Hanging by a Thread
On a visit to the Mendocino Coast, we walked through a cemetery to find the path to a famed sixty-foot deep hole in the forest. Walking up to the fenced edge of the Little River Blowhole, I felt a dash of vertigo looking at the steep drop to the cave opening and ocean waves below.
The next most jarring visual element was the image of large trees clinging to the edge of the erosion line. Grand trees held their proud vertical stance despite their precarious grip on the soil.
The forces of nature will eventually topple these trees down into the depths of the blowhole. Their trunk-skeletons in the wet sand below become artifacts of geological history.
But for a very long time, perhaps many years, the long-cultivated roots that helped these trees grow to maturity will keep them standing. It is astounding how long a living creature, plant or animal, can hold on to functional life despite the most challenging of circumstances.
Unlike trees, as part of the animal world, we humans have the option to move from immediate threat sites. We can’t dodge danger entirely, and will eventually reach a final resting place, but we can make the most of both strong roots and mobility.
Cultivating our roots—deep human connections, good health, engaging in meaningful activities—can make the times when we’re hanging by a thread a little less scary. Humans can survive remarkably challenging times, sometimes just dodging peril when the last thread of a root was about to break.
In recent tumultuous times, it may feel collectively like we’re hanging by a thread over impending disaster.
Take heart in making it this far. Reach out to someone who needs encouragement.
Cultivate the things that make you stronger, and keep putting one foot forward.
This week’s Hike Notes, Little River Blowhole-Mendocino, takes readers on a short walk around a dramatic natural phenomenon tucked behind a small cemetery on the Mendocino Coast.
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Hike Notes 141: Little River Blowhole-Mendocino
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