When my graduate school co-conspirators visited the Bay Area during sabbatical, we couldn’t avoid a trip to the Muir Woods to be back among the enormous redwoods. I won’t deny that I pretended for a moment that I was on Endor.
Historical patterns of land conservation in the Bay Area mean that the gradient between densely populated and relatively “empty” spaces is particularly steep. That nearby density means that maintaining “wild” spaces requires a theme-park like approach of fenced, paved trails. Given the erosion challenges faced by the peaks of the Adirondacks, perhaps this isn’t the worst solution.
In a forest of very vertical forms, this V-shaped pair of trees is another example of Muir Woods contrarians. Taken with a tiny aperture, the resulting V-shaped lens flare makes me think of some optical axe, chopping trees apart.
A study in the contradictions of California and the importance of federal lands: In the foreground is Coronado, home of resorts and Navy SEALs. This is the developed, modern California. The cliffs in the background are Cabrillo National Monument, where the first Europeans reached the West Coast in 1542. I imagine that the peninsula would be equally carpeted with homes if not for the presence of the monument. I appreciate the contrast.
Muir Woods astonishes and tempers with its beauty, but I had trouble avoiding the feeling that it was all a bit manicured and controlled by man. At first, that disappointed me. When I thought back to some of the gorgeous Zen gardens I’ve visited, however, I realized that curated natural beauty can be just as spectacular and authentic as true wilderness. The gentle drizzle between sequoias and down into the creek is the American version of the Zen garden.
There’s something really off about this rocket ship you can find on the SF waterfront. It looks like a strange cross between the 1950’s concept of a futuristic spacecraft and an abandoned nuclear weapon. The shininess and corrosion create a strange dissonance. Works well with the futuristic pier located nearby.
Anyone else reminded of the bomb in Megaton in Fallout 3?