The Valley is flat and stretches for miles. It is dusty and windy but a bit of rain fell. When the wind shifts there is the odor of cows being raised too close together. It is a lot like much of rural/agricultural America. Lots of little towns, some, like Visalia have a real down town. Walmart is there but kept on the edges. It is California in some ways: In-n-Out Burger, Orange Trees, crazy drivers. It is also sort of Southern Idaho: Big Pick-ups, large fields needing to be harvested, great Mexican Restaurants, the babble of Spanish.
Look west and the Coastal Range is in view. Then, 50 miles East, the beginning of the Sierra Mountains. They spring up from the Valley floor. A bit of foothill action but when you start to climb, you climb fast. Up, Up, 1000 feet, 2000, 3000, 5ooo.....Weird trees cover the sides of the mountains. Some deciduous trees, mostly big pines and scrub of some sort.
Then there are the rocks, big rocks. The kind that could down a Seattle ferry if it dropped on it. Big. Did I mention big. Huge, massive
rocks..... get my drift. So You climb, you drive along and then you enter the valley through a very long, dug by hand tunnel. This is what you see
It is simply magical. I don't know what to even say. I have seen the pictures. I simply was not prepared. I got out of the car and I just sat there with a dropped jaw. I was sort of like the first time I saw the Grand Canyon, the Leaning Tower, Devil's Tower, the Pacific Ocean, a whale, a hummingbird in the snow.
We all talk about God and Creation and the Big Bang and the Universe. We are amazed how fast an e-mail can travel or simply the wonder of electricity. But this. This place is a reminder that good and beautiful things take a long time. They can not be rushed or pushed or even nudged along.
This special place was made with the gift of time. First the mountains pushed way way up, the water brought them down and a valley was born. The world turned cold, the glaciers filled the valley and then moved the rocks with them. Left them as the glacier moved and worked and pushed into the central valley.
I have no words, just a reminder that important things take time. A lesson I need to learn as we approach year three of the transplant.