Some days I need to find an open road and drive, drive, drive. To escape the rush and noise, the signs; "buy this! you need this! can't live without this!"; the barges carrying plastics, so useful until they end up in the bellies of our birds and fish; the constant reminders of problems to be dealt with, of impossible solutions, of problems being conscientiously made worse.
I took the highway north again. Passing Lake Roberts, I saw a small sign, half hidden in the bushes, and followed a pot-holed gravel road down to a parking lot and a trailhead. The trail led to the lake and a picnic area. There was no-one about; a parked motor home was dark and silent.
The path wound downhill, through evergreen forest, dark and cool, carpeted with ferns and moss, sprinkled here and there with starry white flowers. Overhead, the wind rustling in the branches masked the distant sounds of the occasional car on the highway. Near the lake, I finally came to a halt in an opening among the trees, knee-deep in ferns, fragrant, green-scented.
For a moment, I was transported back in time, to when, as a child, I wandered in similar forests on the far side of the island. So peaceful, so safe! I could breathe here!
But it was different back then. The forest was eternal; it had been there long before we showed up, it would be there long after we were gone. It was secure, and in it, I felt that security.
Now, there is fear. The forests are dwindling. The birds and the bears are fading away, the steady march of the seasons has failed. And the chainsaws and haulers are busy; along the roads, the logging companies have left a green belt, but the sun shines through the trees from mountainsides just beyond, devastated, empty of anything green or moving.
Sometimes I am so disheartened that it is hard to go on.
There is healing in the forest. There is hope, maybe. All is not lost; life goes on, building on the ruins of the past.
|Nurse stump. Rotten and crumbling, it supports and feeds a new tree; as the stump disappears, the tree will send its roots down to the ground below.|
|Squirrel table. They've eaten the seeds from fir cones, and left the husks. Some of the seeds will have been scattered, uneaten. Some will become new trees.|
|Woolly bear sleeping on a fence.|
I went on, came down to the lake, found columbines and bugs, took photos of those starry flowers. I can't stop our "progress", as we call it, towards a barren earth, but at least I can record the beauties of our world as it is now. Maybe, someday, we'll learn to live respectfully.
And the forest had one more reminder for me. "Laugh!" it said.
|Do fuzzy yellow dogs climb trees?|
So I laughed and went home.