20 February 2012

Walking into the woods, Santa Cruz.


A lot of places we walk have long and complicated pasts. I can't always tell you where we walk, because most of the time we're not exactly supposed to totally be there. Santa Cruz has amazing places, full of ghosts, but if I told you where they were I might have to kill you.


We live where long, tall meadows touch the sea on on their bottom and the mountains on their top. Steep redwood forests climb up out of creeks and rivers, and even though the trees are big, most of them are second growth from the logging over 150 years ago, when lumberjacks with heavy saws and oxen and chains climbed through the forests and took the trees.


We don't see many people where we walk, some days no one at all. Maybe a biker here and there. A couple guys wearing rain gear with a walking stick covered with beads might be near the path that would take you to the spooky, dark cave. Just sitting there all quiet, eyes all big and black, at the really big stump near the creek, not saying a word and staring across the ravine.


I know some trees, a few of them, that are maybe a thousand years old and reach as high as the sky. Not sure why they were spared, when the others were cut and drug out and floated down the river. There are places where rock walls are carved out, either from the quarry or to move the trees to long gone sawmills. Ferns grow there now, out of the walls, and it's so dark and quiet you can hear the water even when it's still.


I can't take every picture I want deep in the forest, because the trees make it dark and I don't know how to explain to my camera what I want. The dogs all know how to sit on stumps very still, like it's still the time of the lumberjacks and I have a big glass plate camera and they have to sit there for a long, long time to wait for the camera box. The longer they sit still, the more I can remember what it looked like, even when the picture doesn't work.


We climb back up steep banks to get out when it's time. Some days we'd like to stay down there all day long. Walk across the mountain from one forest to the other. Some days we stay down there by the river too long and then we have to run back up the paths to find a little bit of daylight because we're all scared when it gets dark. The coyotes and the ghosts come out then, the forest is theirs again until we come back.

2 comments:

Jodi, eh? said...

You and Team Small Dog must collect a lot of fuel for your souls on those walks of yours. Those are rich lives you live.

Elf said...

So are we done with vignetting now? Or is this part of an ongoing series where the photos get darker and darker until they disappear completely?