Undiscovered on Well Trod Ground


Aki loves this trail for its abundance of robins, thrush, and annoying squirrels. I appreciate its gradual descent through reddening blueberry bushes and the subsequent drop through old growth spruce to the sea.I didn’t expect to make any startling discovery on this walk over well known ground. For some reason I look up just past the blue berry patch and notice for the first time a world of hanging moss just above the trail.  Shimmering droplets of rain cling to the tips of the nearest They fill the negative space between tree branch and twig with a lacy screen, like sheer fabric softening the decolletage of a middle aged woman.

I’m surprised again when dropping deeper into the old growth forest where spruce trees rise over a hundred feet above the trail. No moss hangs here. Looking down I begin to appreciate the strange shapes formed where the spruce fasten themselves into the ground. Aki drew my attention to one when she leaped over a thick tree root submerging itself at a gentle angle into moss covered ground.

Some of these spruce rise as straight as a grade schooler’s drawing, swelling only slightly just before entering the ground. Most, having started their life growing out of the trunk of a downed ancestor formed forked trunks. If they also grow up near a glacial erratic they often wrap at least one foot thick branch over the rock before sending it to ground. Of all the organic sculptures scattered around this forest my favorites are the ones where the tree truck frames a large rock with the expose side as vertical as a flat screen television.  Aki finds one of these for me but my camera can’t capture its beauty on this dark day. I have to settle for a tree forming a moss covered settee on the forest floor.

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