Monday, June 15, 2009

June 15, Ross Creek Cedars

The sun paces overhead, recklessly casting off energy in all directions, arriving here as shafts and pools of light; search lights that probe, wherever permitted, this valley’s floor. The valley creek flows full probing as well and each; the sun, this creek have arranged and rearranged the form of this land and the life here. They have worked in symphony with time and weather, with lightning and even in this remote, less trampled place, the hand of man, to do so.

First growth cedar giants, as large as 16 feet in diameter, reach as high as the eye to compel the sun’s continued sustenance having gained the ascendancy here. Alive as a grove for 500+ years, many lay bloodied and burned; as criss-crossing barriers to passage, as stark and blackened snags and as creek blocking piles. Those fallen play a part with the rocks in stream song and direction, sometimes as partner; with force of water in the bringing down of a brother cedar through a channel changed; a fall after a fall after a fall. The creek sings a song, strident and insistent, running hard with snow melt, away from it though in the deep shadows of the big cedars, among the fern beds it is just faint choir to the songs of the birds, and the winds rustling of the seedling and bough. The varied thrush, the warbling vireo, the pink-sided junco, the hermit thrush, and others sing for food and family. The creek tears at roots, rolls and crushes rocks, making sand of the eons and forces its way down virgin path to have its say there. The burned snags, lightning lit and now flamed out, serve as a second cavern and nest site and as fodder for bug and forest floor.

For those of us passing through, time stands still in these old cedars and yet looking around the business of life and death and the relentless interminable passage of time scream with signs. Nothing is still in this valley. It pulses with impatient change, all ultimately sun bidden. This beat goes on to the drum of the pileated woodpecker making its square holes; and to us picking our way through this story of everything. A filled cup in a willed walk on the wild side.

Pat Sewell

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