Nature

View from my hike: Muir Woods

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This post is written with the following caveat: pictures could not possibly do this place justice.

You hear about the redwoods and look at pictures, but it is nothing compared to being there, standing among them.

And feeling so very, very tiny.

We woke up early on a Saturday, drove over┬áthe roller coaster-esque hills that make up the city of San Francisco, and continued across the surprisingly visible Golden Gate Bridge. National Parks were celebrating 100 years (woo-hoo!), so the park was free and of course, we weren’t the only ones who got the memo. After parking a million miles away, we made our way into Muir Woods.

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The path is a boardwalk and feels more like you’re walking through an outdoor museum, with signs commanding you to stay in between the fenced off areas. And just like a museum, I felt like everything on the other side, the things I was told not to touch, were priceless and historic and beautiful.

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We stayed on the path then strayed off into Mt. Tamalpais Park to feel some dirt beneath our feet. And then we went back to stand under the canopy of redwoods. Even with people everywhere, there was something incredible when you looked up and suddenly felt very, very tiny.

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Finding my green thumb

gardenI convinced myself that I didn’t have enough hobbies and decided I needed a garden. Ha. I know nothing about growing anything, and this couldn’t be more clear as I was standing in the garden section at Home Depot, basically having a panic attack. I almost yelled “ABORT!” until my much more level-headed husband calmly spoke to an employee and eased my nerves enough for us to go home with some cute flowers and a sensible window box.

Just in case I’m not the only one who decides to dive into gardening without a clue, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Window boxes don’t come with hooks. At least, most of them don’t. I wandered aimlessly through the store looking for one that would fit snugly on my railing with no luck. Instead, we opted for a box that’s currently just resting on our balcony railing. Good idea? I guess we’ll wait and see.
  2. You know those little containers that flowers come in? You don’t need a whole bunch of those to fill a window box. I grabbed a few, thinking I’d have a full blooming box, but apparently flowers need room to go — just one container with 6 marigolds was enough to fill it.
  3. According to Home Depot and my expert-gardener mother, marigolds are easy to grow and maintain. I’ll be the judge of that.
  4. Flowers have different schedules. I had planned to have a box of marigolds and dahlias, but when the marigolds die, the dahlias will live on, so growing them next to each other isn’t ideal.
  5. Basic flower window box starter kit: window box + window box liner + soil + plant food + flowers.
  6. You need to cut the container that the flowers come in and very carefully separate each one, making sure not to tear the roots. They are each then planted separately.
  7. Per the friendly Home Depot lady, we mixed the soil and plant food in a separate bag then filled the window box liner about 1/3 of the way. Then we added the flowers in a staggered pattern and filled the rest with soil mixture.
  8. You’re supposed to water the plants more frequently in the beginning. I’m starting with once a day and crossing my fingers.
  9. Even though I don’t have a full-grown garden yet, I’m making it work on my little balcony. I like the feeling of growing something and I love waking up to flowers outside my window. Knowing me, I’m sure I’ll have a jungle in no time.

I’ll be posting updates on my tiny garden. More to come!

Happy Earth Day

Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

I remember the day I fell in love with the Earth.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t that long ago. Even after years of childhood summers spent climbing trees, skipping rocks, and picking dandelions, I don’t think I fully appreciated nature until my early 20’s, when on a sibling trip to visit my sister in Seattle, we went hiking. The moment I stepped on that trail, I was changed forever.

I don’t remember exactly where we were, but I remember how I felt and that was everything. I was energized and alive. I felt every breath and every breath felt more real than it ever had before. And while my heart was racing, my mind was calm. That’s what struck me the most. Calmness is a rarity for my overthinking, over-anxious mind.

I’m always on the lookout for things that stop me in my tracks — things that calm my mind and soothe my soul. Nothing does this more for me than the beauty of this planet. I am happiest when I am outside, taking it all in. Please keep her beautiful forever.