We left Saskatoon one year ago and came to Edson. The night we got here, after we were done unloading the truck, Sean and our friend Fleming took the big kids into the woods for an adventure. With all of our sadness about leaving Saskatoon, the best part of Edson for me was the number of trees. We would often walk out our front door in those early days of June and wander around the neighbourhood just breathing deeply, marvelling at the smell of rich, sap flowing trees in the warm spring air as leaves opened and life grew green.
Last summer when I had not yet made connections with people in town, and the kids and I sat facing long lonely days together, we would often head to the forest to explore. We picked tiny red strawberries no bigger than baby fingernails, looked at different kinds of mosses and fungi, found unexploded paintballs and jumped on them until they popped, and ate wild raspberries from our secret patch. We listened to birds and laughed at the silence of it all.
This winter, when we took our kids and nephews toboganning, we walked through snow up to our thighs on unmarked trails through the forest to get to the toboganning hill. We fell, and laughed, and pushed our way through deep, clean white snow. After Christmas, we hiked through that same forest with visiting family, meandering aimlessly through thick woods, calling the dogs now and then to make sure they came back. We pushed on trees to make huge piles of snow fall from their laden branches, and hopped out of the way as the snow fell behind us on the path.
When I run, I often turn and run back and forth along the road of my forest, adding kilometres in this soul nourishing spot, this place that makes my heart stand still for a moment in the chaos of my days. I often step off the road into the forest, only for a moment….I pause and breathe it’s life into my weariness.
Last week we watched a family of deer grazing in the rich green grass on the edge of my forest. They stood and ate, unafraid, for minutes as the littles watched spellbound, wondering at the magic of the moment.
Today, as I was running, there was a dead gopher on the side of the road, right at the edge of my forest. Sidetracked, I didn’t notice the large orange signs until I was upon them.
LOGGING IN PROGRESS.
They have already cut down half of my forest.
They started this morning. They will clearcut 50 acres.
I watched the trees fall and I wept.
The sky wept too.