Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Window of Opportunity

On our way to visit family in my hometown, we were held up at the entrance to Cathedral Grove by a head-on collision, just a few cars ahead of us.

My daughter told me my window of opportunity for seeing Graydon, my grandson, awake, began at about two-thirty pm.

As we left our home in Qualicum Beach, we discussed the possibility of an accident; the last three times we've visited, we have been held up by problems on the road.

It had been two weeks since I had visited with Graydon...at 4 months old, he was changing daily. But, we reasoned, what were the chances... we had met our quota of bad accidents requiring highway closure.

Not so, apparently. Cathedral Grove enthralls visitors. Driving through for the first time, people's attention wanders, as they stare at the huge Trees that have stood for centuries...and inevitably there are car crashes, on this narrow road.

We sat on the highway for an hour and a half, waiting for clearance to travel onward. While we sat, I took pictures, mused on the problem, watched people and listened to conversations that took place as people wandered by, on their way to satisfy curiosity or find knowledge over the length of wait time.

It was interesting, after I swallowed my disappointment at not being able to see Graydon immediately. Mostly tourists wandered by... the locals staying in their vehicles with either a good book or indulging in a nap...

There were not many older folks trudging up the road; mostly youngsters and young adults ran and leaped past the car, their faces filled with the excitement of an adventure. We had just passed Cameron Lake, a large, deep lake, by which the highway ran alongside. In their minds, anything could lay just ahead.

One young woman discussed the possibility of Alligators inhabiting the low-lying area beside our car, after her friend wanted to find the way to the lake.

I waited for one of her friends to laugh and challenge the Alligator statement, but they believed her! On they went, discussing the safest way, wanting a pathway that was clearly defined, so that Bear and Alligator would not bother them.

As I wondered how a young woman could be educated and not learn that Alligators do not live in northern climes, a young family came along. The youngest son, about three years of age, asked his mother...Who lives in there, Mommy?

She said...Alligators!

The little boy stared into the trees, his hand in his smiling mother's...and I heard his questions begin. Where, how, why...? His mother's voice dwindled as she embellished on her story, keeping her son occupied and listening all the while.

I almost believed everybody knew something I didn't...had Alligators moved into the swampy headlands of Cameron Lake?

As I watched, I identified tourists from Europe, Asia and the US. There were German tourists, speaking in their language, which I am still able to understand, having been born there. I noticed that the majority of the visitors were just a bit uncomfortable in what must seem like a deep, dark wild Forest to them...I lost count of how many commented on their nervousness at encountering wild life...I heard Cougar, Bear, Grizzly Bear, Mountain lion mentioned, with a wary glance around...oh, and Alligator.

I wondered what might happen to the people, all now leaving their cars, when traffic resumed. I fantasized about the cars being abandoned, about tourists being cornered by Grizzly Bears and Alligators, not able to return to their vehicles. I saw them become Tree People, with a civilization all their own, living in Trees and upended Roots.

I built a story around these beings, who, through pure happenstance, ended up living in Cathedral Grove...a shy, quiet group who kept to themselves, staring at visitors to the Park from between branches and high in Trees.

Would they befriend all those Kittens and Puppies that are dropped off in the Park to fend for themselves? Would they re-member the old ways? How? Would the tourists who were fearful of the Forest learn to befriend it? What would they take from the Old World, to apply to the New? Who would lead the group...would it be the authoritative woman who led her group of three other women? Or the young lad on the skateboard, who loved to show his prowess?

I fleshed out the story, lost in the Dream of the Forest People.

From a distance, I heard cars start...I woke to see the members of the Lost Tribe running back to their vehicles, children far ahead of their parents...running, running around the bend and out of my sight.

We continued on our way, over the small bridges, past the banged up vehicles attached to the tow trucks, past the parking lot of the Park, and past all the cars that were lined up in the opposite direction.

We were an hour or two away from the Window of Opportunity given me by my daughter. On the one hand, I had a lovely Dream...one given me by the Spirit of the Forest, one filled with excitement and adventure, one that gave my over-active Mind a sorely required rest.

And on the other...Graydon was still awake when I arrived...full of his incredible, blue-eyed charm and the beginning awareness of himself and others.

He stayed awake for quite awhile, considering he has two teeth and is working on the others. And then, he fell asleep in my arms.

The Universe allowed me to fulfill two Windows this day. Does it get any better than this?

15 comments:

  1. I just bounced over from the Alabama Kitchen Sink, you have a very nice blog. I will be back when I have more time.

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  2. No, Marion, it does not.

    What a wonderful post!

