Monday, July 1, 2013

From The Redwood Forest

Sunshine in the coastal redwoods smells like honey.

Some mornings, I'll head out for a walk and I'll be breathing in the normal forest smells, a combination of gently decomposing wood and earth, when suddenly, like finding a cold spot in a room, the smell of sweet, warm, vanilla-sugared syrupy honey hits my nose and I'm practically salivating. I wish I could take a bite out of the mountain, it's just so delicious. Instead, I walk slower and further than I intended. Taking my time, I soak in the scent, the warmth, the woods and the earth. Under the canopy, the breeze can have a chill, but basking in a sunny spot for a few minutes will warm my skin. The cicadas click, unseen in the trees. I can hear birds around me: the squawks of bright blue crested jays and the watery warble of tiny, brown juncos. Occasionally a conspiracy of ravens will pay a visit and fill the trees with their harsh, chattering screams. The squirrels chirp and bark at each other, dart from the ground to the high limbs lightning-fast, and the delicate snap of branches just out of sight betrays the presence of a deer. I've got my mace, if it's anything else.

Summer is pleasant on our side of the hill; we have some hot days, but we're partially sheltered by the trees surrounding the house, and since we're on the side of a mountain, the sun disappears completely behind our hill by 5 pm. The bees are harmlessly curious, lazily zooming around us like we're huge, confounding flowers. The air is still and thick and damp, and I have always hated humidity, but a hot, wet day in the forest is a totally different experience than the same in the asphalt landscapes I grew up in. Mornings stay cool until late, with the trees protecting us from the early sun, but once that summer heat hits, the hillside is baking, and even after the sun has dipped beyond our mountain, its heat seems to radiate from the very air, the trees, and the forest floor. The buzzing of crickets and the whine of mosquitoes are constant for a few more miserably hot days of the year, but mostly, we live in paradise, with the sweet, honey smell.


Migrainista said...

Sounds just lovely.