my shoe pressed onto the moss in the tongass national forest.
the guide explained that the air quality here is 98% pure. i felt lucky to be breathing it. lucky to be seeing a bald eagle’s nest holding two fledglings with mom and dad watching us closely. i felt lucky to sidestep a banana slug and that i remembered a better way to sign tree bark.
hi, my name is zena and i’m lucky.
the guide tells us that it hasn’t rained here in three days so the rainforest is in a drought.
here they get an average of 17 feet of rainfall a year. so after three days without rain things that are normally vibrant green begin to turn grey.
sometimes nature is the best way to understand the human heart.
walking through the forest under a tree that is 900 years old, where moss and fungi have claimed every fallen thing, i think of my own rainforest of a heart after three days with no true word said, no living water, no illumination of the troubles of my life and my vibrant green becomes grey, too.
how much of jesus christ do i need to thrive, to stay green, to live?
more than i think i do.
the oldest tree found in this forest was 1600 years old. western red cedars, spruce and hemlock reaching tall and straight to the sky, eagles nesting in their branches.
we stop on the beach and the guide describes each sea creature on the shore that the low tide has revealed.
sea stars, urchins, sea cucumbers.
they are so healthy, pulse beating purples and oranges. i notice one tiny sea star, a skeleton that didn’t grow but remains here, beautiful but not alive.
these guys are hearty, our guide tells us, they can stay out of the water for up to six hours before they start to die.
maybe i need to take that to heart.
six hours until my own colorful, messy self will start down the road to drying out, brittle – a shell of its former self.
i’m remembering something out in alaska this week seeing whales and otters and water in its various forms.
i’m remembering how beautiful every human heart is.
how hidden things can be discovered and kept safe.
how beauty is good for the human soul and can teach us about ourselves.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. – John Muir