Monday, May 18, 2009

In a Borrowed World

“We haven’t seen any wild animals other than each other all day,” Jennifer said midway through our 10 mile walk along the glacial blue Hoh river. The night before we had spied on a herd of elk browsing the fine green offerings of 140 inches of rain, but today we saw only the traces of men and bears and ambiguous paws. A temperate rain forest like this one is a glorious junkyard of plants draped over plants feeding on each other and the air. It is rain and melting glaciers on higher ground which fill the air with background winds and secret little rushes like a distant toilets always flushing. Every shade of green and brown is present but difficult to take account of because this world is so wild and unexpected.

It made Jennifer do strange things: like try to stand on her hands and climb on top of gigantic rotting stumps. She skipped starting with her left foot and at one point volunteered to crawl on her belly through the empty space in the roots of a big cypress as though she was a nurse tree. She sat in a sacred oak grove and leaned her head back to look at the moss upside down with her chin in the air and she said she loves to do this. She argued with me about the name of the director of a French film we saw about nymphs who lived in a forest like this one (The Romance of Astrea and Celadon by Eric Rohmer). When I ran ahead a bit and waited for her on some giant fallen trees stacked like toys she said the woods seemed creepier when I wasn’t there, every sound a cougar or a bear.

If we were animals we would never leave this place we decided. At night in our tent we read out our nightly poem by Gary Snyder in the fading light and wondered how a flimsy construction of nylon made in a factory in China and sold to us for less than 20 dollars could make us feel at home in such a wild place. Next time we hike into the Olympics we won’t bring the tent we decided. Jennifer put the tent away while I made breakfast in the bright sunlight.


Blogger Gene and Amy Stauffer said...

Definitely adding that to our list of places to visit on our 2010 trip.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Olivia said...

Yawn. Sounds like you're really establishing a great community out there.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

so it looks like jennifer is working on her range of motion. does it have anything 2 do with that one particular class she took at queens college so long ago that measured your level of flexibility??

5:03 AM  
Blogger A Joyful Chaos said...

Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing!

2:10 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home