Koosah Falls on the McKenzie River about forty five minutes from Springfield, Oregon.
I didn't really realize how truly rooted I am in the Pacific Northwest until I started
working my way through Rae Beth's books. She describes a guided imagery
exercise for a wildwood mystic. (and it's not too far from the Celtic view
of the world) I love the description of the World Tree and I even found a
very nice pendant showing a great oak with roots that go as deep as the
branches are tall. Trouble is.......I didn't grow up in the shadows of oaks,
maples, or beeches. Outside of a few trees in the yards around Oakridge, and
the two dwarf apple trees in our yard I grew up surrounded by evergreens.
And a single evergreen just won't do as an image for a world tree.
A world forest? Perhaps. But a single evergreen simply won't survive by
itself. Where an oak or maple has a low lying single trunk that branches and
branches and branches an evergreen spikes straight up. I've seen a few
cedars with a double trunk, maybe a triple but that's it. The branches tend
to slope downwards to survive heavy snowfalls and the root system is usually
shallower. This makes evergreens vulnerable in ice storms or severe
windstorms. The best defense? Grow in huge groves so that each tree is
protected by the others. So a world forest as a symbol of faith isn't too
far off. Each tree protects the others and any damage to one tree threatens
the rest. So instead of one great tree, I find myself picturing a world with a great
forest in every part of the globe with the roots reaching for the center.
So, where did this come from? As I read her guided imagery exercise my
little avatar didn't go looking for an oak or a maple. It made tracks for
the tall timber. Some place with tall trees, ferns, deep moss, some deadfall
for the mushrooms and lichens to grow on, and some berry bushes. If a
waterfall makes an appearance that is a definite bonus
If I can't have a waterfall then a drippy, misty, coastal forest will do very nicely.
So if my little spirit self doesn't head for the Cascades it heads for the coast. Not to the beach, to the great basalt headlands graced with low-lying evergreens shaped
by the winds. To that Pacific Ocean that William Clark called the Great
Western Ocean. When he made the entry he said he wasn't about to call it the
Pacific. He hadn't had one pacific (peaceful) day since he laid eyes on it.
And silence. Not the scary, wake up in the middle of the night, where is
everybody silence. But the root deep silence of the world before the first
word was spoken. Not a silence where there is no sound. Bird song, wind song
and water song are part of that silence. A silence with no background hum. A
silence that sings.