Yesterday, walking in Galiano’s Heritage Forest, my eye was drawn to the shapes of the trees— the shapes that will soon be hidden by the profusion of leaves.
Mixed with the evergreens are are are several willow trees of varying kinds, along the main path. They’ve been there, as their size indicates, for years and years, but it wasn’t til yesterday that the light caught them in a certain way, and I ’noticed’ them. They are, to me, absolutely beautiful— the stature of the tree as a whole, and the detail of the slender curves…
I will likely post several more photos of these and other trees in the days ahead, either here or on my Curious Spectacles Facebook page which you can find here.
Maybe because we’ve waited so long for spring this year, or maybe its just that these wonders are more precious with each passing year, but surely the delicate beauty of the huckleberry buds opening has never been quite so breathtakingly beautiful to me.
It wasn’t what I was looking for. I was after a photo of a Northern Flicker. But— as I carefully crept along beneath the trees to get close enough for a photo, a flash of a different orange caught my eye.
Nestled in the hollow core of a very old fir stump was a beautiful fan of orange and yellow mushroom. Turns out it is known as a ‘Conifer Chicken of the Woods’ (Laetiporus conifericola). I’ve seen it before growing on trunks of decaying fir trees, sometimes quite spectacularly, but the appeal of this sighting was accented by its cozy home low down, inside the empty round of the stump.
If I’d not been pursuing the Flicker, I may well have missed this beauty! I didn’t get the Flicker. He was long gone by the time I’d finished photographing the ‘Chicken of the Woods’.
(Note: The inside of the stump was in shadow in the morning, so I returned later in the day when the sun was higher to get the photo above.)
The road rises and curves away out of sight. Who knows what’s around the next corner… Meanwhile, right where we stand we’re surrounded by beauty—a beauty that’s both softened and strangely enhanced by the early spring mists. I stop to catch my breath, and admire the wonder of where I am before plugging on up the hill and to whatever awaits around the bend.
Finlay Lake Conservation Area – Click on image for a larger view
We’d wanted to walk in to Finlay Lake for a while, so with the sun shining brilliantly, it seemed a good day to set out for this quiet spot.
The path leading through the forest was bursting with spring shoots, and the birds were singing in the canopy above us, and the winter wrens and towhees rustling in the ferns and salal.
When the path opened to the lake there were a few Buffleheads on the far side, but otherwise all was still. Occasionally a raven’s call echoed through the trees, and an eagle flew past. Otherwise, simply stillness— but a stillness that is burgeoning with life.
Clearly I have an affinity to the deep mystery of rainforest beauty. The moody grey weather invited another walk along the lower trails of Bluff Park. Its impossible for me to walk these paths without thinking of stories and fairy tales, and of Ents and Hobbits— I have yet to see one of those, but doesn’t this scene make you wonder if maybe… if we waited very quietly … ?
This afternoon for a change of pace, I’ll go and hunt for some early spring buds, but for now, its deep forest that I want to share.
The broom that lines the old road along which we walked this morning was glowing gold, the same rich yellow that the blooms of June display.
But this is mid January.
Rather than June’s golden bloom this was winter’s answer to springtime vibrance— thick gold lichens along the length of the dead grey broom twigs. Winter life. Life in a different mode.
These branches won’t bloom next spring. They’ve spent themselves already. But their winter glory is beautiful all the same.
But its not simply the sight of this surprising beauty. Its also the thought it stirs in me— the thought that this brilliance doesn’t emerge from the broom itself, but rather is a gift, covering its dead twigs. It is clothed in a glory that’s given.
A good reminder. Another glimpse of grace amidst the ordinary meanderings of the day.
On Thursday night there was more rain in 12 hours than I recall since I had a rain gauge. The Gulf Islands are in a ‘rain shadow’ on the east side of Vancouver Island, but that ‘shadow’ didn’t mitigate the amount of rain that fell overnight. 26 mm. The wind also buffeted the house with astounding force as the gale rose and receded. In the morning the wind had veered to the Southwest as predicted, still swirling in the treetops and bringing repeated rain showers, and even periods of heavy rain. But in between— oh my goodness! Is there anything more magnificent than the sun slanting through the drenched cedars, as they drip and little rivulets forge through the low spots, finding their path to the sea, and the colours are intense as the sun drenches the rain soaked forest.
This photo is a glimpse of one flash of light on the lichens, moss and fern as we navigated our road between rainstorms, stretching our legs and breathing the rich fragrant air.
glimpses of the extraordinary amidst an ordinary day