I went to see what was happening at the upper end of Woodhus Creek, where last summer we basked on the warm sandstone in the bed of the river, where caddisfly larvae rested in the pools and fallen leaves spun lazily in the eddies. Now, after the recent rains, it is a tumultuous, thundering torrent.
From the end of the road, a path cuts through the woods to the creek. I dawdled there, looking and listening.
|Almost the end of the trail. The sign reads, "WARNING Stay off fishway. The fishway can be extremely dangerous." (About that, later.)|
It had rained in the morning. Out in the open, at least on paved roads, the ground was dry. Not here, under the trees; everything dripped. Everything glistened. Drops fell from above, leftover rain. Wandering about down side trails, I was soon soaked from the knees down.
|Moss on a stick. The green twigs are huckleberry branches.|
It is dark under the trees, even on sunny days. On a fall afternoon, the sun reaches in almost horizontally, touching and highlighting a branch here, a wet leaf there.
|Stretching out wet arms towards the light.|
And there is a strong sensation of silence. Odd, with the continuous roar of the creek, its bass notes audible even from the far end of the trail. But still, the drops falling from the branches overhead played a silvery tune, "ping, ping, plop". Leaves rustled wetly as I passed. There are no other sounds. In between the swishes and the pings, a profound stillness hangs over the wood.
|Lichen hair caught on bare twigs.|
|Fallen salal branch, turning red as it dies.|
|In every direction, trees hem me in, stretching out restraining arms.|
|Mossy branches. The moss collects the rain, so it falls to the forest floor in easy installments, like timed-release supplements.|
|At the foot of a tree, a mushroom pokes through the wet moss.|
|Another mushroom, well past its prime. I thought it was interesting, the way it has split from the centre, while the gills are still intact.|
|A small green caterpillar makes his way over a wet rock. About half an inch long.|
|A clump of hair lichen on the ground. This grows on the branches, but often falls off.|
|Dripping and bedraggled fern. By spring, it will have crumbled into the ground, fertilizer for the next generation.|
Coming out of the wood, I was somehow surprised to find the sky clear, the car dry. I got in and turned on the heat to dry my feet.