Sized to Scale

Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog

Perhaps it is the weight of what comes next that is making me heavy. When you recognize the scale of what you must do, contribute, create…innately sensing the role you are about to play, how do you find the courage to be big? It becomes easy; like a built-in, default setting, to shrink down and be paralyzed with doubt, depression and insecurity.

This past summer I had the opportunity to go camping in Jedidiah Smith Redwood National Forest. Armed with a new love, an old van and all of the essential glamping accouterments, we hit the road and headed south.

This national park is the home to some of the world’s largest redwoods, and buried within the forest lies a secret circle of behemoth trees that is not written about in any of the park publications, nor outlined on any map.

Luckily for us, we happened to pick up a hitchhiker; a dad who needed a ride back to his car because he had taken his young family a bit too far on a scouting mission in search of these hidden trees, rumored about only in vague internet searches and possibly Photoshop-altered pictures.

With his recount of cloudy coordinates, and a few internet searches of our own, the next day we headed out blindly in search for the Grove of Titans; a secret circle of enormous trees discovered by Stephen Sillet and Michael Taylor only fairly recently, sixteen years ago.

You’d think that such big trees would stand out in a crowd.

With names like the Lost Monarch, the Screaming Titans, El Viejo del Norte, and Del Norte Titan; their surnames suggested grandeur and grandiosity and we had no idea whether they would live up to their reputations should we ever manage to locate them.

Finding the trees was the easy part. They’re pretty much right under your nose if you have an idea of where to start your search. Describing them, however, is going to be a challenge to my writing bank of adjectives. Let’s just say that tree-hugging one of these giants is like a flea trying to wrap his spindly arms around the leg of an elephant.

Whorls, gnarls and ravines of spongy, mahogany bark, as soft and textured as my favorite loofah, formed striations that stretched the length of 30 feet on a horizontal plane. It’s enormous, staggering girth penetrated 100…200…300 feet up into the air, barely tapering until the eye lost sight of the treetops. Like deep crevasses of veiny, weathered, wrinkled skin, this was the kind of grain and growth pattern that can only be achieved from, say, a lifespan of a millennium.

Huge, large, grand, monumental, gargantuan, colossal, mighty and tremendous are piddly synonyms for “big” that don’t even begin to describe the magnitude of these trees. Standing in the middle of the Grove of Titans, twirling in a 360 degree circle and there is nothing to be done, said, or proclaimed except to just drop your jaw in silent awe. It gives you goosebumps; the whispered secrets and ancient knowledge witnessed by these stoic sentinels.  If only those trees could talk.

The most staggering thing I learned: from humble beginnings, the size of a redwood pinecone is no bigger than that of a quarter.

So when I think about whether I am capable of taking on this next chapter, when I question my ability and get weighed down with self-doubt, I remind myself that sometimes great potential is packed into the smallest seed.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vitavye
    Dec 13, 2014 @ 07:07:53

    Reblogged this on Vitavye d'économiste.


  2. Mary Lynn
    Dec 13, 2014 @ 07:48:34

    Beautifully said Jen! Xoxoxo lots of love from mine to yours! Merry Christmas! Xo


  3. Kim
    Dec 13, 2014 @ 09:22:42

    Brilliant and inspiring!


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