Heaven is under attack! "up in the sky?" you ask? No, here on Earth of course! The ancient forest is being destroyed. Some of our eldest brothers and sisters are certainly touching the clouds, indeed they shake the world as they fall down. The other Planets must weep as they see their most beautiful and vibrant sister, the only blue and green speck of life in the visible universe, destroyed from within, by Human Beings, the Earth's fallen angels. Evolved to be Conscious guardians, mystical observers who love and protect, live in reciprocity, understanding, medicine and reverence. And yet with the rise of colonialism and the culture of domination and enslavement, Humans have become the very threat to life itself. Let's look deeply together to understand ourselves, the world, and our brothers and sisters we share the planet with.
Road building into the Ancient Forest
The Remote and little known Bugaboo Valley, is quickly becoming a flashpoint in the ongoing struggle to stop old growth logging in "British Columbia". A quiet valley where shy black bears peacefully roam, it has been subject to extensive clearcutting over the years, yet still holds large tracts of ancient rainforest that are under direct threat from future clearcuts by Teal Jones Group. Recently Joshua Wright, a conservationist and forest guardian, located the endangered, old growth specklebelly lichen, in a proposed cutblock in the valley, more on this here: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-rare-lichen-enlisted-in-old-growth-logging-battle/
The destroyers are erasing our Earth Body. So I am here today to speak about the Ancient Forest, specifically the Coastal Temperate Rainforest of Turtle Island, and yet I also am speaking of the Amazon, I am speaking about Laos, Kenya, Romania, Indonesia, and all other corners of society that are erasing our Great Earth Forest. For I am also here today to propose to you another way of looking, even another way of being, in this Earth! In which we recognize and directly experience Earth's forest as ONE.
One Great Forest stretching from Siberia to Tasmania, From Vancouver Island to the Congo, Taiwan and Thailand to Brazil and Chile, and of course, Canada, where I am today. And here in Canada, we have a culture of death and destruction, of Colonialism and empty, deceptive apologies. And indeed we have an ongoing genocide being perpetrated by this corporate state, which is inseparable from what we now are referring to as Ecocide, the criminal destruction of our great mother. All of which is continuing to erase the indigenous peoples, languages and cultures. and the indigenous planstcape, landscape and ancient forest.
Ancient, Lush, and under siege, the great rainforest on Vancouver Island is asking for our help. To be there for our living Elders, the Tree people and biodiverse sentient ecosystem that they hold in their towering protection, we need to understand the forest, listen deeply and walk quietly in the old growth. She needs us to come home and stop now more than ever before.
As there is only one great ocean in reality, despite our conventional designations of Pacific, Arctic, Indian and Atlantic.. I know that the Earth's forest is also one whole family, flowing into many unique place specific ecosystems, interconnected despite all transformations and relative differences... In species composition, precipitation, and even Continental "divides".
One Forest, perfectly connected to One Ocean
making our One Liveable Planet and Biosphere.
A necessary shift in perspective in an Anthropocentric world destroying itself with false ideas of Separateness and Selfishness. So Today I will share from my heart about the forest, our culture, how to recognize ancient forests vs. tree plantations. About our collective consciousness, and how our own minds, bodies and lives are reflected in and connected to our Clearcuts and Tree Plantations that are spreading like wildfire around Mama Earth. This Writing is Dedicated to all the living and non-living beings who are being misunderstood by Humans, destroyed, taken for granted, and treated like shit. For our Brothers and Sisters are not just of our species. But all beings on Earth.
This is what stolen land looks like, quite literally the naturally evolved landscape, which was the perfect expression of 4 billion years of life on Earth, has been erased and taken away from the Indigenous peoples who have and still live in these valleys for 15,000 plus years. As well as from all people on Earth who rely on the One Earth Forest for Air and Life. This is Pacheedaht land, in the area of the Fairy Creek Rainforest they have named "2000 Road". Land Back. Endless thanks to Elder Bill Jones for his spiritual guidance and invitation to come into the ancient forest for meditation, healing and community building, as well as resisting against Teal Jones. To learn more about our continued struggle against logging in Ada'itsx/Fairy Creek, Read This: https://thenarwhal.ca/fairy-creek-blockades-august-arrests/
A mosaic of old growth, clearcut and tree plantation, of intact natural wonders and devastated logged out valleys. What a land of contrast! But how can you tell from afar and up close, where the old growth is? Allow me to shed some light from what I have learned wandering in this ancient, besieged region.
