I really liked one of the prompts in a group I’m a member of on Discord, and I wanted to do an extended reply to it here.
Question: Where is the most interesting place you’ve been? What did you find interesting about it?
This wasn’t a difficult question for me to answer, as I live near what I believe to be the most beautiful, captivating place on the planet. (Not that I’ve seen the entire planet, but I have a feeling I’d be hard pressed to find anything that could out-shine it or my connection to it.)
That place? The Olympic and Cascade Rainforests of western Washington state.
I could spend an entire day exploring the moss draping from branches of trees, or the lichen on a fallen tree trunk. I could pick a spot, a single spot, and spend an entire day exploring just within that spot… and then pick another on the next day. Another on the next.
I love that the terrain that is not flat or soft nor hard. Instead it is rugged, with places of soft, spongy earth, and spots where the jagged rocks of the mountain beneath the soil jut out to trip you.
Speaking of tripping… I love the roots. They are everywhere, exposed and reaching. The earth is moist and fertile, roots lift out of it. They fan out beneath the earth, other than these surfacing of knobs and knots that are like the joints of a swimmer poking out of the water’s surface.
Lie down on the forest floor in places like this, and even in the driest of summers, over time your clothing becomes damp and then heavy with moisture as the forest lends some of its bounty to you.
Here in this place I know the mosses and the trees, the ferns and the mushrooms; I know the slimy and wet, I know the crisp and crunchy. I know the fronds and the spores, the molds and the crumbling decay of fallen trees that give life to all that claim them home. The flora and fauna here are my family.
These rainforests are filled with life and death. It is in the air and touches your skin, you breathe it in with every breath. I love the rich myriad of greens and browns, the dank and earthy smells, the muffled and whispering sounds in the kind of quiet stillness that feels sacred. I love the damp darkness and decay that blends seamlessly with lushness of growth and green.
This is my home.
I live in the city, but it is among the trees and the moss, the decay and the growth, the earth and the water…. it is there that is home. These places are a balm upon my soul, and no matter where I travel or whatever else I see, I do not think I could ever find any place more engaging and more interesting to me than here.