Into the Woods

My daughter came last week and within a day I suggested we go into the woods. There particularly was a road I wanted to explore, but not alone, as I was familiar enough to know there were places where it was only one lane, and I still do not know where it ultimately leads. What I did know was that there were redwoods there, and redwoods are healing. So we went. We immediately felt ourselves breathing more deeply, soaking up the negative ions and grounding. It is still winter, afterall, however, and the dampness and the hour caused me to refrain from wanting to hike up any unknown trails. Oh, yes, the knowing that there were most likely bears and mountain lions in those woods was also a deterrent. Better to inquire first.

I captured the following, intrigued.

And we made our way back over a narrow steep hill toward home.

Our full circle celebration past, the workweek began and I felt restless in my body, just unusually at odds with my familiar temple. “It’s time to focus on yourself, Kathryn. What do you need to do to bring yourself back to yourself fully? What would help you integrate what has happened and bring you back to peace and joy?” I knew it was time to go back to the woods for a second helping. This time I chose to go back to the road that carries many many family memories in its energy field. It’s the road that took me to live in the woods when Antonia left for college. It’s the road I drove over to carry my father out to Mendocino to stay at the small local hotel. It’s the road that delivered my amazing 94 year-old Grandmother to her greatgranddaughter’s wedding. It’s the road that continues to take us to sacred familiar ground that frames the many phases of our lives and will, no doubt, for many years to come. It is stomping ground. It is holy ground. Let me show you.

Doggies in tow, off we go. It’s hazy as we arrive on Hwy. 128, in the heart of Anderson Valley, known to many for its wineries. The mustard is in full blossom.

As I head toward the redwoods my head whips ’round and I can barely believe what I am seeing: this flock of sheep running amok in a vineyard! I turn the car around and go back to capture the raucous, naughty frivolity! I am still giggling over this little event. The doggies liked it, too. They barked appreciatively.

Continuing on our quest we made a pit stop at Gowan’s, which everyone does. I’m sure you have your version of this in your world at large. The small local fruit stand. (Maybe one day some of us will have our own!) Gowan’s is on over 250 acres and they have a LOT of apples!

I bought some homemade blackberry jam, which my daughter will appreciate on my scones on her next visit up, no doubt. And a nice bag of apples came along. Feeling better already! As I let the doggies stretch their legs, so to speak, I found myself thinking how kind and thoughtful and inviting it was of the Gowans to add this little picnic area in back. I loved the primary colored swings, awaiting joyful children in the sun. And the rustic bench is so inviting. Lots of behinds have sat there, I can imagine!

Continuing on our journey, the landscape suddenly and dramatically shifts as we approach the sacred redwood forest.

The energy of the forest changes markedly. I remind myself that I am on a thin pencil of pavement that runs through a very large and holy terrain. Mindfulness of this fact is intrinsic to this experience. Even if one had no words one would know something has changed. We enter the forest.

I stop the car and absorb the peace, the sanctity, the presence.

These ancient plants remind me how old the forest is, how small I am, how connected we are.


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

~ David Wagoner ~

Thanking the forest for her beauty, at last we turn the car about and round the bend, facing the river, moving quietly and swiftly toward the ever embracing ocean. I absorb this truth.

Retracing our path we come upon our happy landmark and head back to our sunny awaiting home, recharged and full of gratitude.

Love and Earthly blessings,
Kathryn xoxo
Happy Postscript: I am honored to acknowledge that Plant Whatever Brings You Joy was given a Premio Dardos Award this week from esteemed colleague Anita Bruzzese on her blog!

26 Responses to “Into the Woods”

  1. Beautiful pictures, mom! I Love those Sacred Redwoods so!
    Thanks for taking us along on your Gorgeous journey!

    Love you,

  2. Thank you, dear sweet daughterkin. Love you bunches. Mommie xoxo

  3. What an incredibly beautiful area – I think that could revive anyone! Awesome photos.

  4. Thanks, Phillip! I have to admit I was feeling a bit challenged to capture the redwoods, but I think their beauty is intact. Thank you for the visit. Kathryn xooox

  5. Holy ground is consecrated by bleeding, sweating, and transforming body and soul upon it. Holy ground is place given consciousness through unconsciousness being given place. That’s my take. Lovely pics and trip.

