Saturday, September 27, 2008

Inside the Hoh Rain Forest

I've been saving the best for last.
Or, more honestly, putting off an attempt to describe a place I cannot find words for.
A place that is felt from the inside, out—sensed, more than merely seen.

A place with which, though printed images and words abound, the first real encounter steals your breath--
and leaves awe where imagination had been.
I’ve been waiting for words to find me.

As if closing a door to the rest of the world, the space within is quiet--
with a stillness that aches in your ears.
And sounds of great time’s passing.
The dense ground drinks all in,
hushed by centuries’ collection of needles.
Mosses woven together.
The rich tapestry rolled, unending, from one end of this evergreen forest to the other.

Softly shaded by curtains, rich tones of gold and green,
the only scattered spots of light, small gaps at the extreme reach of the treetops, 250 feet above.
As with light cast through the small stained-glass windows of a cathedral,
the eye is drawn upward into vastness.
Each trunk, tall and straight, many with bare branches below,
only distinguishable from each other by the textures of their bark,
or shape of their broadly reaching roots.
Many wide with age,
others barely born.

The tallest trees, their roots broad but shallow,
fed by the abundant rains of almost 150 inches each year, easily toppled—
yield life to the next generation.
Mounds of ferns cascade from pockets of dark soil held between the roots of the large fallen giants.
Each rootwad, a wall quickly filled
by the small plants eagerly nosing their way into the smallest vulnerable crevice.

Mosses crawl, in greens of a million descriptions,
to cover the long fallen trunks, their spreading fingers in textures furry and soft, jagged and spiky.
The seeds caught beneath them from the trees above, seeking shelter in the deeply furrowed bark. Establishing their beginnings upon the fallen giant, then buttressing themselves against time, anchoring beyond to the forest floor.
Until in long rows they stand, colonnades clearly recounting this history,
towering reverently over the crumbling forms having given them life,
years before.

A narrow path winds on,
between the massive rootwads,
spanning pools of dark water.
Heavy slabs of cedar, a footpath protecting sacred ground.
Beyond the tops of sword fern, the forest unfolds,
interrupted only by sheets of hanging moss draped majestically from the otherwise barren branches.
Foxglove and clusters of horsetail fill the occasional sunlit spot.

To stand within such a place,
be lifted high by the roots of a thousand-year trees,
as they brace themselves on the shore of the sea.
To look up at the sky through their branches, and behold--
golden wings!
This is the Hoh Rain Forest.

This 48-slide presentation includes:
Bigleaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum
Deer Fern, Blechnum spicant
Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menzieseii
Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea
Horsetail, Equisetum arvense
Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum sp.
Methuselah's Beard, Usnea longissima
Red Huckleberry, Vaccinium parvifolium
Sitka Spruce, Picea sitchensis
Sword Fern, Polystichum munitum
Trefoil Foamflower, Tiarella trifoliata
Vine Maple, Acer circinatum
Western Hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla
Western Redcedar, Thuja plicata

To view static, labeled images, visit my Flickr site.

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Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to go there. Very strange area: a rainforest right near Canada.

RH Carpenter said...

Jerry and I have to go there. I just posted photos and words from our trip to BC and then, in catching up, started reading your account of your trip. Your blog is so much like reading poetry, the words flow and sing and really describe delightfully what is happening around you.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Sounds and looks like an awesome place to visit.

NCmountainwoman said...

Wonderfully poetic description of a rain forest. The pictures make me feel as if I am walking there myself.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have been there Nina and you have done the best job of describing it as I have ever read. Love your pictures too. They make you feel like you were drawn into the forsest.

Marie said...

Amazing slide show :)

mick said...

Great photos and description. I really enjoyed it.

A Colorful World said...

You did a wonderful job describing a place almost too beautiful for words...I loved the photographs.

Wendy said...

Absolutely beautiful - photos and poetic description. I'd love to visit one day. Thanks for sharing.

Cicero Sings said...

It IS a beautiful place ... you've done a grand job in capturing the essence of the place. Loved the slide show. Neat-o!

Amila Salgado said...

Great post.
This looks like a magical place.

JeanMac said...

Nina,I wish I had your gift with words to describe nature as you do. I started reading, then saw the hummer's nest, watched, carried on reading. Thank you, what an effort you put into your posting.

Beverly said...

I enjoy your writing and poetic musings...but also enjoy watching you use technology to serve your voice. The slide show was very, very well done!


bobbie said...

Oh so beautiful. You have almost managed to describe the way I felt the first time I entered a redwood forest. "Almost" because there really are no words adequate to the job.
Your slide show is so lovely.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Beverly--you have no idea how proud I am of that slide show!
The photobucket code that was generated when I uploaded images to their site, had an error in it and every time I tried to embed it in this post, I got the error message back--"tag is not closed."
With the VERY little html understanding I have, I managed to figure out what was missing where, AND resize it to the dimensions of my blogger template. VOILA!
Not bad, for someone who thinks slugs are pretty cool, huh?!

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing this beauty.

kjpweb said...

Wonderful slides! Loving it!
Cheers, Klaus

A Colorful World said...

I certainly understand that sometimes it's hard to get around to retrieving an award and then passing it on! We all have busy lives....just glad you were happy to receive it! You definitely deserve it! Take care....

Mary said...

Thanks, Nina. Beautiful place, beautiful narrative.

I've always admired trees on my walks but never learned to identify so many of them.

Shelley said...

This place looks magical and refreshing to me at the same time. I enjoyed your beautiful narrative as well!

Wendy said...

Beautiful description and slideshow. I kept telling myself, ok, ok, move on, you've got a lot more to read and look at. But the pictures kept me stuck.

Anonymous said...

Perfect! Your prose piece and the slide show must have taken a great deal of time. What a lovely way to commemorate a wonderful journey.

There is so much sunlight in your photos; you were very lucky to have that much sunshine!