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.
I took several photos while walking in Bellhouse Park a few days ago. But it was this one that I found myself drawn to.
There’s something in the image that touches me. Maybe its the way the two trees lean together— the tall slender one, and the one that’s broken…
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.
I’ve always loved the forest. As a child I loved to explore trails in the woods, to build forts, and to take a picnic to a mossy spot and sit in the quiet— sometimes with a friend. The forest has always been a place of wonder and mystery for me.
It remains so— and to me it is most deeply mysterious and wonder-full in the depths of winter when the soaking rain and the January mist and fog moves amidst the trees. The strong shapes are softened and the moss and lichens become almost luminous in the shortened daylight, as though they thrive in the winter, enjoying the relief from the droughts of August.
Some people have told me they find these short darker days with the low hanging cloud wearying. For me, along with the lichen-bearded cedars, soaking their roots in the sodden earth, and the moss that is practically jubilant in its lush growth, this is a happy time of year. It’s the season of rest and replenishment.
I’ll be ready when the exuberance of spring comes, and I’ll be ready to dry out in the summer. But for now, it’s winter, and it is very good.
Like a slow stop-motion film, this photo captures the effect of the erosion of the bank, as the weight of the trees is too much for the diminishing soil around their roots. Slowly, slowly, as the soil is washed away by high tides and wave action, the trees lean further and further, eventually falling —
There’s something about this that strikes a chord in me. The poignancy. The inevitability. The noble trees that danced in the wind, are all bound to fall.
When we set out for our walking expedition today, to one of our favourite island spots, I had no idea I’d see it differently from any other of the many times I’d walked that trail.
The rain was falling steadily but slowed to a sort of misty drizzle by the time we hit the trail. The clouds were hanging low on the hills, draping them with varying shades of gray. The islands up the channel were a faded gray green, the water calm and so still that the rings of each raindrop was discernible til its rings blended with those around. It was all very lovely in a wintry desolate way— not a person in sight or a voice to be heard. Even the ducks were in hiding. The only wildlife we saw was a pair of otters playing on the rocks. But they too scooted away, surprised to see us, thinking perhaps the weather was providing them freedom from interlopers.
But it was the extraordinary sheen of the arbutus, its smooth bark glistening in the rain that was the greatest delight. It looked as though someone had spent hours polishing it with wax or painted it with high gloss shellac, and the effect was to show every bend and twist of the trunk and branches —each tree we came upon unique in how the years and circumstance had shaped them.
The rain’s gift was to show me those trees in a different way than I’d ever noted before. It was the detail, the strange beauty of the contortions and adaptations to weather, breakage, erosion, and all of it, beautiful— washed clean and gleaming even on such a day as this.
glimpses of the extraordinary amidst an ordinary day