Tuesday, January 12, 2016

In the mini-forest

On my way to the car after an afternoon lecture at the museum, I was hijacked by a stray ray of sunlight on a trail into the bush. I barely had time to drop my bag in the car before I was compelled to walk the trails beginning to end.

It's a small forest, a block on each side, with no enhancements other than intersecting footpaths winding through the undergrowth. Overhead, tall Douglas firs provide shade; below them native rainforest plants - salal, huckleberry, creeping blackberry, Oregon grape, and evergreen ferns - cover the ground. At this time of year, all is dim and still and wet. Patches of snow still lie in the deeper shade. Nothing moves; all the small forest creatures are burrowed deep in the duff, sleeping.

Where the sun peeks through, there is light, and texture, and hints of a future spring.

Looking downhill, towards the ocean and sky beyond. Late afternoon sun shines almost parallel to the ground on this hillside.

Where the sunlight hits the bare branches of huckleberry bushes, they glow a springtime neon green.

Rocks at the intersection of two paths. Moss grows on the south sides here, in spite of what they tell you in bush-whacking books. Moss grows wherever it wants to.

Miniature lake on top of a rock.

Ghostly green lichen on a fallen twig.

Sunlight shining through Oregon grape leaves. Also pictured: native trailing blackberry leaves (Rubus ursinus), salal, bits of moss, evergreen fern frozen to brown, downed fir needles, and soggy maple leaves, blown in from the open lands beyond the forest.

A path I was following disappeared under the ferns. I backtracked and came out to the road above the entrance to the parking lot. Good enough; though the sun was shining, it was chilly in the forest. I went back to the car and cranked up the heater.


  1. Love the fhostly lichen!

  2. We have to take those moments of winter sun and enjoy them to the fullest. - Margy


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