I don't have any words these days, mostly just pictures. Above is Satan's latest gardening achievement: an orchid. We bought the plant in the discount bin, marked down from it's original crazy $35 to only $5. It looked dead for all the world. A few months in Satan's care, though, and it has roared back to life. I'm impressed. Although...it does look a little indecent in the middle? Sort of O'Keefe-ish is all I'm saying?
In case you couldn't tell by the photos, California took my breath away--what a beautiful place. And I only saw a very small part of it. We covered an insane amount of ground in just three short days. Getting to the amazing places we went to comsumed a huge amount of time. We left the hotel at dawn most days and didn't get back until well after dark. Also, seeing the Sequoias and Yosemite meant driving up and down mountains, where going 30 miles can take better than an hour and a fair amount of nerve.
Satan and I make quite a pair in these situations as I'm prone to car sickness (from the curvy mountain switchbacks) and Satan is afraid of heights. This means I have to drive in order to avoid barfing on the rental car while Satan is forced to just sit there, experience the precipices, and try not to let his terror get the best of him. He's mostly pretty good at it except for the parts where where we get so high up that we're looking down at the clouds.
Once, when we were in Colorado in this situation, I was driving on the rim of a particularly insanely high canyon with no guard rail when Satan looked down and saw two giant aircraft carriers flying below us. He's never quite gotten over that one.
Come to think of it, it still freaks me out a little bit too.
I can't even begin to describe the feeling of being near the sequoias. Such massive, silent living giants, they were already growing up there in the Sierra Nevadas when Jesus walked the earth. The General Sherman, largest of the trees, is taller than the Statue of Liberty, for God's sake. The snow on the ground, so deep that it completely covered the park benches, only added to the unreal, magical quality of the place.
Don't tell anybody, but we may or may not have pocketed a few pines cones and be sprouting a little Shermette of our own.
And then there was Yosemite. Yosemite!
I'd always heard about it, and I'd seen Ansel Adams' prints, but I still wasn't prepared for seeing the place with my own eyes. It's a photographer's dream with a gorgeous shot in every direction almost all the time. I snapped over three hundred shots, eventually just giving up and never turning off the camera. I finally had to force myself to stop looking through the viewfinder as I darn near walked into a few trees.
Though dead now, of course, Ansel has a photography shop named for him in Yosemite Village where they still sell photographs printed off his original large format negatives. This was especially significant to Satan as, on his last trip through Yosemite (in the early 70's), he actually MET Ansel and shook the great man's hand. Satan treated us to a print which should arrive some time next week.
As for the Pacific? Well, I have to admit, it's cooler than the Atlantic.
So, all in all, a great trip. I think I'm still recovering from all the traveling at such a hectic pace, though. I'm off to bed to dream of El Capitan...
(edited to add: No idea why this darn thing won't let me doublespace between paragraphs...argh!)