The coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in Armstrong Woods in Guerneville are found in very few places on earth but are native to the central and northern California coast. These magnificent trees are among the world’s tallest living organisms and visitors come from all over the world to bask in their wonder. Redwood groves impart an almost sacred atmosphere and people seem to naturally speak in hushed tones as they walk the trails. Still, the murmurs of foreign languages and the universal sounds of joy and wonder are evident, and to see the expression on people’s faces as they gaze upon these trees for the first time is remarkable. Every visit to a redwood grove is a reminder of how fortunate I am to live in close proximity to such sublime natural resources.
Part of the wonder of redwoods is found underground in their elaborate root systems that reach as far as 100 feet and intertwine with the roots of other redwoods for strength. Having strong roots and relying on others for support seems to be as beneficial for the plant kingdom as it is for human beings. The strong family ties of Colonel Armstrong and his daughters and their commitment to a shared vision was the driving force behind the preservation of this old growth redwood grove.
Teddy Roosevelt once said “A grove of giant redwood or sequoia should be kept just as we keep a great and beautiful cathedral.”
Many people may have religious or spiritual feelings while in redwood groves but even those who don’t share that experience can’t deny the profound sense of peace and clarity. The things that really matter become crystal clear and you innately know what feels healthy and right in your life. Your struggles somehow seem smaller as you ponder the amount of time that these trees have occupied the earth and realize that you want to make a commitment to spending your time here wisely and with intent.
Each time I visit Armstrong Woods I rediscover the delicate balance between humans and nature and I vow to keep the sentiments I have while in Armstrong Woods alive in my everyday life.0