PyCon 2012: Side trip to the redwoods

Big Basin Redwoods State Park, CA

redwood trunk

I've always heard people say that you notice how far back you have to crane your neck to look up at a redwood. It's true, it was an overwhelming sensation of always leaning back much farther than I should have to while trying to see the tops of the trees.

All good things in life involve balance, including intensity. PyCon has been intense; an intense amount of information, consistently impressive speakers, and a steady stream of amazing people. My head was spinning from all of this, so I took a drive out to the redwoods. I am so glad I did.

The drive was twenty minutes through light silicon valley traffic, and then 45 minutes of unending tight 15-25mph curves. I don’t understand how anyone can live out here without owning a motorcycle. How crazy to go from the heart of silicon valley, with its relentless energy of ideas being constantly put into action, to such a humbling and timeless forest. My fingertips are numb from keeping the windows open so I could smell the clean air the whole way here, and my body is shaking a little from not eating lunch before heading out. But as I crane my neck back farther than I ever have before to look up at a tree trunk, I am inspired to use what I am learning at PyCon even now.

Representing PyCon in the redwoods

Representing PyCon in the redwoods! I put my badge on just for fun for the picture, but I forgot it was on afterwards. I didn't notice until sometime later when I saw people on the trail looking awkwardly at my midsection.

Which brings me to the only real thought that’s worth adding while I am out among these trees – that in the end, the code we write doesn’t really matter. What matters is whether or not our code makes people’s lives better. Our code needs to bring people to places like this. Your work needs to bring you to places like this. Code won’t actually bring any of us directly here, but if our work makes people’s lives easier, and if it helps us share the experiences and inspiration we feel in places like this, it will help people get to these places of beauty.

So if your head is spinning from information and code and the intensity of networking at a gathering like PyCon, consider taking a trip out to the redwoods or to the ocean, especially if you’ve never been to the west coast before. If you live in the area but haven’t been to the redwoods in a while, or have never been, think about making the trip as well. You won’t regret it, and your users just might thank you for it.

redwood trunks

Twin redwood trunks.

fallen redwood.

A fallen redwood. For scale, notice the 6-foot-tall dad in the picture. The top of the trunk was about 12 feet off the ground!

redwood trunks

A stand of redwoods.

driving to the redwoods

One of the gentler curves on the way back from Big Basin. I didn't run the PyCon 5k, but I think I might have shin splints on my right leg from braking and accelerating all the way there and back.

Swiss Mushroom Green Onion burger from 9 Burger

The mushroom, swiss, and green onion burger from 9 Burger outside Boulder Creek. Burger 1, me 0. It is a rare burger that I can't finish, and this was one. I just couldn't eat all the cheese and big mushrooms that slid out of the burger while I was eating it. I wanted to, though.

PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective
PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective, part 2
PyCon 2012: Side trip to the redwoods
PyCon 2012: Saying “Thank you” to Guido
PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective, part 3


About ehmatthes

Teacher, hacker, new dad, outdoor guy
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