During my family's recent trip to Cannon Beach, we hiked through Ecola State Park. One of the most awe-inspiring sights I witnessed was the Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), with accompanying Polypodium scouleri, photographed below. I had been a little disappointed that most of the spruce in this forest seemed to lack the huge lower limbs that become trunks in their own right, as I'm so used to seeing on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington. Then I came across this mighty specimen and its neighbors.
Check out the one in the right foreground. I've seen something similar on the trunks of dawn redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), but never a spruce.
But back to these towering pillars of the forest. Three trees are actually growing in very close proximity, but the one on the left is the most impressive. They're all probably around 5-6 feet in diameter, at least. And check out the two heavy limbs running straight out from the trunk of the largest one, turning 90 degrees to grow straight up as new leaders. Those limbs were at least 3 feet in diameter. Provided you don't have a fear of heights, these are the kinds of limbs you could stroll along easily. Such trees bring me back to the wonder of childhood, when everything seemed bigger and full of possibilities. This may sound strange, but I feel comforted by these reminders that I'm a very young, very small part of a much larger, older universe. The world will keep spinning and life will go on, regardless of what mistakes I make or what terrible things people do in the world.
Well, that was a bit heavy for me. Let's get back to reality by admiring the aerial beds of Polypodium scouleri (leathery or Scouler's polypody). I've seen big colonies of this fern before, but never like this.
I stood and simply observed these trees for endless moments, relishing the natural beauty. I could go back right now, terrible weather be damned, and simply lose myself in nature.