|Smoky sunlight filtering through redwoods|
Driving through the Avenue of the Giants along the northern California coast is an awe-inspiring experience. Ancient coast redwoods reach hundreds of feet into the sky. Even today, when the temperature has reached 100 degrees and the air is filled with smoke from nearby wildfires, this place seems like a cool, quiet cathedral.
We stop at a grove to enjoy the view and walk, and I notice a young man wiping out a saucepan and tossing the contents onto the ground. Was that a paper towel? Disgusted, I tell him to look for a trash container. He comes up and waves a package of baby wipes in front of my face, saying, “Look at the label! Biodegradable! Don’t be so judgmental!” I am too astounded to answer. Does he think “biodegradable means “vanishes instantly”?
We drive on until we see a sign advertising a drive-through redwood. I’ve seen only photos of those mutilated giants, and am curious enough to stop and see the real thing. It’s interesting in a horrible way. How could anyone ever have destroyed a magnificent redwood so that cars could drive through it? We go on.
Later, we chat with a grandfatherly man who recently took a whale-watching tour out of Baja, and proudly shows us his video of people petting whales that had come up to the boat. I ask hesitantly if touching the whales and allowing them to approach the boats is allowed. He chuckles at my naiveté and replies, “Oh, those Mexicans don’t care!”
Well, I care. I’m tired of people who have no respect for the plants and animals that share our planet, who think their litter is OK if it takes a relatively short time to degrade, who endanger the earth their grandchildren will have to live in. Yes, I’ve become an old grouch, and I’m proud to be one.