sleep in a bit. But as the sun peeked through the curtains, he came back to our room and showed me what he had found. Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. A real mouthful of a name! But, when you get there and you hike the trails, you will understand why.
One thing about the great places to hike in Northern California, cell phone and data roaming will be spotty. I wonder if that’s deliberate. After all, if one is to venture out for a serious hike and commune with the grand dames of the forest, the phone needs to wait!
The only disadvantage was that we could not bring Beau with us. We had to get into our car and leave with him running after us on the driveway. It was heart-wrenching. But the Preserve did not allow dogs at all, not even on their fire lanes.
After getting warmed up and adapting to the ambient temperature, the sheer beauty of the surroundings, taking in the gentle splish-splash of water running along the creek, I found my muscles relaxing. I focus on my pace, the rhythm of my walk. One foot in front of the other. Right. Left. Right. Repeat. Go up. Go down. Pause to take in the vista of majestic trees reaching out to the sky. Admire a fairy ring flanked by graceful ferns. Take a photo maybe. Cross a wooden bridge and peek at the bubblers as it runs underneath. Spot a squirrel or just its ample tail whiz up a tree. Skip over a rubber snake slithering for cover under fallen leaves. Walk by giant exposed roots of old redwoods. All in all, such amazing sights to behold.
I had mentioned in another post that I consider walking a form of meditation. I know the purists and the yogis will disagree. But, as we walked around and up, my mind cleared itself of present concerns. It flies to distant places and years past. We talk, my hubby and I, as we ponder on how we arrived at this moment, in this wilderness. We remember the pathways we have chosen, the decisions. We recall the people who we have crossed paths with, who have changed our lives permanently. Hiking is an affirmation of our lives as individuals and as a couple. We skip, hop, run, hang back. We climb, strip out some layers of clothing, replenish hydration. We support each other on steep climbs or balance each other on some precipitous drops. We whisper words of encouragement when the trails get tough. And we recognize the need to rest and admire the view. All of it says, “I am glad to be alive and here with you.”
Come to think of it, there are other ways people do their own contemplation. I had often wondered why my mother all these years, would insist on washing dishes. Nevermind the dishwasher or other helpers. She liked doing it. Years later, I have become her at our sink. The repetitive act of cleaning and rinsing with water encourages much mental rumination. It is also very satisfying when everything is cleaned and put away. Another affirmation. Only daily.
I had sent a photo of our jaunt to my sister-in-law, Merle, when there was a signal. I mentioned it’s our anniversary. She commented that it was apropos!