The Weekly Gardener 1

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Pacific Northwest

Northern Light

Horseshoe Bay

As we left the shore and I looked back at the beautiful, surreal landscape of Horseshoe Bay, it felt like all the worries and the cares of the world were also left behind to fade into the distance. The vast, placid waters worked their magic on me too, as they did on so many travelers throughout the centuries.

The Pacific draws you in with the irresistible pull of its enormous mass, and makes you feel small and irreplaceable at the same time; its essence breathes peace into your very soul.

I have heard stories from people who have braved the waters of this big ocean, and they all talk about its peaceful vastness, almost as if they were describing an enormous creature whose movements and intentions they could not understand, but a benign and contemplative one, most of the time.

I watched the puffy clouds play games of light and shadow with the tree tops of the northern rain forest, and I watched the afternoon light lend sparkle to the snow covered mountain peaks.

I watched the glimmer of the waters and the movements of the sun, spellbound by the sudden shifting of perspective from transient concerns to permanence.

All living things are drawn to water, because we instinctively understand that our existence depends on it and for this reason its proximity makes us feel safe. When water presents in this quantity it can be overwhelming, exhilarating, and a bit disorienting too. I don't know how to describe it, sometimes words are not enough.

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The Rainforest

Rainforest

It is not called a rainforest for nothing. It rained when we visited it, but I didn't care. Wispy clouds of fog weaved through the trees, giving the quiet forest an almost ghostly appearance.

Some of the trees in Capilano Park are hundreds of years old, if that doesn't give one pause, nothing will. I paid my respects to Grandma Capilano, the dean, flaunting the respectable age of approximately eight hundred years old. He, she, it is a Douglas Fir, and just to put things in perspective about what this age represents, she's a contemporary of the Magna Carta.

Capilano Park hosts three of the most common species of trees in the Pacific temperate rainforest: the Douglas fir, the red cedar and the western hemlock.

Here and there thick and luxurious moss covers bare branches in apple green velvet.

The rain fell steadily, the kind of rain that lasts for days, not hours, but when you are under the dense tree canopy, very little of it manages to push through all the way to the ground, so we walked around the park in a diffuse, surprisingly warm mist, that coated everything - the trees, the ferns, the rocks around the pond, the gravely path and us.