Aspirations -- Del Norte Redwoods State Park, CA
July 2, 2011
As a part of Jeff's day of bachelor party festivities, he wanted us all to see the beauty that he had clearly become familiar with deep in the redwood forests of northern CA. During the long drive up to the redwoods, in between various off-color jokes and male bonding, I found myself gazing out the minivan's windows at the beautiful rolling landscape, admiring the natural beauty. Soon however, we turned off the road onto what could only be labeled a 'path'. This winding path led us all deeper and deeper into a collection of ancient giants that seemed to turn the bright summer sunlight into that glorious cool light that shines just before dusk. As we exited our faithful transportation unit, I noted Jeff's inspired staring at the vast beauty all around us. As awestruck as I was, I knew Jeff's appreciation of our vista was ten fold. It gave me a chance to see his gift before the shutter button was ever pressed. I knew why he brought us all here. A group of barrel chested, rugged rebels who until so recently had been carrying on loudly in a minivan, were now silently trekking through a path around behemoths which had been standing silently over the earth for countless generations.
We all tried our best to capture what we were seeing with our cameras, but we knew each time Jeff nonchalantly stood up his tripod and took aim behind his viewfinder, that his picture would be the one we'd all want to look back on. I will never forget the way the air felt, or the quiet stillness on the forest floor that day. And I certainly will never forget how Jeff wisely capped off the day by exposing us to perhaps one of the finest beers on the planet. Countless laughs and memories from that day all come back to me when I look at his pictures of the redwoods. That is a treasure.
- Steve Doscher
We arrived in the woods together.
Most of us suffered from mouths agape, rattled to our marrow in the most wondrous way by the awesome presence of thousand year old redwoods.
Jeff looked as if he belonged there though—he was seasoned. More than a simple tourist, he had earned the respect of this grand environment. The woods knew he was more than passing visitor—he was a caretaker, a custodian, a guide.
In hindsight, it was an easy metaphor. There was Jeff—at ease navigating amongst things exponentially larger than himself. Like the redwoods, he too was tempered by fire, yet remained strong—roots firmly anchored, refusing to yield just because something tried to shove him out of the way.
As the sequoias are generous in lending their majesty, so too was Jeff unconditionally generous of heart in all he did. And much like our friend, the wonders of those woods persist and resonate long after they have left us, yet hope swells knowing that their unconquerable presence will persist and remain long after we are gone ourselves.
- Ryan Arruda