To stand in a forest is to stand in a moment in time. Feeling the moist air breathe through the trees, seeing mosses glinting with dew, hearing the soft song of a chickadee or the gentle chatter of a snowmelt stream. All these moments make up the life of every forest. Some forests are full of hundreds of years of these moments, each day a time capsule of butterflies and birdsong. Old growth forests are the most ancient. Groves of Sitka spruce, hemlock, Douglas fir, and red cedar…hundreds of years old. That timeless wisdom stretches along the Pacific Coast and holds inside it the greatest lessons in life…slow down, breathe, let your roots find their way down into the soil and stay a while. The time we have is rushing past in our attempt to direct life’s winding current. So stand in the forest, listen to the woods, and feel the years long past, beneath you and around you. Become the old growth and never forget to be a part of this world…
National Geographic Quest
This morning found National Geographic Quest tied to the dock in Alert Bay, British Columbia. We were all invited to the U’mista Cultural Center to view the story of the ‘Namgis people as told by their beautiful artwork and regalia. Walking along the waterfront afforded us views into the daily lives of these fiercely independent people. After satiating ourselves with information of times past, we walked up to the longhouse at the top of the hill overlooking town. The longhouse for the ‘Namgis people is, appropriately enough, guarded by the tallest totem pole in the world. We were invited inside the longhouse; the toasty fire burning in the center was a welcome respite from the rain. Dancers came out and performed several ‘Namgis dances. Dancers young and old were swaying to the beats pounded out on drums. There were several different stories being told by the dancers and we all sat entranced by the beauty and the movement of each. At the end of the performance the dancers came into the crowd and invited us to participate in a final dance circling around the still-raging fire in the middle of the floor. What a pleasure to see the vibrance and pride of a community so well represented in dancers so young.