Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pinnacles and Condors

Another amazing place I explored during my weekend in California was Pinnacles National Monument. This is a place of granite monoliths and spires rising out of the earth in a chaotic manner. During my 7 mile hike through these unusual rock formations, wild flowers, and talus caves, I stopped every few minutes to take in the beauty of this place. The photo of some of the "pinnacles" is from the national park website.

Pinnacles was a huge volcano 20 million years ago. Split in half by the San Andreas fault, it has moved 200 miles north at the rate of 3 inches per year. Being there gave me a sense different sense of time. Geologic time moves at a glacial pace, except when volcanic eruptions or earthquakes occur. These geological phenomena cause dramatic changes in the shape and form of the earth.

Pinnacles is one of the areas in California where condors have been successfully reintroduced. I saw two of this majestic creatures floating effortlessly on the strong updrafts. These birds are so large as to seem prehistoric, somewhat like the mythical Roc. The condors I saw in Patagonia last year were larger, but not more amazing. Here, I got to get relatively close, only a few hundred feet away.

The earth is filled with places like Pinnacles, each singular and unique in its own way. Being in these places puts me in touch with the sacred dimension of life. My feelings are captured by the Psalmist: “O Lord, how manifold are your works!”

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