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The Forest of Sure Things

August 14, 2012

See the new photo header? It’s a picture I took in the Hoh rain forest, which is a temperate rain forest on the Olympic peninsula in Washington. Eleanor and I spent five hours driving up there from the chess hotel in Vancouver, Washington to see it and take the three-quarters-of-a-mile hike called “The Hall of Mosses” through some of it. We were promised Tolkien-like vistas, and were not disappointed.

On the drive up, we passed through miles of forest and the occasional bare patch dotted with torn-up tree stumps, and every time we went past a bare patch, Eleanor would intone (in Treebeard’s voice) “some of those trees were my friends.”

She and I made the most of our final time together this summer, while Walker was having an excellent time playing chess. Spending all day driving in a rented Chevy without our usual ipod or audiobook playing but with a satellite radio that got a classic rock station made the allusion to one of our current favorite TV shows—Supernatural— irresistible, especially when we stopped for lunch in a diner and discussed Sasquatch sightings.

As you know if you read my post about feeling “halfway up the stairs,” I was not especially looking forward to this trip. And yet it was absolutely wonderful. Washington turned out to be full of forests I didn’t know I wanted to see; going there was like getting a wish I didn’t even know I’d made.

The Forest of Sure Things

In this land the children tear their hearts in half.
Let me explain. If ten things are wanted, only ten
can be had. If a stand of birches is found to be made of tin,
the soil around them will bleed with rust. In this land children
study their magazines in broad daylight, and in their books
any soldier who stumbles will not fall. No one will fall,
a gift parents try not to make much of. At every meal
some is set aside. In every garden a patch lies fallow. At parties
there are whispers of illegal cheeses. Camembert, especially,
is said to taste alive. And so the children learn
to make room. To leave some.
Nothing will come, but nothing will go.
To love like this half must rattle in its pit.
Megan Snyder-Camp

So often, there’s a catch when you find magic. This time, perhaps because I had no expectations, everything seemed like a gift.

Speaking of which, I have some gifts. Comment with your email address if you’d like me to send you a Hoh rain forest or Hall of Mosses bookmark!

16 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    August 15, 2012 9:06 am

    Ohh, that all looks lovely! I’ll have to add that place to my travel wish list.

    • August 15, 2012 8:10 pm

      Yes. It would be a shorter trip from the Seattle area, I think.

  2. aartichapati permalink
    August 15, 2012 9:11 am

    Oh, so pretty! I’ve not been to the Olympic peninsula, but I did a canoe trip through the Cascades, which was beautiful in a totally different way. Love the scenery of the Pacific Northwest!

    • August 15, 2012 8:11 pm

      We went on a riverboat tour of the Columbia Gorge, which is a sea level look at some of the Cascades. It was amazing; after a while, we would turn to each other blearily and announce “look. another stunning mountain vista.”

  3. August 15, 2012 9:15 am

    My mother is from the Pacific Northwest, so I have scattered childhood memories of forests and Pacific Ocean views – fun to see “current day” pics of my vague memories.

    • August 15, 2012 8:12 pm

      As we left the Hoh rain forest, we drove for about 20 minutes and stopped at Ruby beach. The forest is amazingly close to the shore.

  4. August 15, 2012 9:53 am

    Breathtaking, both the images and the poem. Thank you.

    • August 15, 2012 8:13 pm

      Glad you like the poem; I didn’t talk as much about it as I sometimes do, but it really fit my mood.

  5. August 15, 2012 1:01 pm

    I have been admiring that header for days, now!

  6. August 15, 2012 1:45 pm

    Just gorgeous! I’ll have to add this to my wanderlust wishlist.

    • August 15, 2012 8:16 pm

      As if such a wishlist isn’t already long enough, right? As you well know, chess has taken me to some fun places that I might never have visited on my own.

  7. August 17, 2012 5:23 pm

    I love the description of Tolkien-like forests! They sure do look like that!

  8. August 18, 2012 9:39 pm

    The part we were in didn’t have a forbidding air, though. That was good.

  9. August 26, 2012 1:20 pm

    We (hubby and I) are big Supernatural fans too. We spent a few days on the Olympic Peninsula last year, and it was beautiful! Glad you had a magical experience in a non-forbidding forest. We’ve had a creepy PNW forest experience, and it really shook both of us up-never experienced anything like it. (The Supernatural boys should check THAT out!) Anyway, glad you had a good trip. 🙂

    • August 26, 2012 1:42 pm

      Wait, now I want to hear the whole story of the creepy forest experience! We got there in the middle of the day and didn’t even see any elk, although there were lots of signs warning us not to get to close to one, which spooked me a little.

      Yay for Supernatural fans!

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