Walking into the redwoods in Mt. Tamalpias State Park always proves to be a sensual experience: the feel of the soft-needled floor of the forest, the smell of the bay leaves, the sounds of silence interrupted by the call of the raven, the sight of everything green, and the cool of the brisk still-winter morning air.
Since I don’t take extensive notes of these forays I pay special attention to the few I have. “April was a bit late for the western trillium. Try next year mid-February,” I wrote.
Because I was returning to a familiar location, I thought I would present the western trillium differently. But I chose to compose the photographs in rather “classical” ways, although the trillium itself is in constant transition.
Having grown up in New York I was accustomed to seeing trillium in the forest that had broad petals some 3-6 inches long. Or maybe they grew larger in my imagination. But the Bay Area’s western trillium are quite small with each thin petal about one or two inches long.
Although our winter rains were practically non-existent, the trilliums are still blooming. They stand only 8 – 12 inches high so you best commune with this exquisite plant by lying on the ground. The coziness of the layers of soft Redwood needles provides the experience of truly “living in the lap of the Goddess!” (That phrase is also the title of Cynthia Eller’s well-known book on the feminist spirituality movement in America.)
As the trillium (three petals and three sepals) under the coastal redwoods begin to fade they will go from white to pink to a cranberry-ish color.
This progression prompts me to remember that aging can be seen as beautiful transformations rather than something to cover up, dread and fear. (I am trying to convince myself of this as I turn another year older in a few days.)
Looking out from the winding road heading to the top of Mt. Tamalpias you can see the rolling hills and the outline of San Francisco. What to do on a very hazy morning? I was tempted to simply return later when the light would be in my favor. But I thought of using the haze and then boosting the contrast later to get a redeemable or even stunning image (as noted above). What do you think?