From the Ridiculous to the Sublime, Part 1

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than s/he seeks.” John Muir

So it is in nature, and sometimes in everyday life. So it was with our week in Olympic National Park.

Not all of the week. What of the horrendous attack of the termites, dive bombing into our windshield, causing as much distress as a Minneapolis blizzard.

Luckily, we were close to arriving at our tiny cabin on wheels six miles outside of Forks, Washington. In the middle of nowhere.

Downtown Forks intrigued us, laden with gobs of Twilight book and movie paraphernalia. I knew of the teen vampire book written by Phoenix author Stephanie Meyer. I didn’t know that she chose Forks as a dreary place to set her super-popular tale, although she had never been there.

The Main Street Sasquatch shop harbored a lot of weird stuff, from towels to toys, to books with photos of old bearded guys on the covers.

We became regulars due to the mixed berry crumble pastries delivered each morning by a talented local baker.

And there, the sublime began, along with daily surprises.

Who knew we would run straight into “Where the Wild Things Are” on our way to the ONP Hoh Rain Forest visitor center? (They sold Sasquatch socks.) One of us bought a pair for a grandson. We drove on.

The Hall of Mosses trail provided a taste of our first rain forest experience. Like Tucson’s saguaros, each overladen bigleaf maple, western hemlock, or Sitka spruce — from 200 to 1,000 years old — conveyed their own personalities, just like humans.

I recalled a Tucson student in my government class, who announced when he heard I was from Maine: “The trees are so tall there. Driving down the highway they look so spooky.”

Hoh Rain Forest trees were so spooky, otherworldly, and bizarre. I expected to see exotic creatures crawling from moss drapes everywhere. At least snakes (which scare me). None appeared.

Today I’ve decided that this photo I took — of one of these giant embodiments of nature — would suffice.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

What do you see? I see a woman’s breast and a gargoyle eye.

I’ve read that trees communicate with each other through complicated root systems. Also, I learned that 130 different epiphytes (mosses and ferns) live on varied Hoh Rain Forest trees. Not as parasites, but as beneficiaries of nutrients and locales. A caring community of sorts.

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the most sacred Jewish holiday. I hardly subscribe to my ancient religion. Still, every year I do my bit. I dip apple slices in honey, wishing all my loved ones a “Sweet New Year.”

“In the coming year, may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life,” I say, extending my hope from family and friends to magnificent trees everywhere.

Nature’s mysteries speak to me more than any religion.

This entry was posted in Nature Girl, Out West, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to From the Ridiculous to the Sublime, Part 1

  1. sydvinflynn says:

    Thanks for the post. Very interesting, all of it, especially the part about Forks. And the big trees!!!

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