The Power of Tree-hugging (Seriously)

Road Trip IV, Days 1-5:  Lopez Island to Oakland, CA

You’re going to hear me say this a lot: I love road trips. But I’d also better confess right off the bat: these days road trips induce almost as much guilt as joy. Across the U.S.? All that fossil fuel! A carbon footprint the size of Missouri. And for what?

Well, for love of friends and family and America the Beautiful. OK, we do have good reasons. But until I fall into the rhythm of the trip, my mind roils a bit. With those thoughts…and, these days, others, like…

Where are the proofs of my poor novel? I paid extra to have them shipped “expedited” last week. They said they’d be here Friday, so I figured Saturday was safe. Well, I gambled and lost. The Mate and I left Lopez Sunday, proofless. Next day my buddy Steve collected them from our mailbox and sent them on…to my son’s house in California. I’ll get them this weekend. But what if I don’t? What if my proofs just keep chasing me across the country? How will The Flying Burgowski ever get launched?


When am I going to get time to practice my guitar? I’ve set myself some ambitious musical goals, but our evenings on this trip are pretty social. Can I practice in the car without bashing The Mate’s shoulder, or driving him nuts with scales?


Is Duke going to cream destroy beat Carolina tonight? Will we be able to hang onto our good moods if they do? (Answer: the game was postponed due to snow, so stay tuned!)

Anyway, you get the idea. Apparently I’m a pretty shallow person, and road trips don’t seem to deepen me any.

Cue my favorite Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson: “In the woods we return to reason and faith.”

Yessss. Trees. I need trees. Big trees. I need to walk among them, gaze up at them, and yes, hug them. So The Mate and I stopped to hike at Prairie Creek State Park, north of Eureka, one of our favorite stands of redwoods. It was POURING, but hey–what’s a better umbrella than a bunch of 200+-foot trees?

Sorry, I'm not much of a photographer...

Sorry, I’m not much of a photographer…

Have you ever had the chance walk among redwoods? Oh, I hope you have, or you will. Redwoods aren’t only grand, they’re grandly impervious. They heal themselves.

But at least you know I didn't just pull these pics off the internet!

But at least you know I didn’t just pull these pics off the internet!

And in healing themselves, they heal my thoughts back to quiet wholesomeness. Like church, without the fidgeting. I walked, I gazed, I hugged.


So, if your thoughts are dwelling in the shallows and you just want to get back to reason & faith, my advice? Go find the nearest, biggest tree, and…well, you know what to do.

...and when I get to North Carolina, I'll hug an oak! (Especially if the Tarheels lose)

…and when I get to North Carolina, I’ll hug an oak! (Especially if the Tarheels lose)

4 thoughts on “The Power of Tree-hugging (Seriously)

  1. Oh, Gretchen!

    Sometimes I think we’re the same person in different skins.

    I am a lifelong treehugger, and both my kids are too. Jim and I have been in the company of both redwoods and sequoias. As an upstate New Yorker, I was awed and blessed.

    It rained the entire time we were at Yosemite…and we didn’t let that stop us!

    I love your photos, and, one of these days, I will scan the ones from our trip, and share them. I’m so glad you shared yours images, and your stories. Hopefully, the fossil fuel angst and guitar learning will untangle, and your proofs are in your hand as you read this!

    Happy traveling! Fell free to love on a few trees for me! =)

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