We are berry picking again, a feast for breakfast tomorrow. Porridge and berry mush. Ken off with his bug hat and his microphone. Wanting to pick up the songs of the exquisite little birds we cannot see. Mandy always with her cameras, scouring the forest floor. Saw nuthatches on the trunks of trees out the front of the cabin, their tiny quick movements like the gestures of wrens.
On the forest floor, the little berries, plants snaking through the underbrush, berry bumps like tiny diamonds on the fruit. Leaves, twigs, mosses, tiny plants, tiny insects. You don't know what you might step on. But it is always soft, bearing you up as you walk. Renews itself from its own detritus, moss bodies make new moss, tree bodies give life to the shell-like fungus, the dropped leaves feed the next tree. We feed back to the forest with our scraps. Thank you, here is some food for you too. Not that it needs our leavings, but they are degradable, edible. Someone, something can eat them.
And we leave our blood here in the forest, thank you, and our DNA goes into it. Ticks, skeeters, whatever bites and takes blood. So we become part of it.
Forest breathes in the carbon dioxide, sucks it in, breathes back oxygen, lungsfull. We know the drill, the cycle. Self-organizing, self-sustaining, self-protecting. Forest invites bears, wolves, coyotes, lynx, to keep out the unwanted. It is not romantic. But it romances itself in spring. It has only a few months to be alive. Half the year it's under snow, the other half under leaf. It says, I was here before you, I shall be here after you. Forest comes after glaciers. Peopling and peopling the land. Rock. Nexus, centre, all elements and the axis of spirit, all directions, all seasons. Making life.
Photography by Mandy Malazdrewich
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