When I reached age 12, my father drove our family through the "Avenue of the Giants" in northern California along the Pacific coast. We jumped out of the station wagon to look straight up to the sky following the 2,500 year old trunks of the gigantic redwoods also known as Sequoias.
Those magnificent "Monarchs of the mist" stunned our family in that we drove through one of them, walked around in a house carved out inside one of them and camped next to one. I cannot begin to tell you the magic of the campfire and my dad telling stories while mom cooked up Dinty Moore beef stew. To dip our slices of bread into the broth and cook marshmallows for dessert must rank up there with, "It doesn't get any better than this."
Years later, I bicycled down the West Coast from Canada to Mexico. I stopped to visit a few of the remaining groves of Redwoods. Talk about a spiritual experience! Those giant trees began their lives before Jesus Christ walked upon the Earth.
Those trees live, breathe and flourish through thousands of years of fires, droughts and disease.
However, when loggers got hold of them in the latter part of the 1800s, they cut down over 98 percent of those noble trees. They cut them for lumber, railing, railroad ties and houses.
One ranger said, "The General Sherman redwood could provide wood enough to build 75 homes and its branches could make picket fences around each house. Additionally, it takes 28 people touching fingers to fingers to complete a ring around a single large redwood. Now that gives you an idea of how large they are at the base of the tree."
On my bicycle journey, I exited the highway and pushed my bike "Condor" into the deepest part of the redwoods. I found one burned out by a fire centuries ago. I pitched my tent inside the tree. I cooked my dinner and dipped my bagels into the hot soup I heated that night.
I want to thank my dad and mom for giving me that incredible spiritual appreciation for a hot pot of stew and a slice of bread while sitting under the giants of the universe. I swear that God dwells among those giants and they dwell within God.