I guess when you live for almost 1000 years, you learn a few things about “presence”.
Paul finally arrived in BC on August 8th and it was so good to finally have him here. It had been over six weeks since I left Ontario and I was ready for my experiment with independence to come to an end. It was an enjoyable experience and I think it was good for me but I have to admit, life is easier when you have a partner. (Carrying a piano across the house can be a daunting task by yourself.)
We began the pleasurable task of exploring our island and I was excited to take him to all the places I had researched before he arrived.
First, we drove North along the coast and stopped at a beach. It was a gorgeous day and a visit to the beach is always necessary on warm, sunny days.
We arrived on the beach about a half an hour before high tide so there wasn’t much beach, however, at low tide the beaches in this area are quite spectacular. The sea bed along the shore here is very shallow so at low tide the water retreats up to a kilometre leaving a flat, wide and long beach to explore looking for shells or stranded sea life.
Regardless of the tide, the views from these beaches are always spectacular. The Coastal Mountains on the mainland tower thousands of feet over the Salish Sea and their snow-capped peaks gleam in the summer sun.
This lovely beast is Mount Tantalus and as you can see, I was quite enamoured with him. (Not the shirtless man in the photo, the mountain!)
After a short visit with the sea we headed inland. Today we were visiting the ancient giants of the interior!
After a beautiful drive, we parked in the parking lot, crossed the highway and plunged ourselves into the forest.
As the crowd spread out and the chatter of children vaporized into the forest, I began to hear the trees. They did not make a sound but you could feel their presence so strongly that it was almost audible. It was a feeling I had not expected. These tall, majestic giants towered on all sides. They were silent and still, yet very alive. It almost felt as though they were watching. Quietly and amusedly observing the trivial and finite creatures that danced at their feet.
Their branches were bearded with hanging moss and their trunks clothed in rich green garments. As I craned my neck to comprehend their size and stature, I fell silent. In reverence and awe I walked among them.
If there were a place where one was to meet God face to face, it felt like this would be the place He would choose, amongst His oldest living friends. It felt as though He came here often and they seemed saturated in His holiness.
Most of the larger trees in this area were 300 years old and a few of the grandfathers were over 800 years in age!
How much had these timbers seen!?
How many silly human fashion statements had passed beneath them?
How many egocentric beings had strutted past only to disappear into the anonimity of history while they silently endured?
How many gails had beaten against them only to strengthen their reslove?
What I would give to have a conversataion with one of these ancient beings! To learn the wisdom of 800 years of silent observation!
If there ever was a pacifist in nature, it would have to be a tree. Such a peaceful and welcoming creature cannot be found anywhere else in creation.
What they ask above all is to be allowed to be. For that is indeed, what they do best. They are the sentinels of history. Watching, sheltering and caring for all who need them.
I imagine that once upon another age a hobbit may have lived here.
This is a red cedar tree. These giants can grow to over 200 feet tall. Red cedars have a natural preservative in their wood which means that the wood from a red cedar is still useable 100 years after the tree itself has died!
At the end of our hike was the largest tree in the park. This grandfather of great-great-grandfathers is over 800 years old! Although just a young sapling in the 1200s, he was three times more ancient than the most ancient white man before white men ever set foot on this continent! (Yep, I had to read that sentence a few times too.)
Towering 250 feet above me, this peaceful giant has been watching over his kingdom for almost a millenium.
The fallen tree I am standing on is as wide as I am tall and the trunk of the immeasurable giant behind me is almost 30 feet around.
There are no words for something that has endured the evolution of language itself. Nothing can describe what it feels like to be in the presence of a living ancient.
So when words fail, only actions can speak and I did what my heart yearned to communicate.
I am fully aware that it did not take long living in BC to become a tree hugger but if you met the trees here, you would want to hug them too!