07/10/2014 03:59 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Gratitude for Headwaters Forest


The forest, at one time, was the most political woods in California. The tangle of trees stood perilously between two warring factions: businessmen and environmentalists.

The businessmen wanted to cut down the redwoods to pay off their junk bond debt. The environmentalists were determined to save the trees from the chopping block.

As a journalists, I went to see those controversial trees.

What I saw in that 3,000-acre forest was unparalleled beauty. I was surrounded by redwood tree trunks the size of a two-car garage. There were ferns that stretched to my shoulders, every shade of green imaginable. Just a shaft of sunlight poked through the dense tree tops. It was a Maurice Sendak drawing, and I felt like the wild thing.

I had never experienced untouched nature before. This was no park with roads meandering through it. Instead, I found an undisturbed hamlet of 1,000-year old trees that seemed peaceful, serene.

I guess no one bothered to tell the trees that they were on a battlefield and at grave risk. Luckily federal funding ultimately saved them.

That day I spent in Headwaters Forest, in that tangle of trees, continues to run deep in me, and I'm grateful for my time there.

Everyone should have a chance to roam in a Maurice Sendak drawing and be a wild thing.

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