The Second Growth

The wind shook our little car on the way to this morning’ trailhead. With the help of the windshield wipers I could make out the road through sheets of rain. Aki still whined with excitement a few blocks before we reached the entrance to the Marriot Trail. Two ravens were waiting for us. They flew ahead and landed on a spruce tree and watched. The ravens followed as we walked along a creek and then out onto a very wet meadow. No longer inhibited by the forest trees, the wind blasted the little dog and I. We pushed on. The ravens did not. 

            The trail led us into a forest still recovering from being clearcut. Like all second growtht forests, it is dark even on a sunny day. Thanks to the dense canopy formed by densely packed spruce and hemlock trees, not enough light can reach the forest floor to support life. We drop into a creek drainage which was never logged. Some of the thick spruce have been growing here for three hundred years. 

            The second growth forest continues on the other side of the street. Thin trees, twenty feet long and stripped of bark lay scattered on the ground. Most still have a root ball. Micro-bursts of wind must have uprooted them years ago, and tossed them about like an angry giant. Here and there new trees have taken root in an old growth stump. If left alone, nature wastes nothing.

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