Friday, June 17, 2011
Lilacs in the Wilderness
On this ranch, there is a steep forested hillside with a northern exposure. It is covered with dense brush, fir and pine, and old fallen timber, which makes it hazardous to descend or ascend. Here will be encountered the ancient rusted barbed wire fence and rotting wood posts marking the property line when least expected, nearly unseen in the shadows. The deer and elk have knocked some of it horizontal in their migrations and now know the best spots to cross. Rotting pines have fallen over it, breaking barbed strands. Young trees have grown through it. Never a favorite haunt, though it was on this slope that Mom found the elusive calypso orchid many years ago. Since the loggers opened up the area last summer, it's easier to look down into the ravine. I felt a thrill then last week when I peered down through the trees and saw something unexpected -- an enormous lilac bush in full bloom growing below among the pine and fir. (Photo taken with telephoto lens.) It wasn't planted by human hands. The original homestead was on the other side of the hill. How then did it come to grow there, unseen by human eyes? Did the wind carry a lilac seed that landed in the right place. Perhaps a bird that had eaten some, sat on a pine branch above -- and nature took its course. And why did it grow alone there? Where it is dark and mysterious, eternally damp, the steep ground covered in emerald moss, rotting stumps and a variety of fungi - a veritable fairyland. Ah! Of course! I should have known.