Communing With Redwoods on the California Coast

Every summer, the writer Barbara Jane Reyes takes a road trip in pursuit of the beauty, and the poetry, of the natural world.

By Barbara Jane Reyes

Summer brings with it a certain set of rites and rituals — and everyone’s are personal and unique. For our weeklong ode to the season, T has invited writers to share their own. Here, the poet Barbara Jane Reyes describes a road trip taken every year down the California coast.

My summers for at least the past decade have found me and my husband fleeing the illegal firework spectacles and screeching sideshows in Oakland, Calif., and heading into the Santa Cruz mountains, down to the Monterey Peninsula and across the iconic Bixby Bridge into Big Sur. In coastal redwood groves I eavesdrop on children marveling at the oldest of the trees. “It’s so tall, it’s as tall as the moon,” one says to the other. I think, “That line will end up in a poem I’ll write soon.” I can’t help but hug these giant trees and come away with my hair and arms covered in spider webs; I thank them for sharing their space and whisper, “Excuse us, we’re just passing through.”

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