A Walk in the Woods… to a Cemetery

The Marin Headlands are blessed with what seems like an infinite variety of trails, all beautiful in their own way, and for most, in every way. People come from all over the country (maybe the world) to hike these trails. Taylor and I just happened to be blessed that we live within a five minute walk. For the most part, they are not difficult, just simply stunningly beautiful. For the past several months, both of us have made a commitment to hike every day; and while we have not been able to do that, we do hike most days of the week. Sometimes, we hike old reliable, which for us is the Alta Trail up to Orchard Fire Road. It’s a good hour and about three miles. We both feel energized and worked out.

Because it’s rained almost every day this year, our hikes have been fewer and farther in between. We snuck away for a bit, catching a break from the skies, to hike to the Fernwood Cemetery and back. Only a mile and a half, even if we did get caught in the rain, it would not have been too long. Nestled behind a group of townhomes and on the way to the Tennessee Valley Trailhead (where last year in October, Derek and I hiked it on the way to Tennessee Valley Cove, the beach that opened up to the Pacific Ocean on our daily search for Zen), most of the hike centers in the midst of a dense forest. Extremely lush with green at this time, even during this morning’s brief respite from the storms, the sound of rain against the leaves still prevails while birds sing competing with crickets and other creatures. Taylor is in heaven.

The Jewish section of Fernwood itself is a green cemetery, opting for bio-degradable materials, so the bodies become one with the earth upon decomposition. The entire grounds are stunningly beautiful with an ethereal quality providing a fine line of serenity between life and death. There are benches where I sat while Taylor walked the grounds, while Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, stands watch. On this day, both the mist and fog accompany us adding a somber element to our reverie.

After a long while, when we were both done and ready, we moved on, leaving the goddess and the grounds behind. Taylor and I walked up the hill and back onto the Alta Trail to the path that we were familiar on the way home.

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