I visited Muir Woods north of San Francisco for the first time in 2011.
I remember... walking under the sign at the main entrance after talking with one of the Rangers. He asked if I had visited before. When I said no, his face revealed a knowing smile, as if to say I would soon understand.
I remember... taking photos of every tree I passed for the first few hundred feet of the boardwalk. I wanted to capture it all, every ray of light between branches, every giant redwood towering over me.
I remember... stopping. With no one nearby, I stood in silent awe and realized tears were on my cheeks. I chided myself briefly for trying so hard to capture the experience that I almost missed it.
And I remember Cathedral Grove. Everything made sense here. I could only imagine that this feeling was how some felt in the great and small churches of the world. There was space and fullness in the silence. I didn't want to leave.
It's just a short time until I will visit these Woods again, plus several other coastal redwood parks and the Avenue of the Giants. I can't wait to listen and learn once again to these great teachers.