By Jenna Opsahl
Santa Cruz is weird. And despite the many bumper stickers on hippie vans assuring us that their owners are the ones “Keeping Santa Cruz Weird,” I don’t think it’s necessarily the people that make the town so strange. There is something different about the passage of time in Santa Cruz. It’s easy to get lost here, to lose track of time. There is something different about the way the land holds the remnants of things past like it never forgets. The forests are old, much older than any of us. The coast has been shaped by millions of years of beautiful water damage. History is carved into the landscape, like the strange formations at Bean Hollow Beach.
When you explore Santa Cruz you come upon the little things time left behind. Kids have built forts in the forest and left their art hanging in trees. Old paths meander through the seaside and everything – everything is overgrown. Each fallen tree is a reminder of the past and each new little growth feels hopeful and exciting.
Santa Cruz is alive, not in its sweeping landscapes, but in its nooks and crannies. The magic is in the little spaces you find, where someone (a person, a deer, an ant) found a home before you. It is here – where the sea meets the forest – that California is at its most mysterious, playful, and awe-inducing. If you hike just a little further, drive just past the next cliff, peek into one more tree, you might find the glimmerings of light and life that Santa Cruz holds for those who seek it.
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