During the dark days of winter in the Pacific Northwest, I sometimes like to get further into the mood by stepping into the forest. As the forest envelopes me, the light fades to a mere glimmer and the dank, musty smell of the rotting logs fills my nostrils. I feel insignificant beside the giant trees, just a small part of a large, living mass.
Although the feeling is similar in some ways to the tropical forest, the temperature forest is much quieter. It is the kind of place owls like to come to sleep rather than a place of squawking parrots and squealing monkeys. Here the slugs slide slowly along the side of the trail and millions of insects live in the rotting logs, but you never have to worry about a snake falling on you from above.
There is not much of interest in the deep forest for the larger mammals. The deer and bears prefer to go along the lakes and streams and to the clearings where grasses and berries grow. Perhaps an eagle or a raven will perch on the top of the tall trees, but the smaller birds prefer the bushes on the edge of the forest.
I should feel peaceful, restored and content after my walk, but I can’t stop thinking about the darker side of the story. I have always steered clear of politics in my blogs as it’s such a nasty subject, but it has to be said that the survival of all forms of nature is currently under serious threat on Vancouver Island and may soon cease to exist as we now know it. Trudeau’s government is determined to increase oil tanker traffic to unprecedented levels on the Pacific coast and will fight in court to have huge amounts of bitumen transported before impact studies can be properly carried out and completed. Our whales are struggling to survive under current levels of marine traffic and will surely die out under the proposed levels. Bitumen spills release toxins into the air that threaten all forms of life, human included. Kalamazoo knows what we are facing. This will, of course, be a threat to the entire state of Washington as well.