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Coastal Lifeblood

“I heard one day we will have to talk about salmon as something we only ate when we were young because it is no more,” an elder told me of the lifeblood of this coast.

I wondered, would I have to explain to my children what a walk through a forest feels like?

Or, will I have to remind myself of those long wandering walks through mossy old growth — during a gentle rain.

Where fragrant red cedar, dark earth, and lush ferns seem to release a collective exhale — in a state of pleasure from pure nourishment.

The sense of being in a space that is so full of life.

The sense of being in a space that is so full of texture.

The texture of smooth, muddied earth, rough bark, wet leaves, fuzzy moss — these textures create an undercurrent of energy and sound, an undercurrent of life.

This space of mutual nourishment is a testament to the power of a collective energy.

Will I have to remind myself what it sounds like to hear the wind through the trees, to hear the rain upon leaves, to hear the rustle of squirrels and melodies of birds.

These sounds are the systems of balance.

And what it feels like to look up through a canopy of treetops at an inky night sky, littered with glittering stars reminding you in the most beautiful way that being humbled is being alive. In times of depressing disconnect, when the only thing that can heal is a walk through the woods, will I have to tightly squeeze my eyes shut and try to feel that damp, earthen air? And try to hear the sounds of padded footsteps on a forest floor? And try to feel that sense of wonder and love that only a forest can give?

I will have lost my lifeline.

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