caminante haciendo camino
big tree weekend
2004-08-30 | 11:04 p.m.

First, thank you to everyone who left good birthday wishes in my notes and guestbook. What an excellent way to round off the birthday celebration list – lots of birthday love from a great network of Diaryland friends! Muchisimas gracias, amigas!

Now, about number 29 on that list, I have just one word: fantabulous!

Erin – one of my friends from the Soup who lives in Indiana – had been in Sacramento all week for a conference. She had been hanging out with Sheila and her family in the evenings. Erin’s husband and her precious Little Bear flew out to meet her on Thursday. On Saturday morning I boarded a plane to California to join them.

Sheila picked me up at the airport. As soon as I started descending on the escalator, I saw her waiting there, all smiles and warmth. We hugged and it was as if we were back in Louisville! I met her husband, Ian, who immediately struck me as a rock of calm, steady energy, and her two beautiful daughters – Jackie who radiated with an inner beauty and an intuitiveness that belied her 21 years, and Alyssa who was bright and friendly and an absolute joy to be around. And, of course, I was immediately introduced to Sheila’s two horse-dogs – Pongo and Purdy – the biggest damn dogs I’ve ever seen! In fact, I was introduced to Pongo and Purdy before I was introduced to the family! No question who rules in that household! I felt right at home when Pongo sat himself right down on my lap. Crazy dogs!

We met up with Erin, her husband Darrin, and Little Bear (their little girl, Rowyn). It was so great to see Erin again! And I so enjoyed meeting her family. I had heard so much about them, it was great to finally meet them all.

After a few automotive issues – namely a flat tire and a whole city full of repair shops who were either unable or unwilling to get it fixed anytime in the foreseeable future – we headed out to Calaveras Big Trees state park.

OH, MY GODDESS! The trees are amazing. The entire forest is amazing. But those trees...massive and powerful. You touched them and you could just feel the energy coursing through you. The entire forest hummed with the most amazing energy. I was simply awestruck.

We hiked through one of the trails. We gawked at the big trees. We took lots of pictures. We walked through trunks that felt ancient and womb-like. We reverently touched these wood monoliths of Mother Earth. All the while we talked, we laughed, we shared, we discovered. It was wonderful.

After a long day of flying, driving, hiking, talking, and laughing, we were all exhausted. We hit our respective beds hard.

Sunday morning we had breakfast at a little English pub. Then we hit the art museum and browsed through the streets of Old Sacramento. Afterwards, we headed to Sheila’s home to relax by the pool. We concluded the weekend with a great Mexican dinner. Then it was time for me to head back to the airport.

The weekend sped by. I wish I had more time to spend with both Erin and Sheila. But I’m so grateful to have had two wonderful days with them.

I loved meeting their families. I have no doubt that Sheila’s and Erin’s daughters are going to grow up to be strong, intelligent, empowered women. And I enjoyed meeting their husbands – where do they make men like that anyway? I loved being able to observe the cohesive units that they each formed with their husbands and children. They seemed so right together. I saw true partnerships. And although I can admit to feeling a pang of envy, it also was somehow inspiring and hopeful to witness that partnerships like that can and do exist. Sheila and Erin are both lucky to have those men standing with them; but those men are even luckier to have such extraordinary women by their sides.

I don’t know how it happened. I’m not sure how women from all parts of this country – each of us with our own story – met on an internet message board and formed such tangible connections of friendship. Whatever the reason, I’m blessed to call these women my friends and to know them in my heart as my sisters.

Listening To: computer hum
Reading: police reports
Feeling: connected

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