Sunday, October 12, 2008

See the trees....

Douglas Fir and Oregon Grape

Camping in the Cascades is one of my most relaxing activities. I love to hike among the tall conifers of Douglas Fir, Spruce, Hemlock, and Pines.

Usually, one can find Oregon Grapes (our State Flower) as undergrowth with these majestic trees. The Oregon Grape looks like Holly with its leathery leaves and can be very pretty with some bright red leaves interspersed among the evergreen leaves. Its fruit are small purplish-black berries. These berries have large seeds and some people use them in salads. They are quite tart though.

I love the smell of the forest after a light rain. Combined with the oxygen given off by all of the various plant life, the air is filled with a sweetness of an aroma that is truly hard to describe. Occasionally on a hike, I would find chipmunks chattering in a tree, running half way down the side, clinging to the bark and looking at me curiously. Then they would dart back up the tree and climb about a third of the way out on one of the lowest branches, sit up and chatter again. Needless to say, I would be extremely amused and would need to find an old growth fallen tree or tree stump and sit for awhile to enjoy the show.

On one such outing I was sitting on a moss-covered tree stump watching these squirrels when I noticed some movement out to the left. It was a large mule deer buck. For some reason I had not spotted the two does that led this magnificent creature into my area until I saw this buck. The does were already disappearing behind some undergrowth further to my left. Looking at the buck, I saw that it was sporting a large 4-point rack of antlers. I stayed quiet trying to remain motionless, for he could not have been more than about 75 feet from me. He foraged on a few berries and some leaves, constantly keeping alert to the sights and sounds of his surroundings. Suddenly, he raised his head quickly and looked into my direction sniffing the air. Oh oh.. he picked up my scent, he must have been downwind from me. I was not sure how he would react so I remained still and guarded. Sometimes these powerful creatures may lunge at you in an attack mode if they feel threatened. Most often, they will jump off, zig-zagging to get away. Well, he snorted twice, his breath bellowing out in hot steam, then stood motionless and listened, flicking his ears into different directions as if he was tuning in on certain sounds. Finally, he made one large jump forward and then leaped off into the forest.

I was totally awestruck and felt so fortunate to have seen this wonderful animal. He had strong muscles and held his head high as he walked. Truly, a creature that commanded respect for all those that witnessed his regal strut.

I then gazed upwards towards the sun's rays that were piercing through the trees casting beams of golden hue upon the forest undergrowth and floor. The beams were hitting me and making me feel warm giving me a natural high feeling. I thought to myself: The sunshine is making you high, you must be the Sunshine Kid! Then I thought of the love I have for Nature and for people in general. It made me think of romantic thoughts, of dreams and fantasies. It made me think of all the good in the world and forget the bad. It made me think of hopes, dreams, and loves that were still to be shared. I was overwhelmed again. It inspired me to write this simple little song, that I will share with you now:

Click here if you care to listen to this song
See the trees...

See the trees how they're
Just like our Love is
Reaching out for the Sky
The Sunshine Kid will get you

Come with me I want to know you
And show you how I'll adore you
For under the Skies above
We can fall in Love

Living with Nature's Beauty
I'll show you what I want
To be
Like a Bird up in the Sky
All I want to do is fly..