By the light of day the mystery dissolved from Redwood National Park, or rather more accurately from Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. The mists, however remained, giving the place a positively prehistoric feel. Moss, ferns, bark, dirt, everything dripped in the fog; the forests distilled to the ur of plant existence: The Woods as they once were, before the dawn of time.
It sounds silly, but the redwoods really do soar above you, creating vertiginous vanishing points above the paths. I felt an immense humility standing in the middle of “new growth” forests from the park’s beginnings in the early 1900’s and also a great loss–it’s so difficult to have perspective on the consequences of human ambition and enterprise. Some people decided to cut down trees before the invention of lightbulbs, and we’re still trying to fix it. Why do people destroy things that take 1000 years to make? Time is different for other living things, and I often forget how short-sighted we puny little humans are.
It makes me think about what is being destroyed right now, what ecosystems and places we’ve carelessly stomped on or ground up that the next century of people will shake their heads at. And it makes me want to thank the few people who decided that this place was special enough to be saved.