Naturalist (2021-10)

bent tree

Forest Musings

For the first time since I found the Pomona Woods property, I took some time last week to just sit with my journal and Luna and listen to what the forest had to say. I am usually busy with a task or happily hiking with friends and family through the land, so it was nice to take this moment of solitude and quiet.
 
The first thing I notice on this warm August day is the breeze moving through the canopy way above me. Down on the forest floor, it is but the whisper of a lover’s breath on my bare shoulder. I can feel my heart rate slowing and the muscles on my face relax with each breath. My ears tune in to the sound of a single leaf falling through levels of cedar, hemlock, fir and maple. Occasionally branches touch in the wind creating the drumbeat of the forest. There is a dull whoosh of traffic here on the lower part of the property where I’ve chosen to sit, but it is just background and I find myself sinking deeper and deeper into the breath of the trees.

walking tree

 The tree I am sitting on is a cedar that ran horizontally along the ground until it could find a place in the canopy where it could race up to the sunlight. I love trees that bear the evidence of their thirst for survival. The trees that are bent in funny shapes from where another tree fell against them. I also love the ones that grew up on top of a fallen “nurse log” and now have a space between the trunk and the ground where that long ago nurse finally decomposed.
 
We are like these trees. We are shaped by the physical environment we have experienced as well as the people who have passed through our lives – still present or now gone for whatever reason. These strange shapes, missing limbs and contortions to reach the light show the tree’s struggle to endure, to thrive. I believe we are like trees and folk art – more beautiful for the evidence of imperfection.

— Ann Burkhart, SWS Class of 2021, Owner, Pomona Woods, August 22, 2021, Photos by Ann Burkhart

bent tree

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