Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Brand New Forest

I am blessed to live in Northern California!  Within less than an hour drive I can be gazing up at Giant Redwoods. I can hear the Pacific crash against jagged rocks, or hear it gently flow to shore over a beautiful sandy beach.  I can be in a major city (San Francisco) to enjoy an opera, world class dining, a Giants ball game, visit historical landmarks.  I can be driving across rolling golden hills on my way to a babbling stream high up in the mountains.  I am basically surrounded by a plethora of magical sights and wonders all within a moments reach. 

This past Sunday, Shawn and I took a drive through our old home town (where we lived when Nick & Justin were born) of Fairfax.  This is where Jerry Garcia used to just show up and play at The Sleeping Lady, and where the hustle of Marin county slowed way down.  I am not so sure it is the same as 25+ years ago when we lived there, but it still holds some very special memories for us.  Just on the other side of town lies the northeastern edge of Mt. Tamalpias.  A breathtakingly beautiful mountain that sits right along the Pacific and overlooks miles and miles of the North Bay area.  There are 100’s of hiking trails, a favorite area for bicyclists, several small lakes for fishing, and a very special pond that Shawn has been visiting since he first moved out to California from New Jersey when he was 18.  This pond is the home to a very special breed of newt and the folks who frequent this area will watch over the pond carefully to make sure nobody is mistreating the newts. 

We headed out on the short hike to the newt pond so Shawn could try and capture a photo or two of the little creatures, but we ended up being totally amazed by the very beginnings of a pine forest.  It seems after our recent rains that fertile pine cones dropped to the ground and with the soil being soft and moist they took root.  Everywhere we looked were these amazing wee little baby pine trees in their first few stages of growth.  It was just magical.

They were growing all along one sunny edge of the newt pond and also a small way into the pond itself. I imagine the little newts were totally loving all the new little hiding places that the wee baby pine trees brought with them.

The brand new little pine forest is very thick and dense so we had to be very careful where we walked so as not to disturb any of the baby trees.  Shawn found a clearing along the edge and laid down to get some of these amazing shots.  I’ve left the images really large so you can see the little mini spider web and the spider that his camera managed to find.  And also the amazing colors and “glow” that seems to be coming from the brand new little tree trunks as they sprout up out of the fertile ground.  

I’d also like to take this time to point out what an amazing gift Shawn has for photography.  I’ve known for a long time with the fabulous shots he’s able to take of my beadwork, but to just be able to lay down on the ground and snap photos like these blows my mind!  Be sure to click the images to enlarge them so you can see all the amazing detail he caught in these photos!

 We're hoping to take our kids there this coming Sunday for a picnic and to let them see the wee beginnings of a pine forest, too!


Andrea Adams said...

What beautiful photos of fresh new life! And how sweet that you have such a special spot (interestingly enough, one of my "sacred places" is Mt. Tam, which you also mentioned in this post ;)

I agree that Fairfax has changed quite a bit over the last few decades. Then again, I remember when Santa Rosa was farm land. Somehow, I am always shocked when I see that it's now Suburbia ... even though it's been that way for some time.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Just wanted to comment on your lovely photos (and good day!) and echo your sentiment -- you are indeed very blessed to live where you do!

Marcia DeCoster said...

Nice noticing and nice photographs. I love living in California!

Sandy said...

Gorgeous photos!

The Skeptical Spouse said...

The photographs are especially nice. Great post.

But one tiny plant-species quibble. I don't want to puncture your joy, the experience is special no matter what. But those weren't baby pines, which look pretty much like a small pine branch stuck in the ground.

They are horsetails, a common forest-dweller in California.

They sprout like mad in the spring, and look very different once they start to leaf out. Might make a good subject for beading, huh? :)

Lori Anderson said...

Oh my gosh! I've never seen baby pines before!