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Thursday August 12, 2021
Over the transition from July to August, I spent about ten days on Vancouver Island. Five times, I went hiking in old-growth forests. Massive trunks soar upwards, 200-300 feet, so straight, so vertical, that they might have been laid out by an engineer with a spirit level. At the top, the canopy of branches opens out into a fretwork vault, lacing the sky with a canopy of needled embroidery.
I took pictures, of course. But pictures cannot capture the awe engendered by an old-growth forest. I need Emily Carr’s exuberant brush strokes, her explosive splashes of colour, to bring out the sacredness of these trees.
But it’s not all about the cathedral image.
Down below, fallen giants nurse new seedlings. Young hemlocks, mostly. One such nurse tree had become a day care for over 30 young hemlocks growing along its length,. The death of an old matriarch had opened a trapdoor of sky to let the light in.
I wondered what that forest might say to us, if it could speak.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: wisdom, forests, Wohlleben, Simard
My mother had a maxim for every occasion. If I paced impatiently waiting for something to happen, she’d tell me, “A watched pot never boils.” If she had reservations about my friends, I’d get “Birds of a feather flock together.” If I got a Christmas present I didn’t particularly want, I might hear, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” Or perhaps, “Beggars can’t be choosers.”
It took me some time to realize that many of those maxims come in contradictory pairs.
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease” encourages me to squeak up. But “Speech is silver, silence is golden” advises me not to.
One maxim advocates caution: “Never put all your eggs in one basket.” Another expects me to take risks: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.”
Tags: Folk sayings, wisdom, extremes