Sunday, June 29, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk is about 40 minutes from the forest and we usually go there for a day when we are camping. This year I think we picked the hottest day of the year to visit the Boardwalk. It was 100 degrees on the beach....it is never that hot there!!! Heat, not withstanding...we had a great time. We played in the ocean for a bit to cool off. This was nice and relaxing until we had to cross the hot sand to reach the boardwalk. I think the sand was about 200 degrees and on little bare feet...not so nice. By the time the mistake was realized, Michael was too far ahead of us and we couldn't help him. All we could do was watch in horror as our little boy ran as fast as he could across the sand screaming at the top of his lungs. I tried my best to catch him, to no avail. By the time I reached him he had reached the boardwalk and was standing there screaming in agony. Fortunately, there are feet washing stations and the cool water worked wonders for him. He did not have any blisters, thankfully, and was able to put his shoes and socks back on. I have never felt so powerless, as a mom, not being able to help my child in his time of need. It was a horrible feeling and I hope to never experience that again. Cassie fared much better. I helped her put her shoes on midway across the desert, so she was fine. After the cool water rinse and an ice cream cone, we were good to go!!
The kids rode lots of rides....some were scary for them.
Some were fun...
The last ride they did was the log ride and the good soaking they received was very refreshing in the 100 degree heat. We were very happy to get back to camp. It was much cooler in the forest...only 90 degrees!! It may seem like a small difference, but the 10 degrees and all the trees made a huge difference!!!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Two years ago our favorite aunt passed away the week before our camping trip to the redwoods. She was 92 years old and an incredible lady. Feisty is a great word to describe her. She was also incredibly generous and kind. Our daughter is named after her, we were very close. We decided to hold a special memorial type service for her during our trip. While hiking we found a Fairy Ring (see previous post if you don't know what this is) and fashioned a cross out of twigs and spanish moss. We placed the cross at the base of the largest tree and had an impromptu memorial service for our special Aunt Evelyn. We decided to visit Aunt Evelyn's Fairy Ring this year.
This is my favorite hike and we now call it the Auntie Evelyn Hike. We hike along this creek and at one point we have to cross it.
The foot bridge is now tied down, but there were years when it was missing and we had to carefully, very carefully cross the creek. The rocks can be very slippery and mossy. This year it was almost too easy with the foot bridge, but as I get older, easier is always better!!
As we are hiking I am keeping a lookout for Auntie Evelyn's Fairy Ring. I knew approximately where it was located, and I knew I would immediately recognize it when I saw it. As usual, when I am hiking in the forest, my mind wanders at times and I was afraid that we might have missed it during one of these periods. Just when I was thinking that that indeed had happened Dave suggested we take a water break. It sounded like a great idea, it was a very hot day. We stopped and I took a look at our surroundings. We were standing right in front of the Fairy Ring. (insert Twilight Zone music here) There was definitely fairies at work because I am sure we would have walked right past it!!!
Cassie fashioned a cross and we placed it in the exact same spot as before. We had a little memorial service for our Aunt Evelyn. We remembered her with smiles on our faces. I also said a little prayer for my friend who passed away in April. The spot is a very spiritual place for me. The whole forest is spiritual for me, but fairy rings in particular are spiritual places for me.
There is something mystical and magical about these fairy rings. I always have spirits, or orbs, in the pictures I take while in the rings. I feel a sense of peace and solitude. All my worries and cares are washed away and the power of the forest soothes my soul. No other place does that for me quite like the forest.
After leaving Auntie Evelyn's Fairy Ring our steps were lighter and our spirits were peaceful. The day was incredibly hot but suddenly a nice cool breeze began. The breeze caressed our bodies and dried our sweat. We felt like Auntie Evelyn and Uncle Dave (her husband) were giving us a hug and sending us their love. We thanked them and continued on our way. We now had a carefree jaunt in our step. The breeze stopped but the lightness in our hearts continued.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
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, better...it 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!!
Friday, June 20, 2008
We just spent a glorious 5 days in the above forest!!! Pure heaven....a rejuvenating week for our minds, bodies and spirits.
We celebrated my birthday the first day and I can't think of a better place to celebrate!!
We hugged trees (this is for you Karisma!!), communed with nature, and made the acquaintance of numerous fairies.
We hiked every day and enjoyed every inch of the forest. We also visited other local areas, those will be future posts.
Posted by Alison at 5:09 PM
Saturday, June 14, 2008
As I sit here feeling the need to write my mind wanders.....what do I need to write about? I can't find an answer so I start typing and hope the words will come.
