Today, following my 19-day hiatus that included a 9-day getaway where I freeloaded off my sister, Dovima, and brother-in-law, Herb (with a silent h) in the San Francisco Bay Area, I must now return to the daily grind and my get-rich-slow career as Minister of Floor and Wall Tile Samples. Before leaving my place of employ in mid-December, I left myself copious notes about all I have to do upon my return. This allowed me to completely free my brain from having to remember anything at all about the job I have held for over seven years. Therefore, I must only recall the address of where I work and which subway stop to exit. I suppose it would also behoove me to remember that my superior’s name is Elsbeth.
During my absence my sidekick, Greg, has been in touch with me via email. He informed me that a surprise awaits me. I hope the surprise is not that my desk caught fire and my copious notes are now reduced to ash or Elsbeth has changed her name to something like Judith. How could I possibly remember that?
I have a surprise for Greg as well as our colleague, Ling. While away, I got us a box of my favorite childhood candy, See’s Molasses Chips.
I figure the sugar buzz will get us through our first morning back en masse, but by noon I’ll probably be the first to crash with a loud thud.
Yet, even though I am back in the workplace on a day when the temperature in The Big Apple is bitterly cold, here in the alternative universe that is Lame Adventureland, we’re going to resume vacation and visit the Petrified Forest in Calistoga, California with my best friend from college, the nature lover, BatPat. This place has nothing to do with the 1936 film, The Petrified Forest, starring Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. There is also the Petrified Forest National Park in Northeastern Arizona. That’s not the park we visited. We were at California’s registered landmark # 915. This Petrified Forest is a three million year old nature preserve of giant petrified redwood trees.
The simpleton story about what happened here was that over three million years ago there was a massive volcanic eruption that toppled the forest and buried the redwoods deep in lava and ash as an on again and off again ocean saturated the area. Over time molecules of crystallized silica replaced the molecules of decomposing wood. Although the uncovered trees with their perfectly preserved appearance of bark look like wood, they’ve actually been turned into stone. This made me reflect on a member of the 1%’s heart.
I bought a sample of the petrified wood for Milton, knowing how much gay men appreciate good wood. BatPat reminded me that straight women share the same affinity. During an earlier visit some years back, she purchased a boulder size piece of it for herself to rest on her bookcase.
In comparison what I gave Milton in a little velvet souvenir sack looks more like a shard.
BatPat and I walked the trail. Here are the photos I took illustrating our hike.
BatPat: This is a Bay Leaf tree! Think spaghetti sauce.
Writer Robert Louis Stevenson immortalized his 1880 meeting with “Petrified Charlie”, Charles Evans, in his book, The Silverado Squatters. Petrified Charlie found the first stump of petrified wood while tending his cows in 1871. It seems highly unlikely that any newly discovered trees in this forest will bear the honorific, the Lame Adventures Tree, for being mentioned in this blog.