A Silent New Year’s Eve

Tyler enjoys a silent spot at Prairie Creek Red­woods State Park in California.

For a long time, my New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tion involved shov­ing live music into my ears at a kick-off host­ed by the lat­est local hip band, or sit­ting around a big screen with friends blow­ing noise-mak­ers, chug­ging egg nog, and watch­ing the infa­mous ball-drop while pre­tend­ing we were in NYC our­selves. But two years ago, for the first time, I decid­ed to go out­side instead. 

The deci­sion might seem like a sim­ple and obvi­ous choice for some­one who loves the out­doors as much as I do, but liv­ing the first 25 years of my life in the mid­dle of Okla­homa made this more dif­fi­cult than it might have been for oth­ers who live in more scenic areas of the world. The finale for 2010 would be dif­fer­ent. The day after Christ­mas three friends and I piled into a small car and made the epic 48-hour jour­ney to the red­wood forests of north­ern Cal­i­for­nia. This trip turned out to be one of the most enrich­ing New Year’s cel­e­bra­tions of my life. For one of us, the trip would be a first glimpse of the Pacif­ic Ocean; for anoth­er, a first time to walk amongst the giant red­woods. For me, it would be a revis­it to one of my favorite spots on earth and a chance to share it once again with great friends.

Erin is dwarfed by a clus­ter of red­woods. Often times the bases of mul­ti­ple red­woods grow so close togeth­er that they form what appears to be the base of a sin­gle tree.

The red­wood for­est has a beau­ty and pow­er to it I have found no where else in nature. These tall trees (which can reach up to 379 feet) have a silence and still­ness to them, and it was there that we were able to find a fit­ting bal­ance between reflect­ing on life or being con­tent in the moment. Every day we walked through the for­est dis­cov­er­ing new pock­ets of light, soft clover-bed­ded floors, and hol­lowed-out trees–each pro­vid­ing a unique area for child-like exploration.

This New Year’s eve a friend and I went back to this for­est. We expe­ri­enced much of the same and much that was new. Again I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reflect on the pre­vi­ous year and look ahead to the future, but more so than on my pre­vi­ous two trips, I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be in the moment and to appre­ci­ate the fact that I was walk­ing with ancient giants.

Rare sun­light shines through a grove of red­woods at Prairie Creek Red­woods State Park.

Next New Year’s eve, if you find your­self seek­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent and you haven’t tried it already, I would sug­gest going out­side. It won’t disappoint.