An inspiring portrait of nature, from a West Coast forest dweller.
Living in the forest among the giant cedar and fir, we see the doe, the fawn, and the buck with his crown. The deer are prolific; like rabbits they breed and strip the gardens. What to do with the deer who have no enemy because of us? The forest is their home, but it would be nice if they could spare us a bud, a flower, or a bit of color. This is what I’m thinking while planting some heather, which has less deer appeal.
We also watch that bandit the raccoon cross the drive each morning. Going to bed after a night of mischief and raiding, no doubt. And as the dawn breaks the squirrels yawn, wake, and begin their game of tease the dog. They run along the man-made fence created for the dog.
The sun does not penetrate the deep woods next door where peace and tranquility reside. The only disturbance there is the wind, when it pushes the trees, making them sway to its song. And as the rhythm grows in intensity the dry and worn are weeded out, falling to the forest floor to become nurse logs for smaller, younger life. Logs that are soon carpeted by mosses, feathery bracken, and the relentless ivy that crawls, chocks, and dominates if not kept in check.
Standing quietly in the forest we hear an exotic other world cry coming from the pileated woodpecker, and we watch as he moves among the trees, tapping and dining, tapping and dining; his red head quick, his strokes loud, as he aerates the bark of the trees. A stellar jay has come to chat for a short time and the cheery note of robin song is heard.
Life as a forest dweller, here in the shade, looking up through the giant fir and cedar, means we enjoy the privacy of this natural setting. The trees not only protect us from prying eyes but also stop the soil from being washed into the sea. They are the sentinels of the land, the air givers, and the shelter makers. Life in a forest is a peace-filled quiet lifestyle enjoyed by those of us who choose a slow pace among the giants.
The mood of the forest responds to changes in the weather. At times, we hear the whispering wind rise to a shriek, and it’s like being in a wind tunnel. But then the sunbeams return, painting fingers of light through the mist; and the calm is restored.
At other times, colder times of the year, the silence is complete and the grass is wrapped with beautiful white frost. But spring comes as always, and we are surrounded by greens of every shade and hue. Green, the color of photosynthesis with its life-sustaining oxygenation.
Dusk in the forest closes the day and the setting sun sometimes treats the skies with reds and oranges, creating God’s work of art. And when evening arrives, our friend owl sits among the cedar calling to his mate. Come – come – come for a night of hunting and feasting. Then there are the clear nights when the stars are on parade, filling the dark sky, becoming an astronomer’s delight. Nights when the full moon baths familiar neighborhood trails, making evening walks an amazing way to end the day — here in the forest amongst the West Coast cedar.
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