Life of ceaseless variety

Jeff took this photo of me in 2003, on one of my many visits to Muir Woods

Jeff took this photo of me in 2003, on one of my many visits to Muir Woods

“A forest is like the ocean, monotonous only to the ignorant.  It is a life of ceaseless variety.”Benjamin Disraeli

The giant redwoods first come to mind when someone mentions Muir Woods, but the park is actually teeming with diverse life forms, flora and fauna.  Much of it is hidden from sight, or seen only on close inspection, and some (such as the clustering ladybugs) are seasonal visitors.

But I confess, for all the fascinating natural wonders available to see and read about in the park, I most often found my thoughts turning inward during my visits there, in the sort of involuntary meditative state that such arboreal cathedrals induce.  The deep layers of life I saw as I walked along were a natural complement to the complex, sometimes cacophonic forest of my own thoughts, lulling me into a paradoxical calm.  In such places, it is almost impossible not to put one’s own life into perspective amid trees that have been standing for many centuries, some for even a thousand years.


  1. Sheila

    Julia, reading about the forest and the ocean compares your world with mine. I often think as I walk along the ocean’s edge that each wave sweeps away the old and brings new treasures, too. Your walk in the cooling shade of the woods is as wonderful as the salty breezes that I enjoy! Blessings for the week……Sheila

    • Thanks, Sheila! I have a post coming up soon about the ocean. The beach is perhaps the most healing and relaxing setting on earth. I’m glad you appreciate being able to enjoy it daily. Mountains, forests, oceans…hard not to feel grateful when we remember how beautiful the Earth can be! Thanks for being here today.

  2. There is a saying,”The devil is in the details”. In this case I would have to say GOD is in the details! I appreciate your appreciation of the small things that we may fail to notice without a nudge from people like you!!!!
    Love you!

    • Thanks Carla, we all need to keep reminding each other to focus on the good, especially since the difficult and painful can be so NOISY in our lives!

  3. MaryAnn

    Ah! My lady of words soothes my spirit!
    I love you!

    • Thanks MaryAnn, love you too. Please say a little prayer for Matt; he had a rough day.

  4. Jason Preater

    That is exactly the feeling I get when I am out in the woods: living things that are older than the shiny, metal things we prize so much and older even than the house we live in. And they still breathe in the evening air.

    • It’s really amazing to contemplate, isn’t it? Thanks for visiting!

  5. I seen that Mr. Muir’s woodlot, one time. Besides the floras and the faunas, there are some nice ferns and a few blacktail deer to look at.

    • Eric, you are too funny. I remember well the time you had a brief layover in SFO and we went to Muir Woods. There were a lot of less than happy things going on in our lives at that time, but we had a lovely walk and while discussing our problems, you said “I hope all this talk isn’t messing this up” and I said “You CAN’T mess this up!” Was that the only time you went to Muir Woods?

  6. No, that was not my only visit to Muir Woods, nor to “the other end of the bridge”.

    • I didn’t think so – the “one time” threw me off.

  7. Julia, your writing is really something to behold as is the forest that inspired you. What a beautiful place to contemplate life. What I got from the quote is ‘it’s the little details that make a life big’….so true. Thanks for sharing this today.

    • Thanks, I appreciate your kind words about my writing, and I’m so happy you like the blog!


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