Timeless Realm

Timeless Realm

“Behind all seen things lies something vaster; everything is but a path, a portal or a window opening on something other than itself.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Portals are all around us. Some are obvious like doorways, gates, and windows, but some are also invisible. Most portals, no matter how mundane, elicit a shift in awareness. Think of all the thresholds we cross every day.

Nature offers a familiar threshold for most of us. Every trailhead is a portal to heightened sense perceptions. For me, even the back door to my garden is a trailhead, which is why I spend as much time as possible, outside.

At the Dungeness River, on the grounds of our local fish hatchery, we discovered a new portal, an obscure opening in the trees. It’s the edge of an area that was cleared for one of the fish pools, an overgrown berm of earth with an inviting gap. As soon as we walk through, we are surrounded by the darkness of a dense cluster of cedar and fir. At first glance, it’s a tangle of decaying logs, and leaf litter from the nearby cottonwood, alder and maple. Yet every step entices another, the sound of the river soothes, and before long, we’ve slipped out of our day-waking cares.

Here is a short photo essay of our latest meanderings. And even though I’m finally learning how to use a proper digital camera, Jeff is the featured photographer of this post.

Words aren’t really necessary when the senses are entranced; still, I’ll include a few brief descriptions…

An old cedar tree guardian welcomes us at the beginning of a trail along the river.
Mushrooms are the coveted treasure in every autumn walk.
And here’s a fun thing about finding mushrooms: once you spy one or two,
the others begin to remove their shy cloaks of invisibility and reveal themselves.
These beauties were literally glowing at the base of what was left of a tree that had snapped off about 20 feet up. They were off the trail, in a clearing, but the orange glow was so compelling that Jeff stepped into the undergrowth to explore. When I caught up with him, his face said it all: ecstatic with discovery.
Here is a close-up of what we think is the “cinnamon webcap” (cortinarius cinnamomeus).
We saw many shelled wee folk of the forest. This one was resting, but started to emerge when it sensed our incessant gawking.
And here is another, with a wee admirer 🙂
And who can resist a cache of whimsy?
This is one of the flat basalt rocks that I’ve painted.
Despite outer chaos, “all is well” is the steady truth of our core being.
I asked Jeff to take a longer exposure. It feels like a snapshot of life, doesn’t it?
I drew a labyrinth on the other side of the stone with the words: inhale…exhale

The wisest one word sentence?
Breathe.

Terri Guillemets

22 thoughts on “Timeless Realm

  1. So wonderful to ready your words and to see your photography. And sooo glad to hear you are spending so much time outdoors.
    All is well here on the farm. Grateful to have this little spot of land.

    Love to you and Jeff

    1. Hello dear Ruthanne,
      And I’m glad to hear that the farm is humming along so well. Someday I should like to visit and see your handiwork!

  2. This is wonderful, and I’m thrilled to catch another glimpse of your outdoor adventures in the Great Northwest.
    I am reminded of the song, “Julien of Norwich,” which we will soon be singing again in these parts. Do you remember it? “Sing out, Bells of Norwich, and let the winter come and go…all shall be well again, I know.”
    BTW, I have a picture on my desktop of a little girl guiding a HUGE elephant across a bridge with a storm on their heels. The caption reads, “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.

    1. I just looked up Julian of Norwich, and listened to a couple of versions of this song. I’ve never heard it before, but it’s lovely.
      Especially, “all shall be well again, I know”
      And now I’m intrigued by Julian’s story and writings.

      Yes, Thich Nhat Hanh understands the power of breath like no other.

      1. There’s a wonderful little story of Julien where they say she lived and prayed in a little cell beneath the church. Her window was at ground level and people used to come to her for counsel. Her undying message of faith which was said to fortify everyone who sought her out was, “All shall be well.”
        (I could swear we sang this with The Pleiades but maybe you weren’t there then. Anyway, it’s especially beautiful as a round.)

  3. PS: Along with everything else, the cedar tree guardian is amazing! Makes me wonder…about the photographer, that is.

    1. It’s a powerful image. There’s another one that is similar, but I had to rein myself in when choosing photos.
      Jeff will have to reply as well. He definitely taps in to something other-worldly with his technique of intentionally moving the camera.

  4. I never tire of your words and images AND your whimsical touches. Bob and I left the coast and moved back to Fair Oaks in August. We gave up our ocean for oak forest with a wee creek which graces our 1/2 acre backyard: a little Sutter that we previously enjoyed in Carmichael for 30 years.
    Sending you both so much love.

    1. Thanks Paula, and much love to you!
      The ocean is hard to give up, but the oak forest and wee creek sounds enchanting!
      I just finished a classic from 1942 about the last gnomes in Britain. “The Little Grey Men” lived in the bottom of an old oak on a sweet little creek.
      No doubt the wee folk are thriving on your land!

  5. This fed my soul as I shift from 8th grade consciousness to first grade consciousness again. The wee folk, the seeds of wonder, your indestructible sense of joy and interest in the natural world, all inspire me and remind me of my admiration and respect for you as a teacher and human being. I think of you every day. Your handwriting fills pages that you gave me while mentoring me. You might not remember, but I do. 💖

    1. Oh Kristi, what kindness you share. Thank you!
      You are doing such vital work, shepherding these young people!
      Yay for your perseverance.

  6. I felt like I was there with you on this adventure. I could hear both of your voices and see the joy on your faces. It was so soothing. Xoxo

  7. My dear Pam & Jeff, such a beautiful look into nature, your talent in writing and putting simple images into a Wonder of such beautiful places. Love you both,

    1. Thank you dear Auntie!
      It must be lovely in Rocklin too. And I hear you’re getting RAIN! Yay!
      Love back atcha!

  8. It worked! You do amazing stuff. I had friends 300 years ago who wandered those forests gathering Chantrells. They made a fortune! We love your work, you guys. I miss the NW…grew up in Seattle. Everything south of Lake Washington was beans and berries, stretching that whole valley. Now it’s all concrete.

  9. Oh my! You two have been on my mind all day long. We passed through Portland today and spoke of our lovely time with you.
    Matt and I are in Banks visiting my brother who lives in a forest filled with wonderful creatures and gnomes, I’m sure. Tomorrow we get to explore it.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and sweet natured comments. As Colleen said, “I can hear both of your voices.”
    Perfect end to a beautiful day.
    Sending love and hugs,
    Sarah and Matt

    1. Thank you Sarah and Matt! We love our outings! And we felt the urge to connect with friends near and far.
      Enjoy Banks. We remember fondly our drives to the coast along 26 – farmland, then woodland. The colors must be peaking now.
      Even though our heart connections can never be broken by time or space, we’ll hold a good thought about visiting again!

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