Riding Among the Ancients

sentinel

Wrinkled trunks, witnesses of centuries, watch us ride through their domain. Sentinels perched on rocky battlements sigh, “Safe passage,” to the line of Harleys slithering up the narrow mountain road. Our HOG overnighter group pulls into the museum parking lot in the Sequoia National Park, and rests under the shelter of giants.

It feels good to stretch out after the slow procession through hairpins and switchbacks all the way up General Sherman Highway. Taking pictures next to the sequoias makes me feel like the tiny humans we are in this immense universe. These rugged trees have seen it all for thousands of years—bears, rabbits, Native Americans, European explorers, early settlers, awestruck tourists.

For a moment, time stops. Voices muffle here. We have ventured into a cathedral with vaulted ceilings of whispering green, a monument to a mighty Creator. As we pass between the reddish-brown pillars, I tilt back my head to glimpse tiny sparkles of sunlight that filter through the branches. Peace is a heady pine fragrance.

In the museum, I learn about sequoias through a slice of trunk. Dark rings record forest fires, but the trees are nearly indestructible. After a fire, they heal themselves, taking years to cover burned bark. The sequoia’s patience is a lesson we humans should learn. Disasters pass through, but the forest is constantly renewed.

Frank and I munch our sandwiches back in the parking lot, watching the steady flow of visitors. What draws us here, to the forest’s hush? A deep breath of crisp pine-scented air, the crunch of dry needles beneath our feet?

Perhaps we long for permanence in the midst of whirlwind change and relentless entropy in our modern world. These trees care nothing about politics or fashion. We are the blindfolded children swinging wildly at the piñata, while the forest, our great-grandfather, smiles fondly at our struggle.

Soon it is time to move on, to roar through the tunnels of trees and return to the cultivated farms of our world. With regret, we leave the retreat of wood and rock. We swish our way back down the mountain, our silent vows to return accepted by ancient giants.

 

 

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About jrizzotto0808

My day job as an elementary school teacher in Southern California supports my writing and Harley riding habits. My YA fantasy novel The College of the Crones, recently won an Honorable Mention Award at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Southern California 2017 Spring Retreat. My Harley stories have been published in Cold Noon Travel Diaries, Courtship of Winds, Blacktop Passages, Fresh Ink, and The Handlebar Star. When I'm not hitting the keys on my computer, you can find me camping at the beach with my husband, Frank, or holding onto him as we roar down the road on our Harley touring motorcycle.
This entry was posted in adventure, Harley, Harley-Davidson, motorcycle, mountains, writer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Riding Among the Ancients

  1. Manu Adams says:

    Love your writing. Great job

    Like

  2. BB&Y says:

    Oh of the trees could talk…

    Like

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