The internet said something about how the trail on Meares Island had some of the largest trees of British Columbia. It said something about how they were more than one thousand years old, and I told him, I would like to go there.
We ran to catch the water taxi on time; I lost the red bandana that was tied around my ponytail. He asked us if we minded if he stopped by to check on his crab trap, and we didn’t.
He asked me if I wanted to hold one; he kept it carefully on its back, deposited it gently into my palm. It was larger than my hand. Ben alors, I told the crab in French, and he heard me, and when he spoke again it was thick with Quebecois.
The trees were bigger than I could fathom. Branches like tangled spiderwebs, covered in moss; trunks like their own form of monoliths. Look at that branch there, he said, it looks like an elephant, do you see it?
I remember pressing my hands to the wood; the dried bark and the thick layers of wet moss. Trying to wrap my mind around that number, one thousand years old, the breathless impossibility of it.
How beautiful and strange, to be able to walk near trees that have been here long before I existed, and will be here long after I have gone. I felt so small. It was humbling, I think. For a minute, I didn’t mind my mortality anymore.
We were afraid we had gotten lost, at one point, and our shoes got drenched in thick, dark mud, and we laughed loud in the forest, and I decided to go barefoot into the freezing water and that wasn’t the smartest idea.
I had ten minutes to myself, afterwards, sat on the dock. I dangled my feet into the water and watched the mud wash away, the dark tendrils sunk into the current. Just shy of sunshine, just on this side of too cold. You could see the other islands, almost at arms’ reach, scattered across the water.
You couldn’t really see into the rain forest from the dock; the wide expanse, the thick mess of it. You wouldn’t know, looking from the outside. About the Western Cedar trees, older than I will ever be, wiser than I’ll ever know. Quiet and unbothered.