    BFF,
    Miss T

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  3. No, Marion, I can't think of anything that would top having the little one fall asleep in your arms. Despite the danger, your reward waited for you.

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  4. Dear Marion,
    I apologize for not being by to visit in a long time. My everyday world required a full presence. The Cathedral pines are wonderful and surely the Druid's were right that the forests were the first Temples. Om Shanti

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  5. I would love to read your story about The Tree People of Cathedral Grove.
    What a wonderful opportunity you had to be with nature and people and spirit and talk with all at the very same instant. They continue to light and feed your fire to place words on a page and let the rest of us enter your soul. Then the rest of the day with your grandson was the richest reward of it all. Thank so much for making us part of your journey. I have to return to my branch now and sleep under the wide leaves.

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  6. I love the woods! We recently had to have the three trees closest to our house cut down, and I'm still grieving.

    I really do enjoy reading every post you write.

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  7. Sarge,

    Welcome! I'm going to enjoy looking through your blog as well. I've always enjoyed your comments on Sheila's blog.

    Miss T,

    Thank you, love your new photo!

    Sheila,

    Absolutely...ya gotta go through trials to get there.

    Princess,

    It's been a busy summer. I haven't been able to visit my favourite blogs as much as I like, either. I hope to be able to change my schedule in the upcoming autumn.

    I'm happy to see you, anytime.

    Dave,

    Yes, I can see you as a member of the Lost Tribe. I do believe I'll write you in, lol...you can be the Healer/Hermit who lives deep in the caves of the mountains and the people only discover him when...you see, it only takes a little nudge, for me to go flying off, lol!

    DB, it takes a lot out of me to see Trees cut. I can certainly understand the grief you feel...those old Trees become companions to me.

    They lose their lives, when they're cut, and they take with them a little bit of me.

    Hope you're feeling better this morning!

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  8. From the opening of my cave I wave and with a sparkle in my eye and a wink, magic dew falls from the trees on you. Your spirit guide
    smiles and so do you.

    What fun this is.

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  9. Well, Dave, I guess the commenters on this blog would all make great members of the lost tribe!

    Miss T could be our tribe comedian; Sheila could be our legal beagle and the voice of authority, Sarge could do just what his name implies, Princess would find beauty and teach us all how to see it, and DB would mother us all.

    It's got the makings!

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  10. I loved this. If I ever get held up in traffic by having to wait for an accident to be cleared, I want you to be there.

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  11. Great post Marion. Despite the delay, you had a welcome opportunity to bond with nature and the ultimate reward of being able to spend quality time with Graydon whilst he fell asleep in your arms. Sounds like wonderful scenery. From your vivid description, I felt like I was there. You have that wonderful writing ability of being able to transport your readers to wherever you choose.

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  12. I am turning the wood chips into composts, at least! I did some research on something called Lasagna Compost, so I've picked out a spot we were going to pay to have soil brought into. Each week, I'm laying down a thick base of newspaper, piling layers of the chips, household scraps, dirt, and Nitrogen fertilizer up where we need more good soil. I don't have to turn it, or anything. By next year, our trees will have made a great area for some good grass or a garden - and no weeds! Haven't decided on that part yet.

    So at least I'm getting some satisfaction from losing the trees. And I'm sure the tree man sells the logs, either for furniture or boards, or split for firewood. So I can remind myself that they died a good death, at least.

    So, I'm the mama, eh?? Pity the poor Tribe LOL!!

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  13. Hello, that luck that I know you. I wait for by my blog to you. To the right there is a button translator. Kisses from Uruguay.

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  14. Jan,

    I bet whole scenes of books currently on the market are written during some of those long waits. Someone should do a survey!

    Naomi,

    Thank you. I am so glad you were there with me; it was great fun! I have written stories in my head forever. There is nothing better than a long drive or wait for my imagination to take right over!

    DB,

    I have made new beds by the method you describe for years. When I first started it, friends said it would never work, and most others were skeptical.

    But it works extremely well...a way to garden and nourish new soil for arthritic sufferers!

    And that's why you're the Mama! lol We'd need someone who wouldn't give up.

    Monica,

    Welcome! I will visit your site as soon as I finish this...hope to see you again.

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  15. I love the woods. As a teen I idolized Thoreau, and loved Mary Stewart's version of Merlin, living in a cave. I can easily imagine living as a hermit in an old forest. When we camped in the redwoods or the Sierras, as kids, we slept out in the open on cots in our sleeping bags, and listened to the bears rattle trash cans at night. Never saw a 'gator there, though. ;)

    There can be no better end to your adventure than a grandchild falling asleep in your arms.

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