Sequoias in the Garden of Gethsemane and the Douchebag in Starbucks

King's Canyon Sequoia Tree
Mooning the General Grant Tree in King’s Canyon National Park. I don’t know why I moon landmarks and monuments. It was just something I did once and now it has become compulsive.

This morning I was sitting at the Starbucks in Belle Vernon, the closest one to our house in Lover, PA. Kurt’s already back to work in Coshocton, Ohio and after a week having him mostly to myself day and night, it was extra hard to wake up and be alone. My phone is quiet (I don’t actually mind that, because I hate talking on the phone) and my text messages box and email inbox are empty. And if I really didn’t want to be lonely, couldn’t I reach out as well as hoping for something inbound?

There is a lot to be done here, so I needed to stay home and work, and I can pretend for awhile that being busy will distract me from my inability to ever be alone. I don’t know how those wives who stay behind can stand it. Maybe it’s because they have kids. Maybe they aren’t best friends with their significant other. Kurt fills every bit of it, so I know it’s not so much of a loneliness issue with me as probably separation anxiety or co-dependency. (Probably the latter.) In any case, I need to figure out how to deal with it, because I will begin alternating weeks between Coshocton and home as we prepare the house for our move to Africa next June.

So this morning, too overwhelmed with this ridicu-loneliness thing to finish sorting the box I started, I headed to the Starbucks just to be surrounded by people. It didn’t take long however, before I wanted to leave.

I was excited at first, to overhear a conversation about giant sequoia trees. Having been to the Redwood Forest and to Sequoia National Park, I’ve seen those incredible trees firsthand and I was eager to eavesdrop on a conversation about them.

Grove of sequoia trees in California
May in King’s Canyon National Park still sees a lot of snow. Beautiful time to visit.

The man reading the paper said to his companion, “You know, the oldest sequoia redwood tree is around 3,200 years old…” I waited eagerly, thinking I might jump in if the conversation turned toward camping among the trees or even what the trees looked like.

freezing nights camping sequoia
Sometimes Kurt and I prepare for vacations like we’re twelve years old. Such was the case for our Yosemite – King’s Canyon – Sequoia vacation. We forgot all our winter gear for camping and having Baxter inside the sleeping bag with us was the only thing that saved us from sleeping cramped in the car with the engine on all night.

I imagined breaking my less than 24hours of loneliness by whipping out my laptop and offering up photographic evidence of rings and a picture of my (now dead) Elantra driving through a redwood.

Redwood national forest California
My late Elantra, “Larry,” driving through a redwood tree in northern California

“You realize” he continued, his voice building with excitement as he talked to his friend, “that when Christ walked through the Garden of Gethsemane, those trees were there! Can you imagine…?”



Not exactly the twist I was expecting from his growing excitement, but good for him. It’s beautiful to be passionate about something, and it is, after all, fun to imagine just what was going on when that sequoia tree was in its infancy.

Sequoia tree facts and information
I love reading the facts they post with old trees.

There were no sequoia trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, by the way. Wrong side of the world. Besides, Gethsemane is the “garden of olives.” If any trees were witness to the arrest of Jesus of Nazareth, it would have been a cluster of hoary olive trees. And even that is not proven. The earliest written record of olive trees in the garden of Gethsemane isn’t until the 15th century, and even botanists can’t agree on the age of existing trees and whether there were trees there during the time of Christ.

But does it really matter?

Sequoia National Park overlook
I love foreground, especially when it’s flowers contrasting with snow. This was from an overlook in Sequoia National Park.

Isn’t it just as beautiful to imagine someone dead long before our time seeing the same marvels we saw? I often create those reveries with my own ancestors. When seeing a historic landmark or a very old tree that I know existed during the time of a great-great-great-grandparent who lived in that area, I imagine them marveling over the same sight, or even just walking past it daily, taking it for granted. In any scenario, it still ignites my heart and mind.

King's Canyon National Park fallen sequoia tree
I used to take my Steelers and Penguins gnomes everywhere. Will have to blog about just them one day.

Unfortunately this particular man in Starbucks ruined any semblance of piety and general Christian good-heartedness when he seemed to get bored with the subject of sequoias and started mouthing off about the back problems of a female member of their group, who was absent today (I’ve seen this group of “regulars” many times). Her issues, he pronounced loudly for anyone within hearing, were because she was fat and needed to lose weight. Throughout the time he was here, he proceeded to run his mouth about any and every subject. It was amazing, actually, just how many subjects in which he’s an “expert.” I was relieved when he finally left. His parting complaints were about his own back problems and I realized that (a) he resented hers because nobody was fussing over his; and (b) maybe all his issues were due to that extra weight in his big, obnoxious mouth. I’ve heard that can really throw you off-balance.

Sequoia National Park, California
Cool fact sign at the General Sherman tree.

You know, there are douchebags of all race, religion and social status. I just can’t stand the ones who witness immediately before they judge. So any thoughts of sharing my own miracles of those trees in photos (at least with that cretin) was out. And yes, I get the irony that I’m judging him.

Part of what makes General Sherman so stunning for me is how he appears amid the surrounding trees in his part of the forest.
Part of what makes General Sherman so stunning for me is how he appears amid the surrounding trees in his part of the forest.

But I thought, hey, the beauty of those giant sequoia trees is something I haven’t shared with my readers. Because you, friends, are not douchebags, (or at least you keep your judgments to yourselves).

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos, as well as my own little rant about a douchebag in Starbucks.

Cool sequoia tree facts
Cool sequoia tree facts

Every once in awhile I remove all the fluffy kittens and puppies from my head and drown them.

Sequoia National Park entrance sign, California
I know. I have a problem. But it’s not really hurting anyone, so let’s just say this is my harmless outlet for random rage?

You’re welcome. It gives you a tiny slice of the real me – the conflicted one who is sometimes forgiving and upbeat, sometimes judgmental and ranting, but always pretty close to human. Being human, it turns out, is really, really difficult.

And none of this rant or photo-sharing has assuaged the morning’s loneliness, nor has surrounding myself in a crowded cafe on a Sunday morning. I guess if I can’t get over it anyway I may as well head back home and be productive. Maybe after I curl up into a little ball and take a nap.

Love, Marla

10 thoughts on “Sequoias in the Garden of Gethsemane and the Douchebag in Starbucks

  1. Great post! But what’s up with the “star” conceal box on your moon shot?? Why not just a “black bar” like everyone else?? Hmmm, seems oddly self-serving to me. 😉

  2. I would call it a fair rant. Speaking of irony, I’ve been fortunate enough to go far enough east to see the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, yet haven’t been far enough west to hang out with the Sequoias. (I have run into bad testimonies in both directions, however.) What’s up with that? Thanks for fascinating me w/ big trees & full moons today! 😉

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