When I am in Yosemite, I feel the presence of my parents, as if they are surrounding me with an enormous embrace. I am forever grateful to them for introducing me to nature at a very young age. The memories of our annual summer family trips to this iconic location are imbedded deep within me.
Yosemite smells like no place on earth. I stick my head out the window, from the passenger side of course, while my partner is at the helm, grinning at my enthusiasm.
My vivid memory of bonding with nature’s beautiful creatures, involves my seven year old self in the very meadow we are currently driving past. I was surrounded by a herd of friendly, curious deer. My parents had given me a small camera for my birthday with a roll of film capable of taking 24 photographs. My new deer friends were all mine and I wanted to remember them forever. I took nearly the whole roll of film as they practically posed for each shot. Mom and dad gently suggested I savor each photo, and perhaps save some film for the rest of our stay.
As we arrive in the valley floor and check in to the Yosemite Valley Lodge, fortunate to have secured accommodations on the first day of summer on our spontaneous jaunt, I recognize the handmade wooden furniture inside and the metal chairs and table outside on our balcony, they have been here since, well, my first visit! Somehow that is very comforting.
Arriving on the summer solstice and also my partner’s birthday, gave us plenty of daylight and reasons to celebrate walking amongst the majestic, rugged beauty in this glacial carved valley.
I breathe as deep as my lungs will allow, penetrating my soul with the fresh, foresty air, so I can carry it with me. Sitting upstream by the softly flowing Merced river, there are no other humans in sight, only my partner in all things wild and wonderful.
A family of deers appear, perhaps the descendants of “my” deer, from way back when. They look at us and I have them in the sight of my digital camera/phone that has the ability to take thousands of photos if I choose, however, my lesson was learned long ago and I savor each photo and each moment and quietly whisper my gratitude to my parents for raising a free-spirited, nature loving wild child.