Monday, July 13, 2009

Burgoyne forest #2.The big rock pile.

A few days later I return with visiting friends to have a closer look at the enormous rocks that are piled higher up the mountain slope. The sour smell of quenched fire is gone at last, but the steep, twisting trail is slippery with brittle arbutus leaves and dry loose soil. We have a sense of rising excitement as we struggle upward. Ahead, half hidden still amid the tree trunks, is a scene from Tolkein`s books: trolls must surely live amid the apartment-house sized sharded boulders that balance precariously above us.

As we wind around the base of the pile we notice that each rock is itself made of many rocks - these were once cemented together under the sea by sand and slowly transported through continental drift and pressed and smeared against the North American plate. A long time after that, during or after glaciation, they broke loose from the cliffs above and settled here. We feel like ants in this place both in size and in the length of time these rocks represent. I also know the stories of how in the past, first nations youth came to this primordial place to experience their vision quests. Even us well fed folk from another culture feel the veils shift and stir as we walk in the shadows.

We follow a vague trail that twists and turns ever upward through the frozen remains of this once mighty crash until we are deep within the rock pile. Caves and crevices create deep shadows and leaves flicker in the sunlight. Finally, on the mossy summit of the tallest rock, we are up in the forest canopy, close neighbours with the tops of tall arbutus, maple and fir. We creep to the sheer edge to peer down-slope toward the sea, while above us the cliffs of Mt Maxwell show more sandstone/conglomerate fractured rock. We hope we are in a snooze break, geologically speaking, in the gravitational attraction between the cliffs and their long desire to unite with the bay below. A turkey buzzard tilts and turns overhead checking us out for luncheon possibilities.
I take many photos, sure this time that the power of this place will make itself visible. We scurry and slide back down the trail to get away from the dread that clings, even on this sunny day, to this place of giants hidden in the forest high on the slopes of the mountain.

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