[This fragment is available in an audio version.]
Out on a walk with Lauren, we stopped in a park and I noticed she was holding an evergreen branch with one hand, stroking it with the other. “Sometimes, you just got to hug a tree” she said. No lie. Especially when times are shitty. I can’t put you next to a tree but at least I can take you out in the woods photographically. It’s dark now and we can use all the help we can get.
These pictures were taken on the morning of November 13, 2021. Around noon, the first of the “atmospheric river” storms hit, dumping 200mm or more of rain and causing floods and landslides that killed at least five people and, for a period of several days, entirely cut off Vancouver and environs from the rest of Canada by road.
Dunno about you, but I’m hurting and so’s almost everyone I know. The viruses infecting the population, the torrent of lies and craziness infecting public discourse, the onrushing effects of the climate disaster infecting our lives and landscapes. We’ve got family issues too; but then so does everyone, one flavor or another.
This forest is on Keats Island in Howe Sound; when we bought our cabin there in 2008 we were told that the island had been logged “about a hundred years ago”. I can testify that the trees have grown noticeably in our years here. I won’t see them attain their full height, but if I have any grandchildren, they might.
You probably don’t want to hug most of these; they’re too big to get your arms around, and also the bark tends to be rough and have things living on it. Doesn’t matter, being among them is plenty good enough. And just looking at these pictures helps, for me at least.
As we finished up the walk, raindrops were starting to lash down. That was the first rain tsunami. As I write, we’re now in the gap between the second and third. They used to call them “hundred-year” storms but the climate catastrophe is making that a cruel joke.
I’m not sure we’re gonna make it through the tough times to come but we should work hard on it, as much for the sake of the forests as for ourselves.