The Sequoia trees humbled me, to say the least. I had never seen a more enchanted environment as I did while walking amongst these giants. The light was magical, as were the skies. They say Holland is famous for its specific natural light, however looking up at the clouds hovering over the American valleys was, well, something else.
It was soft and low at the time of day we got there, cutting its way through the canopy it casted darks shadows for us to cross. It was a strange sensation, realizing that these trees had been here long before I was born; had been through an ice age and were still standing.
Together with my only other female companion, I decided to leave the men behind on the paved road and get off the beaten track for a little while. We took a left where the forest was starting to look blackened and followed a dust trail. We started noticing warning signs tied around dead trees, as if they were sentenced to it. Apparently part of the forest is set on fire on purpose to help the trees shoot new roots. We enjoyed the sound of silence; the wind brushing the leaves and the sound of our steps hitting the dirt.
I watched my companion walking down the trail, disappearing in a cloud of dust, as she got further away. She was wearing a pink dress, causing a striking contradiction to the natural colours of the forest. As I watched her, realized I didn’t know her very well. I did know her to be a hairdresser and I envied the peace she had to stay in one place with one man and one profession. She would sometimes touch my hair in the middle of our conversations, ignoring the concept of personal space and I liked this about her. She was in an excellent mood and I listened to her chatter as I took in the majestic landscape.
“Are you guys back together?” Her question echoed through the woods. She disappeared in the shadow of an ancient tree while I came up with an answer. I hadn’t been truthful until that moment. “No,” I replied, “we just love each other very much.” She stepped back into the sun and tilted her head.”I guess it’s none of our business anyway.”
The Giant Forest is part of a small series of travel stories Rebecca Rijsdijk wrote and photographed on a roadtrip accross the United States of America and published in a little zine called ‘A Man Went up the Mountain.’