I rinsed the lunch dishes, put them in the dishwasher, made sure Wendy was okay, checked the time, jumped into the car, drove to a nearby wild area, Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve, pulled into the last spot in the parking lot, checked the time to calculate how long I could stay, and got out of the car.
Not the same as living in a tent.
As I walked on the trail along the creek, I kept shooting pictures of redwoods, looking for that elusive, iconic image that would capture the essence of the day’s message. I couldn’t find it.
The forest was laughing at me. “You’re acting like a tourist!”
“So what am I supposed to do?” I said.
“How about just sitting?”
“Where you are!”
So I sat. And nothing happened. Until I started noticing things. Wind rustling the tips of branches, the bubbly sound of the stream, the conversations of birds. Carpets of clover, ferns, fallen branches spread out across the forest. And in the late afternoon sunbeams slanting through the tops of the redwoods, energetic circling swarms of tiny insects.
And before I knew what had happened, the whole forest was alive with magic. Wow! When did they sneak this one past me?
Essence of the day’s message: a physical road trip requires one set of practices. A road trip of the imagination requires quite another.