These photos are about the forest, which has given me so much. I never knew what moss meant, I never knew what emerald felt like, until I found it. The forest is the most beautiful, lonely place. It will sting you with its nettles, it will feed you the sweetest blackberries, its thorns will write red lines across your thighs, and it will give you the softest moss naps. Some of the trees have sad faces painted on their bark. Some of the trees have tiny Buddha statues hidden in their nooks. There are plant roots that taste like licorice, banana slugs making glittery paths, and sword ferns that fold into perfect crowns.
Most of the forest will never fit into photographs, and neither will my favorite memories. So here are some tiny scrapbook thoughts, which I will read again one day when I am in the city and I will remember the the quiet things, which are so important:
~ In the indian summer, when the nights are warm, the most magic of all magic: When the algae on the beach becomes phosphorescent and glows electric blue when it is activated by motion. Every footstep you take in the wet sand leaves a glowing footprint. And when you take off all your clothes and go swimming in the glacier water, you turn into a god floating in a glowing cloud, swimming around leaving an electric wake, drawing light trails with your hands.
~ The time I fell asleep by the creek reading "The Book of Chameleons". I woke up with to a chipmunk sitting on my belly. When I opened my eyes and we startled one another so badly, I nearly flung my book into the water and he dropped his half nibbled little seed.
~ The rope swing across the ravine. The tree houses in the swamp. The Wishing Tree with the rainbow bicycle bell that you must ring from the highest branch. The Watch Tower on the hill with the beaded hammock. The Leopard Nap Tree, a Madrone with soft red bark.
~ Wandering around in the forest at night. Trusting my feet to find the way in the blackness, finding roots that glowed a soft green light as they decomposed.
~ In those trees Duckie taught me how to make fire with tinder sticks, how to twist bark into cordage then into rope, and how to make a nest of leaves that can keep you warm through the night.
~ When I hung my earrings from a mushroom and slept in a bed of pine duff. In between my dreams I listened to the unknown night animals, calling from high in the trees, making sounds like wolves, monkeys, and parrots all at once.
~ On my birthday, when I made everyone walk through the trees with candles. The flickering light made us terribly lost -which was exactly what I wished would happen- and we spent the night tromping around in circles, laughing.
~ When I found many shards of white pottery - from what seemed like 30 different sets of dishes - and I arranged them into spirals in the moss.
~ The boy who sang me all the words to all my favorite songs as we wander lost in the moonlight.