“ The heart of another is a dark forest.” – Gloria Vanderbilt
Rain is falling, the dark forest beyond my windows mist-shrouded and full of mystery; I can almost hear the raindrops as they fall onto the trees, a soothing sound that drowns out any city noise still present at this late hour.
I have always been drawn to the forests, any small woods or wild garden-like parks no matter where I’ve lived. One of my earliest memories must have ignited this desire to seek out and go “into the green” – it happened while on a train trip with my Mom as a very young child (we were traveling from British Columbia to the province of Alberta to visit my grandparents). I remember seeing a very large pale full moon gently cradled in the black velvet of the sky outside the train’s window, the tall trees of that first forest an army of silent sentinels moving fast across the landscape and the wonder of seeing a large stag revealed between the trees as if by magic.
Just days ago, I found myself back on the familiar trails of our own urban forest, happy to be out in the warmth of the sun and anticipating the beginning of the Summer ritual of taking a meal outside especially at the table for two at the Stanley Park Railway Concession which mysteriously is more often than not vacant upon our arrival. A carton of freshly fried potatoes made by the always friendly Travis adds the perfect note to our homemade sandwich and salad lunch! Afterwards, we can be found on a one or two hour ramble and this particular day found us on trails that had dessert waiting for us – we came across lots of bushes filled with bright red and soft orange salmon berries which are in season now. These berries are native to our West Coast and have a slightly sweet, tart-like taste – it felt very primal to fill our bellies with these jewels from nature, the air filled with birdsong underneath the sheltering green canopy of the forest.
It was a picture of another forest canopy that called me (urgently, it seemed) to once again spend time in the forest; my best days are when I move between both worlds, gathering energy from my urban setting and taking the time to forest-bathe, sometimes one just needs a reminder every now and then!
Journal Entry: January 04, 2005
Another delicious breakfast at Cafe San Angel and journal writing – this is one of my favourite activities here in Vallarta. We also get our excercise walking to this well-loved restaurant from our new digs, a brisk 30 minute walk on the malecon. It’s a very warm morning and we plan to take a bus to Mismaloya for a small hike near the jungle (filled with tropical and thorn forests as well as many palm plantations) and through the “Night of the Iguana” abandoned film set ruins – we love to look at the beautiful coloured butterflies, iguanas of all kinds and the clownfish swimming in the sea.
Journal Entry: August 04, 2000 – Eco-Summer Orca Base Camp, Port McNeill, B.C. (a very rare journal entry compliments of a prize won by my Mom from “Savour B.C.”).
Just a short note before closing my eyes. After a very long car ride from Victoria on beautiful Vancouver Island, we arrived at our hotel. We being, Mom & I, her friend Linda accompanied by her son, Tony. We had supper at the pub and then met with our guides. It sounds like we are going to have a very nice camping trip! We leave in the morning by water taxi, to a small island, where base camp is set up. There we will have a nice brunch and get some instructions in sea kayaking. We will be using the 2 man kayaks as they are very sea worthy. There are a lot of currents in Johnston Strait where we will be kayaking. This will keep us all safe! I will write more tomorrow, I’m starting to feel sleepy…
Journal Entry: August 06, 2000
I’m sitting on a log, drinking a cup of herbal tea and relaxing. I cannot believe I kayaked 3 1/2 miles yesterday in Johnston Strait! We didn’t see any orca whales but I did see one deer and lots of eagles. These eagles are really big! We kayaked through kelp forests around the island we are camping on and explored some small bays. We also kayaked close to the shoreline and checked out the varied rock formations situated there. What a great first day!
One of our co-campers named Dan caught three pink salmon off of our island. We had a tasty supper last night of salmon and rice. Ian, one of our guides, made supper – he used fennel and curry on the salmon and used lots of good veggies in the rice. Ian and Bill (our other guide) make sure we have lots of snacks to munch on throughout the day. Fruit, trail mix, cookies and M & M’s, yum! Our breakfast this morning was pancakes and smokies!
Today has been mellow so far. More pink salmon have been caught – kayaking has been delayed due to weather (gale force winds are predicted!), we hope to get out on the water later this afternoon..