The Pace of Nature

As I may have mentioned, Mr. Ostrich and I recently went on vacation to San Francisco.  Why? Because.

It all started because I wanted to see redwood trees. I originally had this huge plan to go to Yosemite, camp, hike, etc. There was a snag in this plan- Mr. Ostrich doesn’t like camping. Something about bugs and not being able to shower regularly. I even tried rebranding it “glamping” (as in glamor + camping,) but he would not be fooled.

So I had to move the focal point of the vacation to a place more urbane, but with the option for staggering outdoorsiness. San Francisco has a nice little redwood grove about 45 minutes outside the city. I get my trees, Mr. Ostrich get running water. Everybody wins.

The vacation was really wonderful. San Francisco spoiled the hell out of me. The weather was beautiful, the food was terrific, and the coffee was mind blowing. I even had toast from the OG Toast Master, Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club.

Toward the end of our week, we rented a car for the day and headed out of town. The end of any vacation is always bitter sweet. I’ve finally gotten into the groove of vacation, but I’m also aware that it will also soon be over. Then again, I’m almost too relaxed to care.

First, we headed over the Golden Gate bridge to the Marin Headlands. It was about 9:00 in the morning. The sun was bright, the air was cool off the water. The headlands were beautiful– each turn offered views of the iconic bridge better than the last.

Afterwards we went to Muir Woods, home to some of the oldest living things on the planet. I’ve become kind of obsessed with redwoods lately. I marvel at how they just keep growing. Some of those trees are over a thousand years old. They are not bothered by war, famine, political unrest… certainly not by my own problems. They just hang out, minding their own business.

Muir Woods is one of the last old-growth redwood groves on the planet. I walked around with neck cricked up and my mouth open. There aren’t words for it. I walked up to one stand of trees and just cried. Walking among them is like entering a church. It is quiet. It is sacred. These trees are patient with themselves, teaching us to be patient with our own lives as well.

Mr. Ostrich and I hiked up through the canyon and along the ridge. The hike up was understandably the hardest part. It took time. At first, Mr. Ostrich and I talked a lot. But as the hike became more strenuous, you could only hear our breathing and the sound of the wilderness. I had never seen a part of the world so luscious and green. Every once in a while, one of us stopped to point out something spectacular. We treasured that thing in that moment, and kept going.

The ridge was more sparse. The ground wasn’t soft and mossy, but dry and dusty. The sun exposed everything, and I could see where we were more clearly. In the distance, you could make out the ocean. The valley below showed how far we’d come.

The way down was faster, harder in a different way. The sheer velocity that propelled us down the canyon made it hard to stop and soak it all in. On the edge of one trail, a tree had fallen over. I pointed ahead and said “Look at the roots of that tree, all exposed! And look how even now it keeps growing.” Though it had been almost completely uprooted, this tree was sprouting new growth. Sure, what was once up was now sideways. But it adapted and found a new way to live.

For the last year, I have had a quote from Emerson tacked up at my desk:

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”

Sooner or later, Nature wins because she is patient. She never gives up.



  1. conceptionallychallenged · June 14, 2014

    For the next trip I’ll tell you about an awesome lodge right outside of Yosemite – with not just running water, but a pool and delicious food. Mr. Ostrich will like it, too. But I’m so glad you got to enjoy that wonderful Muir Woods hike!

  2. thebarrenlibrarian · June 14, 2014

    San Francisco is my favorite place in the whole world. It is easily where I have spent the most time in my life outside of my home state. We used to go once a year and I even went there to buy fabric for my wedding dress! Love it there so much.

    • thecommonostrich · June 16, 2014

      I’m seriously considering moving there, depending on how this whole baby thing works out. Go west, young (wo)man!

      • thebarrenlibrarian · June 16, 2014

        I would love to live there, but the cost of living is pretty insane!

      • thecommonostrich · June 17, 2014

        Ah, but if I do end up sans baby, I’ll just spend all my money on myself living in expensive, glamorous cities. Hey, I’ll need a pretty sweet consolation prize…

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