National Forest Week and Tree Day Walk at Swan Lake

This being National Forest Week, I headed out to Swan Lake today to hear Dr. Al Mitchell, retired research scientist from Natural Resources Canada (Pacific Forestry Centre), give a little history of the trees on Vancouver Island. Among the gazillion details he knows about our coniferous and deciduous friends, he explained why trees grow the way they do, and how the Yew Tree has contributed to the treatment of cancer.

Did you know they found logs preserved in a bog on Vancouver Island that were dated some 7,000 years old? “That’s before the pyramids.”

Dr. Mitchell will be doing another ‘walk and talk’ this Thursday September 22, 1:30-2:30. Take it in. Ask him how to recognize a happy tree.

Couldn’t help but notice several wildlife trees close to the trails. Good to hear from Swan Lake staffers that they monitor their trees closely and do not hastily remove wildlife trees.

National Forest Week. You may feel like hugging a tree. Go give Dr. Mitchell one for his years of contributing to the health of our forests and his invaluable research.


Back on track

With all of the recent cougar sightings, I am reluctant to drop myself into the leaves of the deep forest.

A kind of lethargy has also come over me regarding that other leaf–the one that contributes to the page.

I am just getting over the high of being immersed in the company of international MA students at Lancaster summer school in England. And what an experience that was. A group of writers from England, Greece, Ireland, Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria came together and studied, laughed, read, wrote, talked politics, gender, and economics, and, over the occasional British bitter and Bushmills, discussed the future of writing and reading.

These are a talented bunch, writing everything from Victorian dramas to poetry that tears at your soul. We were held together by internationally-acclaimed tutors whose writing awards do not outshine their compassion and dedication to moving younger apprentices to new heights. I hope to contain a tenth of their talent and humanity.

I wanted to sit in the sun after those intense days, ponder, and read. Now that the autumn sun is falling back, I am thinking about the challenges I face with my own work. There is only a year to finish this long narrative/thesis and I must get my head down and as the saying goes, my bum into the chair.

Thank-you to all of my fellow students and tutors. You have touched and inspired–my heart is full.