My time in San Francisco wasn't only spent becoming addicted to Caffeine. Because my birthday was coming up my parents gave me a little money to play with while out there. They don't condone my newfound love of motorcycles but they know I'm always safe when riding. So I didn't feel guilty when I used the money to rent a Harley 1200 Sporters.
The morning of my rental, I rode the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the rental place and signed all the paperwork.After talking for about 20 minutes about routes for touring, I headed out.This was the first time I had been on a motorcycle on the open road.I was really nervous, but pretty soon the exhilaration took over.I cruised around downtown for a little just getting used to the bike and riding along the tourist locations that I had already walked early in the week, my smile growing along with my heart rate.Even a short rain shower couldn’t dampen my excitement, though I did realize that at 45 miles per hour raindrops hurt.
The rain stopped as I made my way to Highway 101 and the Golden Gate Bridge.I hit the throttle pushing the needle up past 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and finally settling into traffic at 65.Rolling along the wind howling around me, attempting to use my jacket as a parachute and lift me off my bike, vehicles 5 times heavier than me and my bike moving along less than 3 feet beside me. I was on the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE.Riding across was pure exhilaration, my heart pounding the adrenaline into every nerve of my body.I just had to yell, which is an odd experience inside a helmet.Nevertheless I screamed at the top of my lungs, “I was born for THIS! This is what I was meant for.This is LIVING!WaaHoooo!”
It is in moments like that when pain doesn’t exist.Everything lines up, even if only for a brief second and you know that when God made the earth and you and me, this is what He had in mind.You feel complete; some would call it ecstasy or joy. I call it fulfillment.Every part of me was full and I know that if anyone could have seen through my helmet then they would have seen some of that spilling out in the form of a goofy grin.
With my grin splitting my face, I followed the signs on the back roads winding their way up and down cliffside roads to my next waypoint.Muir woods.When I got off the bike my body was tingling with the residual adrenaline.After paying the 5 dollars to enter and examining a trail map I started out along the walkway in to one of the last Coastal Redwood forest in the world. I wasn’t prepared.John Muir, the namesake of these woods, said it best, “Big Trees …”The scene leaves you speechless. Some of these trees date back to before Christ was born, so rightfully so they call it the Forest Pre-historic.After the gray and bleakness of Chicago that I have had for the past 5 months, the vibrant greens of this forest astounded me.Even with a stream running through the park and kids jumping around from one thing to the next, the place saturates you in what I can only begin to describe as the nature of these trees.They are solid, permanent and certain, but they are alive.
As I walked under the bows of these massive giants, staring up in wonder while trying not to trip over the forest floor, I felt surrounded by an ancient and steady power. It made me think of the Ents of the Lord of the Rings.They were always my favorite creatures for the same reason I was awestruck by this forest.The Ents did things slowly, but when they decided to do something, nothing could stop them.Their power was seemingly endless.No rock or construction of man could stop their movement.I sensed that the same vast, slow, unstoppable power existed here and yet there was peace here.
It was a complete contrast from my ride only a few moments earlier.One area, is called the Cathedral Grove and they ask everyone to stop talking and be quiet as they pass through the grove.The United Nations, when they first formed, met in this same grove.I am sure that they all felt the same awe and power that I did.As I moved through the grove, I chose a short mile and a half hike and started out.About half way through my hike, I found myself atop a hillside not looking down on the trees I had just been walking in but still looking up.It was here, standing in perfect silence amidst these primordial woods, that I again felt fulfillment.Everything was in it’s right place, me feeling so small next to these giants, their presence and life impressing me with Divine Inspiration and Eternal power.The same words came to mind, “This is Living.This is what I was meant for.”Again, I felt like I had experienced a glimpse of heaven, the life that God intended for us.