These Giants Live: Cathedral Grove at the Heart of the Rainforest

Somewhere along a stand of douglar firs, balsam pines, and sitka spruce along the Alberni highway, the trees seem to rise a little taller, breath heavier, and completely dwarf everything in it’s vicinity. A literal sylvan cathedral of ancient cedars, tried and toughened by forest fire, the oldest survivors grew their first buds two and a half decades before Columbus even sailed here, eschewing age of 900 years+, the canopy overhead can not even be seen. Deep in the soggy rainforests of Vancouver Island, I found myself sitting with these elders, and feeling their tremendous humble power in my soul. In my own country, i’ve never been in true rainforest before, though I could not even relate these for brevity to the rainforests in Mexico, or Scotland, Cathedral Grove has it’s own persona. IMG_2731

Slow steps through the forest, with a heavy rucksack on my back, over root and stone, fern, and bone. Old men lie dead with hard tempered skin, and the hollows of fauna homes rest dankly on the black earth. Beard mosses drip with moisture from trees, and the branches of stickly evergreens build runestaves to the sky. The jungle of this place seems impenetrable, one can hide in the shade of jurassic flora, and crawl with the microlife beneath the shallow sight. An incense of purified mist, herbal infused air, and pungent but sweet soils fills the nostrils in quick drafts of euphoric awe. Each raw face of the millenial cedars gnarls its branches away into all directionals of the space around it. This is my rock of protection, these are my roots of exploration, to follow them, leads into the all of the forest. Back up into the hallways of allways, and the forest is forever in the vastness of the sky, and the deeps of the ground.

Wild waters tumbled over small smooth turned pebbles, and I drank deep draughts of the forest mead, and ate the squirrels forage on an old stump. As twilight cloaked the air with a familiar smell of petrychor, the last humans left their echoes of footfalls, and I went further down the rabbit hole into the dark shelters of the trail, seeking a bed. I found a hollow giant, blackened on the inside from the thunder bolt hallowing, with a partition of curved trunk missing from the side. Here it was finally submitted to gravity, and filled with detritus from the layers of the woods above. Brushing out the leaves and sticks, a perfect shallow was left for me to lay down my bones, sleeping bag and all, with cover from the rain, and privacy in the night. I spent the nocturnal hours in a deep slumber, inside the hollow trunk, in a feral healing session. With the Mjolnir hammer hanging above me, and heathen prayers spoken for protection from any jotun forces, and falling widowmakers. The sunwheel of morning aroused me out of rest, into a light gloom, and with my traveling scandinavian partner, we hobbled out of the forest the way we came, myself in revered silence, and her in frithful folk song. Colors of the wind. I thought about it all, and remembered, that Giants do live on earth.


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