Today I celebrated my birthday and Father's Day with my parents. We had a lovely dinner, but it was quiet. I come from a family of 5 children, with me being the only girl. Dinners at my parents' house is usually far from quiet....today it was quiet. There has been a divide in the family. What started out as a stupid and meaningless misunderstanding has turned into a large and gaping hole. A hole that will not be easily filled. Years of misunderstandings, hurtful words, and circumstances that have gotten out of control have made this hole deep and filled with hurt and anger. My parents are suffering. I hurt for them, but I cannot fill the hole by myself. I can pick up my shovel and start digging, but it is too overwhelming for me....I put my shovel down. Today was a quiet day...it was a good day, just quiet. The thought went through my mind, "this is what it feels like to be an only child". I felt sad. These feelings are brought on by only one brother and his wife....how can 2 people hurt so many, divide an entire family. It baffles my mind. I feel lucky to have 3 other brothers and a wonderful sister in law, whom I call Sister. I need to concentrate on the positives and spend less time dwelling on the negatives.
My birthday is Monday...I will turn 42. When my mom was 42 she was old....funny...I am not that old! What have I accomplished in my 42 years on this earth? My first response is nothing...but that is not true. I am a mom, a wife....I have many accomplishments. Each day is an accomplishment...sometimes just getting through the day is an accomplishment. My daughter is 13 and is on cusp of her teen age years...years of tremendous growth. I am very proud of her, she is a wonderful young lady. We have parented her well, of course we have made mistakes, we are not perfect. Our son is 8 and is a very sweet natured little boy. I am very proud of him. They are products of their environment. We have created a loving and nurturing home for them and it shows in their soul, their essence. They have peace in their life, we have given them a gift....what an accomplishment as a parent.
I have been married to Dave for 20 years. That in and of itself is an accomplishment. I love him more today than I did 25 years ago, when we first met. Our marriage has seen its ups and downs, but it is stronger now than it ever has been, and grows stronger every day. I was asked the following question recently - "do you still like him?" I could honestly answer that question - "yes, more than ever". In today's narcissistic society marriages have adapted an "easy come, easy go" reputation. Compromising, letting go, altruism, forgiving and forgetting, sharing, and loving another person are all traits of a strong marriage...and are all wonderful accomplishments.
So, yes, I have many accomplishments in my 42 years. Important ones, ones that matter. I can appreciate nature's beauty, take great pleasure in watching bees at work, a sunset, the birds' music. I can enjoy a child's laugh, watch a child grow in love and flourish. I can appreciate my mother's cooking, my father's advice and love. I can look at my husband and not imagine life without him. I can look at my children and see the future and know they will make a difference. I may not live in a huge house, or have a huge bank account. My car is 7 years old, but it runs. My house needs a lot of work, but it is a home filled with love.....and that is my greatest accomplishment and what I am most proud of.
As I look back on today I need to remember my accomplishments. I see my family divide as a failure on my part. This is not true. I am only one person. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, I am human. I have made my amends for my mistakes, I have filled in my part of the hole...I cannot fill it alone. I put down my shovel and now I need to remember my accomplishments. The hole will have to be filled by others, it is now out of my control.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
We went to a local dog show last Saturday. Our handsome boy Baron's sisters were showing. This was their first reunion since we brought Baron home a year ago...the puppies just turned 1 last month. We were all so surprised by how different Baron is from his sisters. When we brought him home they all looked identical. Now look at them.
Not only is Baron a different color now, his legs are longer, he is leaner, and his head is completely different.
Not that we care at all...after all Baron is now a eunuch, and proud of it, so he will never be found in the show ring! My consensus is that Baron's daddy was the mailman's dog, or milkman's dog...something like that!! And, to be perfectly honest with you....I think Baron is much more handsome than his sisters....look at that face....he is just happy to be!! And the girls...well you know...they don't call them bitches for nothing!!!
BTW...they are not labradoodles, or chocolate labs, or poodle lab mixes (can you imagine??)...they are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Crystal from Memoirs of a Mommy gave me this adorable award! Thank you so much Crystal, that was very sweet of you. If you have not had the pleasure of meeting Crystal yet, what are you waiting for??? She is an incredibly strong woman and wonderful Mommy.....go visit her and read about her miracle little boy Noah...you won't regret it!!!
Now to pass it on and Share the Love.
I am going to be very lazy tonight and not link to their blogs (so sorry, but I am very tired!!)...you know who you are.... ....I came back today and added the links!!
Have a wonderful day....I enjoy visiting your blogs and love it when you visit mine!!!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Our most excellent hostess with the mostess this week is the lovely Karisma. Her assignment is to show something that we made, and we can't show our children. Although in my case I did not actually "make" my children, but I am "making" them into the people they are becoming....but I digress....I will show you something I created. I have never thought of myself as an artist until the gardening bug bit me a number of years ago. I love to garden and I love lots of color in my garden. The following pictures are of my front garden. My back garden in under construction right now and is not quite finished yet.
So here is my creation.....my little oasis where I get dirty and clear my mind and commune with nature....Enjoy...