  6. OK, moved to tears, Benjamin. Yes, and how blessed we are that no matter what we bring forth it is received with unconditional love and transformation. Onward. Thank you. Kathryn xoxo

  7. How beautiful

  8. Hi, Deb, So glad you enjoyed the journey. Thanks for joining me! Kathryn xoxo

  9. Even if I had not read your post and only looked at the beautiful photos of those magnificent redwoods, I would have known that was a sacred area – I could feel it through the pictures. But your wordcraft, as ever, drew such evocative pictures in my mind alongside the photos that I felt humbled to be sharing your journey.
    Thank you so much for this post.

  10. Thank you for sharing your journey. The restorative power of the forest is an awesome thing. I get the same sort of peace from being with the plants in my garden.

  11. Good morning, Liz. I feel humbled by your comments. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey.
    Kathryn xoxo

  12. Hi, Karen, the restorative power of the forest is, indeed, an awesome thing, especially when the trees around you have been here for centuries. May we protect these forests and all forests. Kathryn xoxo

  13. Going back to the source always grounds us, doesn’t it? Put things into perspective, so to speak. Antonia is a beauty. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your beautiful redwoods.

  14. Good morning, dear Nancy–Yes, there is something very grounding and reassuring about being in the presence of very old trees. They literally emit an energy that we can absorb. And the quiet. Oh, the quiet! 🙂
    Thank you for noticing my daughter’s beauty. Kathryn xoxo

  15. Dear Kathryn,
    What a special journey for healing. Kathryn, your post moved me.
    Gowan’s oak tree! Yay! Talk about fun!
    What a wonderful journey to take with Antonia and with doggies in tow. Doggies feel grief from those around them, so this sounds restorative for all.
    You have affirmed the sacredness of our natural places, and as the source for healing in the journey of our life.
    Thank you for sharing this post.

  16. Hi, Philip, Yes, Gowan’s. Knew you would know this road, of course. It’s interesting that you should mention how the dogs will feel the grief, as Conner has “not been himself” lately and I did not ascribe this to his feeling the grief–though the first night he insisted on lying next to my chest, curled up and would not leave me. So he’s my barometer on how I’m doing. Thanks for that, Philip. Warmly, Kathryn xoxo

  17. Nature will help you heal faster. Miraculous in its healing powers. I dig my fingers in the dirt and my body takes in the sunshine. And I feel empowered. Breathing in the deep gulps of spring arriving.

  18. Hi, Brenda, “Breathing in the deep gulps of spring” truly does sound the clarion of the gardener on the day before spring! Kathryn xoxo

  19. Thank you, dear Kathryn, for sharing your healing journey. I’m here at the lake and hear your soul. Happy Spring, dear friend.

  20. Good morning, dear Joey! Being at the lake sounds like a wonderful thing to do! I hope it is warm and that bulbs are emerging and you truly are experiencing spring! Hugs! Kathryn xoxo

  21. Kathryn, thank you for showing us your beautiful trip. It is just stunning. I felt like I was there right with you and your daughter.

  22. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. It touched my heart.

  23. Good morning, Jennifer! Welcome! I’m so glad you loved the journey! Kathryn xoxo

  24. Welcome, Abraham! Picture me with a big smile on my face! I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself while visiting! Now I will have to ask the Gowan’s who would be neighbors, if those sheep were wayward or no! Maybe they were just A Good Idea! Thanks! Kathryn oxox

  25. It is lovely to discover you today! And your love for the redwoods & your daughter. I live in the redwoods on the Russian River. It is a bit isolating in many ways. And yet I can’t seem to consider moving away from these gorgeous beings.
    Thank you Kathryn for your lovely photos & journies thru your words.

  26. Wecome, Cyndee! So glad you found the blog and enjoyed it. Yes, it’s a tradeoff, living in more isolated areas. It’s incredibly enriching, however. Good for you for choosing to live among them. Kathryn xoxo

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