Once upon a time when our area was under water
there were no parks or trails or trees or gardens.
I’m thankful that our mountains rose from an ancient ocean
so we could enjoy this beautiful place we call home.
I’m thankful for the Big-Leaf maples
that shower me with leaves as big as saucers
as I walk in Henry Cowell along the river trail
and for the giant redwoods that sprouted long ago
at the time of the Mayan civilization.
I’m thankful for the Five-fingered ferns that grow lush along
the lower parts of Fall Creek
and for the canyons, hiking trails and small waterfalls
that feed the year-round creek.
I’m thankful for the Felton Covered Bridge
that overlooks the San Lorenzo River
and for the sound of children laughing as they play in the park.
I’m thankful for the western turtles who live at the Quail Hollow pond
and for the unique sand hills, grasslands and redwoods, too,
and for the plants, birds and other small creatures that live only there.
I’m thankful for Bonny Doon where you can see both the Pacific Ocean
and the San Lorenzo and Scotts Valleys
and for the resilience of the people recovering after the fire
on the mountain made of sandstone and shale.
I’m thankful that Big Basin State Park, where redwood sorrel, violets and mountain iris
once covered the slopes and lush canyons
is recovering as are the salamanders, banana slugs, marbled murrelets
and red-legged frogs who make it their home.
I’m thankful for the whisper of the wind blowing across the water at Loch Lomond
and for the gentle whir of fishing reels at the edge
of thick tanoak, redwood and madrone.
And finally, I’m thankful for friends and family and neighbors who share all this with me.
There’s always something to be grateful for. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
Jan Nelson, a landscape designer and California-certified nursery professional, will answer questions about gardening in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Email her at [email protected], or visit jannelsonlandscapedesign.com.