The first day I came to stand before a true giant, I had gotten there through hours of misery riding a winding road through the Northern California countryside. Carsick, with bronchitis and a sinus infection I hadn’t been able to shake for weeks, I felt like misery herself. When we finally rounded the bend into the shade of the coastal redwoods, we pulled off at the first place we came to and stumbled out of the car.

It took just moments to step across the shady needle-carpeted ground and stare up in awe at the closest tree to the road, to gaze up into its canopy far above our heads and reckon it was ‘big.’ In just those few seconds, I felt all my nausea, weakness, dizziness, and pounding headache fall swiftly and cleanly away. It was as though hours, no, days of suffering had washed down into the forest floor and were simply gone. As I stood riveted by this unlooked for change, I recognized that somehow in a way I didn’t understand, I had been healed. I felt strong and steady in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. Maybe it had been years since I felt this way. Had I ever felt this way? I wondered, as I gazed at those great giants.

How could anyone stand before these mighty trees and see board feet of lumber? The only proper attitude, I thought, is reverence.