George Steinbeck, after writing many novels and living many years, went in search of America. He desired to experience the heart of his country and to know it, in order that his works would reflect a true understanding of the place he claimed the ability to express to his readers. Of the Redwoods, he wrote:
“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time….They carry their own light and shade. The vainest, most slap-happy and irreverent of men, in the presence of redwoods, goes under a spell of wonder and respect. Respect – that’s the word. One feels the need to bow to unquestioned sovereigns. I have known these great ones since my earliest childhood, have lived among them, camped and slept against their warm monster bodies, and no amount of association has bred contempt in me. And the feeling is not limited to me.”
The Pacific Coast of Washington State is wildly whipped and windblown, wrapped in thick grey sky and warped by silver waves. The power and movement of that place fill you up and set you free to imagine better – a connection to others who also dare to embrace the energy of the ocean. And, in only moments, the motion stops, and the calm that settles in reassures the deep dreams you’ve once again believed in.
“I remembered Seattle as a town sitting on hills beside a matchless harborage – a little city of space and trees and gardens, its houses matched to such a background. It is no longer so. … This Seattle was not something changed that I once knew. It was a new thing. Set down there not knowing it was Seattle, I could not have told where I was. Everywhere frantic growth, a carcinomatous growth. Bulldozers rolled up the green forests and heaped the resulting trash for burning. The torn white lumber from concrete forms was piled beside gray walls. I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.”