Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tip Toe Falls, Portola Redwoods State Park

Tip Toe Falls: another casually named American shrine that is well but simplistically loved as pretty scenery. (Cf. the Secret Rock of Marin County.)

In a different country, maps would call this a holy site. Guidebook entries would offer a trellis for the visitor's imagination in the form of a local saint or spirit and a story. Here, the mind gets nothing to climb on beyond the uninterpreted beauty of the place and the pretty but silly label on the signpost.

If only more of California's older traditions had survived the conquest.

The bird's-head knob in the foreground is part of a stump that has been polished by visitors. Mainly by their backsides, I'm sure, but still it resembles an icon that pilgrims have been touching for good fortune for a very long time. People find quiet methods of veneration even when the words are missing or would embarrass them.

No comments:

Post a Comment