On our recent trip west, we headed first into Yosemite National Park before heading over to San Luis Obispo for the show. Both Cheri and I had always wanted to see the iconic sights with which we were so well acquainted and thought that a few days there beforehand would better acclimate us to California time. We’re really glad we did. Yosemite was everything we had hoped for, even with the iffy weather as the storms that buffeted California would occasionally pass through.
Going as we did, in late November when the hustle and traffic of the high tourist season has long passed by, there were very few people there which added to the drama of the place. It’s easier to reverently take in the full power and magic of the place without the constant sound of human voices. And there is an elemental power there. It is all granite and water and wood and mists that shift quickly, one moment shrouding the cliffs and the next moving on to reveal a grand vista. Awe inspiring.
One of my favorite moments was on the first morning. I was up early and went out into the meadows near the lodge as the light came into the valley. There were no other people out there, none to be seen or heard. There were still leaves on the trees there due to the moderating effects of the protected valley and to stand there and look up at the cliffs with Half Dome hovering over the golden crowns of the trees was pure magic. Absolute silence. I could hear leaves touching the ground after they fell from trees a hundred feet or more away. It was as close as I’ve come to the Big Quiet in some time. All I could think was: If you didn’t have to leave this place, why would you?
I think that thought is what makes the folks that live and work there seem so purely happy. We met so many local people there that were as friendly and engaging as any I’ve met. If you ask, they will admit to knowing how fortunate they are to be living in such a place. We met two local high school girls who were giving free hugs ( I told you they were friendly) at the Village Store. They talked about being torn about leaving to go away to college because of their love for the Yosemite. I doubt they ever leave, at least in spirit.
I know that I’m still there, in my mind at least.