🌬On an early morning this past summer, a group of youth and I awoke to a somewhat eerie scene. It felt like something out of a horror movie...
It became nearly impossible to use the sun to help navigate or tell time, which was a particular nuisance that day since we were going to be hiking off-trail, following compass bearings through dense Gambier Island old-growth to get to our destination. We initially thought the sky was filled with dense fog. Then, as we ascended out of a valley, we caught the scent of wood smoke. 🔥
I told the teens that winds must have carried the smoke hundreds of kilometers from massive forest fires in BC and Washington. Then without prompting, the group instantly became silent, motionless, gazing solemnly at the wild life that surrounded us. It was as though it was in their nature to give a moment for silence for the loss of life that the smoke had signaled to us that morning. I think it was an especially powerful realization for them considering the entirely natural environment in which we found ourselves; what had seemed so strong and resilient in days previous was now being looked upon as incredibly precious and delicate - something to treasure and protect. ⛅️
As the sun rose the smoke grew thicker, and luckily the rising temperatures were abated throughout the rest of the afternoon and following days. Those numerous forest fires from across the northwest - all tragedies in their own way - ended up saving our crew from what was expected to a 35+C degree 'heat wave' during that particular week in August. By the time we reached our destination at Gambier Lake at the end of that day, our feelings of sadness had transformed into celebrations of life for nature and our evolving connection to it. Our feelings of grief transcended to feelings of gratitude. In the shade of the smoke, we felt hope for our future. 🌻
Nature tends to give us a new perspective on life and death; the distinction between this perceived dichotomy tends to blur in nature, where the death and decay of one species may provide exactly what another needs to thrive.
#explore #getoutside #hiking #gambierisland #explorebc #askyourteachertotakeyououtside