Nature’s Silent Message

“Into the woods I go, to loose my mind and find my soul”

It’s that time of year when we can all start to get back on the trails for summer. Some roads, like the one to Bear and Blue Lake may not be open yet, due to too much snow, but others are, like the Baker Creek and Dike Trails.

I had the opportunity to hike the Baker Creek Trail, and connector trail through what used to be called the Fern Forest over Mother’s Day weekend. It was only the 2nd time I’ve been on the trails since last fall. It is my understanding some trees were lost to high winds, in this area, but others have been logged. Possibly for mitigation purposes, but the fern forest is now dead. Wood ferns need shade to survive and there is no shade anymore. There was dead wood everywhere which seems to counteract the purpose of mitigation. Now what is left is just kindling.

Fern Forest last Fall

The earth was dry as a bone, and little to no run off whatsoever from snow melt. There was one tiny wet spot the dogs found and didn’t want to leave, but that was all. It was as if it was all just dust, waiting for a forest fire.

It used to be, when I can get outside and hike, “I’m peacefully unhurried. There is no urgency, no race against the clock, so I relax into the experience itself. No more preparing for the moment. Everything is the moment.” Nature’s Silent Message, Scott Stillman

These conditions worry me. In my opinion, what we have done is made the forest more amicable for a fire to blow through and destroy everything in it’s path. Logged trees left to dry out and die, would only fuel a forest fire, not mitigate it. It seems very counter intuitive to me.

It’s tough to relax when the forest can’t regrow and nourish the soil the forest and fauna need to thrive on.

In our city lives, surrounded by cars and trucks, expansive freeways and horns and chatter, we feel disconnected from life. But I’m starting to feel the disconnect here too.

In Huerfano County, Colorado, which includes towns such as Walsenburg, La Veta and Cuchara, I forget some days what it is like to be hurried. The laid back feeling of mountain living is now my permanent sabbatical. The fondness I have for quiet solitude permeates my soul and more importantly, my mind. Stress floats away and dissipates easily, until now.

I have spent my life as a jack of all trades, yet mastering none. I have multi-tasked and dawdled, led and been led. All the while headed down a road that was mostly, not of my choosing. I knew I needed to simplify. I needed to slow down, to stop chasing the roll. Let it go. Isn’t that why people visit our area? Isn’t it to get away from the city life with all it’s frantic pacing? But what if tourists visit here and don’t find the quiet solitude they were searching for? The overflowing streams, the verdant landscape?

“Only by understanding the dark side of the moon, do we appreciate the light, and not take it for granted. Only by facing the shadows of ourselves……can we be complete.” Diane Sylvan

What lessons does this offer us? For me, when I listen there is a sadness combined with a fading hope. I slow down, take time to notice and to listen.

What the fern forest looked like a year ago

We’ve got to do something to help save our eco environment in our area. Or we will just continue to take away that, which only God can grow? For our own personal use? Pretty soon there won’t be anything left to preserve. We have to take steps to mitigate fire but at what cost.? The Baker Creek connector trail looks like a slaughter house. It’s now my least favorite hike and I doubt I will take it again.

2 thoughts on “Nature’s Silent Message

  1. This was a most thought provoking essay and your quotes added so much. While I am so looking forward to my annual return to Cuchara where I have renewed my spirit for the trials and uncontrollable happenings of life, I too am concerned for our environment and the long term drought. Thank you as always for your well written insight. See you soon. Shelley


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