Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Travel Diaries Day 4, part i: Muir Woods

(alternate post title) Spiritual Homecoming among the Redwoods

Welcome to my 2011 CA Vacation mini-series. ...Jon & I spent a week in San Francisco & Wine Country during September, and slowly but surely it is my pleasure to relive the memories & share our stories with you, one post at a time!

On Wednesday morning, Jon & I woke early(ish) to breakfast, pack the car and head off on the second leg of our journey -- to San Francisco!

... But before we got to San Francisco, we took a little side trip. When I was in CA in 2005, I got the opportunity to visit Muir Woods, and I remembered it being a very spiritually-filling experience. ... And add to that: for Jon & I, being in the woods is kind of "our thing".

While we don't camp in the woods or scale the most strenuous trails, I think our hearts just feel at home in the woods ♥

Ever since we started dating, walking in the woods has been a special, bonding time for us. ...We walked together in Blendon Woods that summer evening in 2001 when I finally confessed my feelings for him. ...And in the summer of 2008, on a trail in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Jon got down on his knee and asked me to marry him.

So... walking in the woods together is kind of sacred to us. ...And 'visit Muir woods' was on my list of *Must Do's * (...along with... you know, visit Ghiradelli Square. ... Feed your soul, feed your tummy. Priorities, people ;)

Our visit did not disappoint.

And our reverent moments together in Muir woods this September are memories I will treasure in my heart for years to come.

Peace is such a nebulous concept ... one that I feel I've been pursuing relentlessly for ages now. But there's just something about being out in the woods, soaking up the loud silence of nature that brings me *thismuch* closer to finding it. Something within me just clicks, and my very soul heaves a sigh of relief. It's as if, in those stolen moments of stillness, everything is right ... and I am so much more me than I ever allow myself to be in the vivacious blur of 'the real world'.

Even though our time was limited (we ached to stay, but were anxious about driving through city traffic in peak hours...) we took away so much:

... the warmth & fellowship of community. Standing with people from all cultures and looking up, in awe, at the majesty of the great trees....

...the heart-rending recognition of 'smallness' of "us", humbled by the vastness of the universe...

... and, somehow, a renewed sense of purpose. A grounding peace and courage to move forward. Confidence in the fact that, despite all the roadblocks, life is beautiful.

Every second as we wandered quietly, hand in hand, I fell a little bit more in love: with Jon, who knows & loves my heart better than anyone else ever could; with nature, and it's beautiful routines and anomalies; and with The God who breathed it all into existence.

It was absolutely time well spent. ...Perhaps the greatest 'side-trip' of my life. ♥

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."
-John Muir

Stay tuned for Day 4 part ii (tomorrow morning!) ... I just felt that I could do this vacation day more justice by breaking it up :) Tomorrow -- San Francisco!!