Walking with Spirit

5 December 2021 — You bet. Spirit with a capital-S.

We’re in Pacific Spirit Regional Park, some 770 hectares of temperate rainforest in the city’s west end, neatly bordered along one edge by the foreshore of Georgia Strait. The network of trails, more than 50 km in all, lets you weave your way through mixed coniferous-deciduous stands of trees, taking in berry bushes, ferns, mosses, lichens and fungi as you go.

And that is exactly what we are doing.

Bark is a wonder, all on its own. Not just texture, but colour. And not just all the subtleties of black and brown, but, look, streaks of turquoise. Lichen is not always grey!

Last yellow leaves of a deciduous tree glow just overhead…

and, not to be outdone, other last-leaves flash bold patterns in the undergrowth.

Great webs of tree roots snake across the ground, tracing the hummocks of the long-buried nurse logs that gave them life.

Then there are the decidedly not-buried nurse logs!

Nurse-stumps like this one, crowned with its own full-grown progeny.

Tiny sprays of vivid fern, beside a fallen log ruffled with equally tiny fungi…

and a huge explosion of fern, so massive, so primordial in mood & presence that I look around for dinosaurs.

Jagged stand-alone stumps…

and the whole entangled dance of the forest: stumps & ferns & leaf mould and, overhead, moss woven around looping tree branches.

Whole entanglements within moss itself…

and the gleam of a boggy rivulet, deep and wide in this wet, wet season.

Enchanted, we follow our trail…

with its bends and twists and guiding stretches of snake fence.

On and on.

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8 Comments

  1. Penny. These are beautiful!! Thank you for sharing with us here in TO

    Reply
  2. What a beautiful post, Penny, and I I so enjoyed your lyrical descriptions of the park pictures. I especially like your photo of the tree growing out of the top of the nurse stump; its fingers firmly grasping its parent.

    Reply
    • I have a fascination with nurse logs, and what they (and I guess the forest in general) show us about the intermingled cycle of birth/death/rebirth, the sheer continuity of it all

      Reply
  3. So beautiful! I have a thing for exposed root systems so thanks for including that photo. Loved it!

    Reply
  4. So beautiful, Penny, what a delight. Your text always pairs perfectly with each picture – Lynette said it perfectly. Like the person above, I really enjoyed the roots, too. (I’m pretty sure those are lichens hanging on the looping redcedar branches rather than moss). I hope you go back again and again.

    Reply

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  • WALKING… & SEEING

    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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