Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Around 2:30 in the morning, the sky pales to a starless dusky purple. This isn't a change I witness. At 2:30 a.m. I'm soundly asleep, though I unconsciously hide from the rising sun, draw my head deeper into my warm sleeping bag, creating a layer of condensation that smells like morning breath. But after a solid week of rain, a bad smell has to be particularly potent to get noticed.

When I thrust my head out of my sleeping bag, there are no tent walls between me and this drenched forest dripping with moisture and birdsong, the drumming of grouse echoing through ravines, the presence of the vast northern ocean just over a hummock. 

Amazingly, it's not raining. Sunlight filters through the trees, through my translucent tarp strung between cedars. I'm nestled between these great towering trees and the trunks of those that have fallen, my face inches from a massive, mossy log smelling of dirt. I've slept cradled against it as it slowly crumbles back into the ground and new saplings send shoots off its loamy remains. I'm surrounded by generations of trees, below and above, some growing and some decaying.

If fecundity has a smell, it is the smell of the morning air here. My face is inches from the ground, inches from a thick carpet of moss littered with twigs and sprigs of cedar. There is something wonderful about sleeping on this springy ground without a tent and waking with my face so close to the earth. Staying in my fetid sleeping bag just a minute longer, I inhale not its scent but that of the moss draped over everything in this oversized forest. Moss that has absorbed centuries of rain and salty marine air. It is saturated, steaming, sending the moisture back up again. I awake, and I am immediately part of this primordial land – like everything else that has fallen into it, it has absorbed me. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Nature Blog Network