November 21, 2006 ~ Sacred Space
"I want to see evergreen trees. Big evergreen trees," I said, looking out at the forests flanking Highway 101. I was at the Oregon coast with my mother. It was August 9th, 2005, and I was five months pregnant with Grove.
A few miles later my mother pulled off at a trailhead. I soaked up all of the smells and sounds that I missed. The whisper of needles rather than the rustle of leaves. The earthy smell of moss and the fresh smell of fir and pine. I walked among giants again. It had been far too long.
We hiked the steady incline, our feet brushing against fallen needles. Sun streamed through the forest in beams, highlighting patches of forest floor, fern, moss. Down the sharp drop-off to our left, we caught glimpses of a waterfall hidden in the gully.
As I passed into another section of trail, a warmth tingled down my back. My breath caught in my throat and my footsteps involuntarily slowed. Tangible energy brushed my skin, and I felt happy tears prickling in the corners of my eyes. What on earth...?
My mother and I walked silently through, and a little ways down the trail, my mother asked quietly, "Did you feel that?"
"Yes," I whispered.
"That was a very special place..."
I had never felt the sacred so tangibly as I did that day, before or since.
I was not surprised, weeks later, when I pulled the pictures off the camera and found that the shot that I had taken just before entering that space, the one above, was so breathtaking. That place, I was sure, could be nothing but beautiful.
We continued on, up over the ridge, then followed the cliff beside the sea, eventually descending to the beach. I have always loved how the Costal Mountain Range in Oregon falls off right into the sea, with dramatic cliffs and fascinating rock formations.
We did not linger long, on the beach, with the light fading, the sun sinking to the Pacific Ocean. We hiked back through the forest to our car, and when we passed the sacred place again, I wanted badly to stay. I did not. We passed silently by. I said a prayer of thanks. And leaving left a longing in my heart.
A few pictures from the rest of the hike:
My mother and me. A sense of scale.