The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Thoughts with Zoe


April 3, 2019

I’m sitting under a temperate rain forest tree and remembering this year’s Montana Winter. I have always loved moss growing on trees, so sitting by a carpet of moss lifted my spirits. Many of the trees are still bare, but they are almost ready to burst, buds ready to pop their leaves or their flowers. Here, in Oregon, it looks like the blossoms come first, before the leaves. It’s 67 degrees out and if you aren’t in the shade, its hot.

The path we walked yesterday was “muddy”—not Montana muddy, but you did pick up some red clay and dead leaves on the bottom of your shoes. Of course, rain forest by definition just means the sunlight doesn’t reach the ground. So, you can imagine the green growth as you walked. There are so many different colors of green; pale green, dark, brown green, emerald greens all with dew sparkling on them which caused the color and light to change as I walked. Only God could imagine, create and display that many varieties of green. It was magical.

It was incredible to walk amongst it, totally alone except for my brother and sisters. They chatted, making too many comments about the natural wonder of this divine place. I followed along, stopping to take too many pictures. My brother commented that we’d never finish the walk if I didn’t stop taking pictures. I laughed because it was so like the two of us. Oh, I’m not saying he doesn’t see the beauty, he does, he just lives here and for someone like me who lives on flatland, snow-filled winter lands for months - this reprieve feels like a miracle. I want to slow down time, but he had a goal in mind—walking to a certain destination.

The first picture I took was a spider web with crystal webbing. The second was a tree with sage colored moss with pink flowers on a variety of textures all climbing up rough jagged bark. Red garnet berries against green foliage was extremely vivid. Everyone knows the forest floor is covered with a variety of ferns, but what I call Boston Ferns seemed to have grown here at a feverish pace. But seeing Ferns grow high up, amid the moss on the tree limbs was wondrous to contemplate. And then finding sage-colored moss growing on top of the moist red and rust colored dead leaves on the bottom of the forest floor was a gift to behold as I finally just looked down.

One time I noticed the moss had created aprons on the limbs of a tree in a triangle shape design, like it had been wrapped around and tied in the back of her. There was a dead tree still standing, but it looked like it could be a fake green Christmas tree as every branch was covered in moss. At the bottom of the hill we were walking down was a little creek where dead trunks of trees had fallen over. If I had been younger with less hip and knee pain, it would have been fun to hike through the density and try to walk across the slimy slippery logs. Ordinary white blooms standing alone on the green canvas appeared brilliant white - like a spotlight was shining at me.

It was a nice reprieve from a land of bitter cold and now gray mud. But also, a reminder that we can change our surroundings, if only for a brief time. It renews the spirit, helps us to see variety, reminds us that life is grand…beautiful…wondrous.


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