Last night I was awoken to the sound of trucks--large trucks and heavy machinery barreling through the forest. I was called to this place through a dream. Well to be more exact I was called here through Witchcamp first and then a dream.
We were going to have this years Free Cascadia Witchcamp in the Elliot State Forest. We ultimately did not for a number of reasons. A large part of it was due to the sudden and tragic death of a sweet sister born of the roots of the earth. This years camp was also larger than expected and we were anticipating a group larger than the site in the forest could hold.
Two nights ago, as I lay in the safety of a bed,
the safety of a home,
the safety of my lovers arms,
I dreamt of this place.
The forest came to me that night.
In the dream, I was walking through the woods on a path. The forest was teeming with life. Sweet dappled sunlight shone through the trees as I walked through a rows of giant ancestors. There was an active under story--with ferns, oregon grape, and trillium among many other plant friends. Birds squawked and sang and animals scurried along.
I was simply walking as I took in the magnificence of this ancient place. I felt the ancestors of the forest nourish my spirit in the dream world.
I continued walking.
The forest shifted.
The tall trees became stumps.
The understory disappeared.
The dappled sunlight grew strong and glaring, imposing heat, drying up the moisture.
The birds stopped singing.
I was overwhelmed by death.
I awoke from the dream with the memory of the magnificence destroyed close to my heart.
And so I came here.
I knew I was driving along the forest before I saw any signs. I felt my heart drop and heavy sadness take over the land amidst the warm setting sun. It was late when I turned onto the unmarked but proper road to enter the park. The sun was low and the night quickly creeping up.
I left Portland late yesterday and so I didn't have time to stop for a map. I kicked myself for not trying to at least, look at a map of the park or some sort of directions before I got here. The park is relatively small and does not have big entrance signs or maps posted along the road like many parks. So I followed my gut and turned off on a small dirt road to look for a place to pitch my tent before the dark set in.
I admit, I was feeling nervous--maybe even a little afraid. It was already pretty dark and I had no idea where I was going to sleep. When I'm solo backpacking I'm not usually worried because the barrier of the woods feels like protection from the creeps and boozing men you sometimes encounter closer to the roads. The heaviness of the energy in the forest was impacting me. I could feel the fear of death among the creatures in the forest.
The first stars were emerging when I finally found a place to camp. I pitched my tent, brushed my teeth, and got into my sleeping bag as quickly as possible. I fell asleep admist the dark swirling energy.
I awoke in the darkness to the sound of trucks--large trucks and heavy machinery barreling through the forest. I laid awake in my sleeping bag listening to the trucks until the sun began to emerge.
At sunrise, I took down my tent, loaded up my car and followed the trucks. They led me up an isolated logging road, twisted and curvy, the road climbed high into the mountains. They led me to a site where logging of this ancient forest has begun.
The Elliot State Forest is the largest original coastal forest left in Oregon. According to Cascadia Wildlands, it's the "only place in only place in the Pacific Northwest where vast tracts of virgin rainforest are being razed." The forest is home to a number of threatened species of owls and other animals. In the 1990s there were significant struggles to protect this forest. Concessions were made by the forest defenders with the agreement that the land would be protected for generations. Those agreements are being broken and an amazing group of activists are fighting to protect this ancient, sacred, place.
Can you help save this site of original coastal forest from being destroyed? Please take a min and write to those in positions of power and ask them to halt all logging and protect this sacred place. Clicking on this link will take you to a site where you can submit a letter.
Below are pictures from what I found driving up that logging road.
It is with a heavy heart that I share these images with you.
But I have hope amidst the heaviness that this forest will be protected.
May we not close our eyes when we witness suffering.
May we open our hearts and be moved to action.
And may our actions touch the hearts of others to support the healing of our communities and our sacred mother earth.
Aho, Ashe, and Blessed Be.