When I drove into Santa Cruz, California, I expected sunny, golden beaches stretching as far as the eye could see and long boulevards lined with palm trees extending horizontally in front of me (something I probably gleaned from the movies; it was my first time in California). As my friends and I crawled through the bustling campus of UC Santa Cruz, eagle-eyed and ready to spot banana slugs (the UCSC mascot) and dodging busy students darting to their next class, I was suddenly struck with the odd feeling that I was missing something. I peeled my eyes off the ground and scanned upwards.
The magical part of this vertical-awakening was that, unlike a visit to a redwood or sequoia park, these majestic ancients took me totally by surprise– with all my visions of surfing and palm trees and beaches, I never stopped to consider I could drive 7 minutes inland and look up to find this. I learned a valuable lesson– always look up!