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Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Train Ride Through the Forest

Every year, while camping in the redwoods, we take a steam engine ride through the forest. Each ride, each year we are more enthralled than the previous year. We disembark from the train with a renewed love and respect for the majestic redwoods and for Mother Nature with providing us with such awe inspiring beauty.
This is Dixiana. She is a Shay steam engine and her main purpose is carting millions of people up Bear Mountain. The round trip takes about an hour, but it seems like a lifetime. I feel myself transported back in time, traveling through a virgin forest, seeing nature exactly how Mother Nature intended it to be seen.
This is the view from the train, only the picture does not do it justice. The many shades of green are too numerous to count. The way the sun reflects off the vegetation, a whole new world is opened up. It is a visual orgasm of colors, light and beauty. The forest has not been touched, it a virgin old growth redwood forest. The trees have the right of way, we are only visitors, invited into their home. At one point along the tracks a redwood tree is leaning precariously over the tracks. Every year she leans a bit more and soon the train will not be able to pass. When that happens, they will move the track over, they will not cut the tree down. The tree has the right of way, we must cater to her needs. Wouldn't it be grand if the whole world felt this way towards nature?
As we meandered and chugged our way up the mountain I found myself picturing my surroundings as they looked 200 years ago, before the tracks were laid, before Man set foot in this forest. When the inhabitants of the land were Native Americans, grizzly bears, and wolves. When the land was respected. When what was taken, was taken in need, not greed. I became saddened for our species, and embarrassed to look down and see my white skin. The Native Americans, the grizzly bears, the wolves are gone, extinct. They once roamed this place freely, abundantly. They did not want for food or shelter, the forest provided. Now they are gone and we are in its place. We do not need, but we want, always want. Bigger, is never enough. I am a slave to consumerism as much as my fellow American, don't get me wrong.....but for this moment in time I was transported back to a time when life was simpler, not easier, just simpler.
At the top of the mountain we were able to disembark from the train and had the pleasure of standing in a fairy circle. A Fairy Circle is a ring of redwood trees that appear to be separate trees, but in fact they all share the same root ball complex. A single tree in the center gives root, birth, to a ring of Fairy trees, children. These Fairies may or may not flourish, but no matter...a second, third, or sometimes fourth ring, generation of children, soon are born. In this particular Fairy Ring, the Grandmother is a mere stump now, but her children are alive and well, and flourishing. Look at the picture of my children in the Fairy Ring. See the white spots, or orbs? They are fairies, spirits, visiting with my children. I have numerous pictures of fairies, spirits from this trip. The forest was indeed alive!!

Dixiana is letting off a bit of steam at the end of our journey. Our journey was coming to a close and I was returned to the present. I returned with new respect for the forest, and with hope. Hope that we will all learn to love and respect what our Earth, our Mother Nature provides for us. I hope you enjoyed taking journey with me!!


Jan said...

Oh Man, you are making me so homesick for the Redwoods. Thanks for the great post.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Beautiful post, beautiful pictures. I too wish that more wildlife could be left untouched!

JanMary said...

Wonderful post, photos and train :)

ConverseMomma said...

Wow, my son would love this. He is obsessed with all things train. His daddy takes one to work each day, making trains the greatest thing ever in little Bug's eyes. Great shots!

lisa marie said...

We have not been to see the Redwoods yet. Someday we will and I will think of you then and remember the story of the fairy ring. :)

Mamarazzi said...

that looks like so much fun!!! we really need to do that, i think Jordan would looooove it and it would bring back many childhood memories for me!

Irene Latham said...

Hmmm, Dixiana... sounds suspiciously like a train from the deep south. :) We are planning a trip to CA for next summer... the only sure thing so far is Yosemite. I wonder if we could include this in our plans? Where is it exactly? Thanks! xxoo

karisma said...

Wow! Everyone is so excited about the train, and heres me all thrilled at the fairies! You are so lucky! Such a wonderful place to visit, I wish I could have come along for the ride! It looks absolutely beautiful. Especially all the trees and the fairy circle! WOW! I could just disappear in there forever!

Now speaking of fairies, that horrible dog of mine, removed one of my fairies from my garden and smashed it on the concrete! I was a little upset to say the least, it was made by a friend who is special needs who thought my fairy garden needed a fairy statue! Obviously my dog thought otherwise. Funny she never touches any of the other figurines!

Stella said...

I'm not a camper, by any means! As a matter of fact it's probably at the BOTTOM of my list of ideal vacations. That being said, this post made me want to go and camp out in the Redwoods. It made me want to get on that train and ride it into your past and experience the same journey! Gorgeous pictures! Wonderful words!

storyteller said...

Cool post … reminds me of the similar train ride on the ‘Skunk Train’ between Willits and Ft. Bragg … originally constructed to haul timber from the forest to the ocean (and another spectacular train ride in Alaska). I’ve visited the Redwoods many times but never taken a train ride through them so I’ve added this to my list for my NEXT trip to the area. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs and blessings,