We depart sunny Miranda early on this July morning. 40 parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles and cousins squeezing into a parade of wagons, hybrids and SUVs. As we enter the Avenue, a canopy slowly begins to grow over us. The sunlight dims and our car instantly becomes neighbors with the towering trees hugging the road. Past Rockefeller Grove, the Founder’s Tree, and the beauty of the Eel River, we travel deeper along route 254 into the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. One after another, the massive posts from times before swish by as we creep towards our destination. The line of cars, carrying generations of family, pull off the highway and we spill out into the forest.
The Winifred Brown Bell Grove, along the Avenue of the Giants, is a turnoff like many others along the road. Noted by the standard California State Park brown and gold lettered sign, we park and douse ourselves with bug spray to guard off the mosquitoes bound to exist along the way. The 40 descendents of the Brown family gather for the required photo to document our journey to this magical space. Children and dogs pose with anticipation, eager to scamper along the path, destination unknown and really unimportant. It’s the journey amongst the trees that they look forward to.
As we move deeper into the grove, lush emerald green ferns replace the dirt corridor of the entrance. Their verdant carpet encroaches on the foot space, cautioning us to tread lightly-poison oak adding another element of excitement. The air cools, making me glad to have my warm sweatshirt. We pause, photographing a huge tree or a massive, upturned root hosting a bevy of fern and new growth. We caution the children again, hoping that they stay focused and on the path. Stellar Jays announce their presence, golden butterflies dart through my line of sight. The group spreads out, some going left on the longer loop, hoping to extend the sensory delight just a bit longer. I can’t see my son or daughter, but I sense that they’re moving forward along the path. Someone will be watching them.
I pause, absolutely mesmerized by the sight before me. Where did this glory come from? How could I not have known this existed? How can this image remain untouched, unchanged, for centuries? Such splendor, such lushness, such beauty, such…bigness. Freedom. Growth. Awesomeness. I am so undersized, honored to be in their presence.
I look up, and only a sliver of blue sky is visible between the towering trees. I am small, almost insignificant in this landscape. My children and husband catch up to me, and we pose amid the ferns, part of a larger family group yet perfectly isolated at this moment. Like the seedlings that once began this landscape, I realize again that my offspring have immense potential. Nothing limits them; nothing keeps them from achieving their dreams. Their growth, nurtured by their guardian hosts, stretches before us, soaring with possibility.
What I learned at Winnie’s Grove is that growth happens. Hosted and nurtured by our families, cautiously curious as we dash along the path of life, we all contribute to the development of our children. Time inches along, slowly and subtly raising them to heights we may never know. Hidden groves and untapped potential lie before them, their existence eager for exploration.
What I’m still learning is how to let go and let them wander among the giants. They will turn left or right as they choose, hopefully remembering the path leading back to their hosts, their strong family tree.
JanakiOctober 19, 2016
You’ve made me miss my former home in California, but you’ve also inspired me to get going with a family union of descendants that I’ve been planning with a cousin.Reply
Jennifer WolfeNovember 30, 2016
Janaki,that’s so exciting! Where will you have your reunion?
bali villasApril 16, 2012
Those all photos are very beautiful. I am looking forward to visiting your new blog and reading about you endeavors. Everything is perfect.Reply
Jennifer WolfeApril 17, 2012
Thank you! I appreciate your support…hope to have some exciting stories to share with you!
savoryandspiceAugust 10, 2011
great post..i totally agree with you in letting go and letting them follow their path..they always find their way home…Reply
LuanaAugust 10, 2011
Beautiful photos. My son just turned 13 this year, your post makes me think about how he is growing up and before I know it he will be out in the world making his own path. A reminder for me to treasure this time with him and at the same time, hoping that I’m equipping him well for his journey ahead.
Mahalo again for visiting my blog! Blessings to you and your family 🙂Reply
KellyAugust 10, 2011
I just received a post card in the mail yesterday from friends who visited the Redwoods. This seals it, I’ve got to go there! No doubt about it!
You’re writing flows well and is comforting, by the way!Reply
Grandma BonnieAugust 9, 2011
Beautiful post. I love the photos.New follower, Stopping by from VB.Reply
Angela MackeyAugust 9, 2011
Loved your story and the pictures of the redwoods. I cannot wait to visit them one day. Glad I found your site through VB.Reply
ErinAugust 9, 2011
I found you via voiceBoks. I love your blog. I’ve raised 6 kids and it never gets any easier to let them go out into the land of the giants. I loved reading your story!
Nan @ Playful DecorAugust 9, 2011
Hi Jennifer, what a great trip and story! I went there as a kid and hope I can take my kids someday. Thanks for sharing!Reply
Clayton ThomasAugust 9, 2011
Found you on VB and am following on Networked Blogs. Those were some awe inspiring pictures. I felt like I was there with you. Terrific!
TerriAugust 9, 2011
That tree is something else, lovely commentary and photos.Reply
I’ll be seeing you on vB.
Gifts By KatherineAugust 9, 2011
Beautifully written, love the photos too. Hugs!Reply
JacquelineAugust 9, 2011
I am officially homesick for California. What a great trip and how nice that it is with your family. Kids are truly like redwoods, the sky is the limit, but so are adults if they would stop their self limiting thoughts. Your post is very inspiring!Reply
mamawolfeAugust 9, 2011
Thank you for the comments! I’m really glad you enjoyed my attempt to share my memories of a very special place.Reply
SarahAugust 9, 2011
I’m a new follower, and glad to come across such a peaceful, soothing blog! This post made me feel more connected with nature even as I sit in my office! Look forward to more to come!Reply
Sarah @ made in usa challenge
Dayna MustoAugust 9, 2011
Hi there – I’m a new follower from the VB Monday hop. I love your writing – do you write books? If not, you should. Hope to read more. Take Care.
Good Girl Gone GreenAugust 9, 2011
I love the picture of the tree! Amazing!Reply
ErikaAugust 8, 2011
That is incredible! I’ve never been there, but I hope to someday!Reply
I’m a new follower from the blog hop. I hope you’ll stop by my blog too! Have a fantastic week!
Musings From a SAHM
Chef in TrainingAugust 8, 2011
You have a great blog! I have really enjoyed my visit here! I am visiting from vB! I am your newest follower and would love for you to check out my blog and follow me too! Thanks!Reply
Ellie-A Little of This and a Little of ThatAugust 7, 2011
Hiya I’m Ellie from A Little of This and a Little of That blog and I found you through the Wild Weekend Blog Hop. I’m now your newest follower. You have a really nice blog. If you get a minute please stop by my blog and follow back. Have a great week!Reply
mamawolfeAugust 7, 2011
Thanks for the comments, Kirsty and Monica. Redwoods are really an amazing miracle of Mother Nature…Reply
MonicaAugust 7, 2011
I’ve never seen a Redwood tree, they look spectacular!! I’m a new GFC follower from the Weekend Wind Down! Hope you can drop by my blog and have a look around.Reply
KirstyAugust 7, 2011
Love the tree photo it really makes you feel small doesn’t it!? Absolutely stunning!Reply
Thank you so much for linking up!
mamawolfeAugust 6, 2011
Thanks for the comment, Michael Ann. I appreciate your kind words!Reply
Michael AnnAugust 6, 2011
Lovely. I felt like I was right there with you. I wonder how people who have never seen the Redwoods, imagine such splendor? You describe it so beautifully for them and for all of us. I like how you see the world and your life through nature. Sounds like a wonderful event as well!Reply