I live a few thousand feet from a section of an unmarked boundary separating the modern world from an ancient Gingko Forest, which at first glance (and if the viewer has no understanding of past events) seems confusing if not humorous, for thereís not a tree in sight. It seems the only things capable of a tall existence in this inhospitable place wherein the harsh elements humble all life are the layered pentagonal basalt pillars that make up the cliffs. Even they donít proudly rise above the land, unlike the Cascades in the horizon with their display of unmatched towering strength. These walls crumble away from the surface and are unseen unless viewed up close and from certain precise angles. Also shielded from the casual onlookerís sight are steep jagged ravines, gouged-out scars zigzagging throughout the plateaus which are in perpetual decay and create dangerous passage for all except the winged. In the barrenness of this sage-covered, fractured land, if one will patiently listen, is a quietly shared secret hinting at a ravaged past from long ago.
Iíve discovered that strewn within and on the cold magma, which a million years ago wreaked chaos when molten flows covered an unsuspecting marshland rendering it extinct, is a shattered allegory to be discovered. I keep thinking that if I carefully piece together the broken bits of evidence I see lying about unearthed, Iíll find a truth that will add meaning to my own cracks and flaws.
For those who will look outside of the sterile glass display cases conveniently lined in rows and then set out on foot to venture beyond the protective interpretive center, willing to ignore rattlesnake warnings and tick-laden brambles, one will find there are jagged and broken shards, natural and fashioned by the ancients, waiting to reveal a mysterious history now dead.
Nowhere in the areas I like to roam are there placards giving explanation or trained outsiders to give their slant on what created this desolate, unforgiving desert to which I feel akin. Yes I know, itís not nice of me to say, but I find the voices of the rangers repeating the dry facts theyíve droned out a million times before to be no less monotone than the embossed brass plates unnaturally mounted on rocks and posts lining the paths thousands of tourist feet have trod seeking photos. To me, the accounts from these green clad history tellers, even with all their accuracies, tend to miss the subtleties of the hidden truths Iím in search of and need.
What I like most about this treeless forest is that, when Iím alone, hunched over, eyes straining, seeking answers not easily revealed, I cannot remain in the now. Iíve not always roamed here alone. In fact, Iíve had pleasurable times taking friends and family there to walk with me among the tiny hardened fragments. But if I were to be honest, Iíd much rather be in this place of forgotten history with only myself, abandoned to sift through my own reminiscingís. When others are with me, their distraction by whatís in the now (the rattlingís of creatures disturbed or a blazing sun attempting to scorch layers of unprotected skin) becomes my distraction from what was then. So I no longer take people to this place of my reflections and I choose to travel its unmarked paths trailing into a secret past, by myself - a desired loneliness Ė evaluating another lonely place to which I am connected.
Edited by earlybird (06/06/11 12:00 AM)
Balanced (My goal)
There is symmetry