If you get up to a lookout point, in almost every valley of Southern Vancouver Island and beyond. You will be able to look out at the landscape and see a variety of textures, speaking to the various degrees of intactness and destruction the landscape is holding. A clearcut is perhaps most obvious, especially what has been recently logged, as the landscape looks barren, brownish Tan, and completely devoid of vegetation. Over time, the land will green up once again, for despite having been kidnapped and erased, this landscape still desires to be part of the Great Earth Forest, and will diligently work to regrow herself and support life again...
A clearcut on Central Graham Island, Yakoun Lake/ River Headwaters. Watch this video by the Coastal Trail Collective, Clearcutting Haida Gwaii, to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZZvo8fApCM&t=57s
So you can also recognize the early succesional light green patches, in areas that were harvested a number of years ago… Here, as long as they are not sprayed with toxic glyphosate otherwise known as roundup to kill the leafy vegetation (a common "forestry" practice in Canada) , a variety of early succesional plants, like Berry bushes, fireweed, and young trees, will usually naturally seed themselves into the sunny clearcut. Then there is the vast swathes of Tree plantation, replanted areas where Coast Fir, Red Cedar and Spruce have been planted densely, these areas operate on a 60-80 year harvest cycle typically, and will likely never be a forest again in our lifetime. Indeed these tree plantations will never be an ancient forest in even the lifetime of our Great Grandchildren, as this authentic rainforest takes hundreds/thousands of years to develop.
Red Dress... In a clearcut on the steep slopes of Granite Creek, seeds of awareness, transformation, healing and grief join the seeds of grasses, thimbleberry and fireweed. In a memorial to all of our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters. As the Ancient forest is stolen, Indigenous Women and Children are being stolen and murdered too. The connection between genocide and ecocide is laid bare here in Fairy Creek, yet the mountain is guarded by the logging companies security, and they continue to deny our Elders and Land Defenders access to this sacred valley. Good thing we always come back anyway. and will never bend before such a weak colonial force as Security and the RCMP. We will continue fighting to stop the cutting and stop the violence Indigenous people are experiencing from colonialism and racism worldwide. No more missing and murdered on stolen native land.
Check out this Music Video to see us getting brutalized and kidnapped on this same mountain by the RCMP Blue and Green men: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE6jdjyX7uc&t=209s
And that speaks to our fundamental misunderstanding of our place in the world, for as we manipulate and destroy the landscape, playing god with our industrial technologies and greedy old growth logging, we erase 4 billion years of organic evolution of the Earth. It is simply not possible to replicate what time, evolution, oxygen, sunlight, rock, Indigenous people, erosion, mycelium and soil building have been building and caring for since time immemorial. Such is the unique and wondrous nature of our Great Earth Forest. Across the world, this tragic saga is unfolding. The dominant culture of colonialism and destruction has been steadily and rapidly erasing the indigenous earth and replacing it with Tree farms. Erasing indigenous cultures of balance, interbeing and reciprocity, with a culture of mindless consumerism, discrimination and racism, materialism, addiction, war and greed.
And we know that world well, we touch it every day… It is not only ok to cry about this, but absolutely essential. Breathing in, I recognize a Painful Feeling, Breathing out, I cry, allowing the water I am made of to rejoin the water of the forest and ocean. I know that healing is not only possible, but is a way of life, and a daily practice. and I am healing together with Mother Earth, even as new wounds of suffering and destruction are inflicted upon us. I know that the forest really loves me, and I will do anything to be with her and protect her... You can also practice like that. Don't recoil away from suffering and ignorance in aversion. Suffering and ignorance exist in us, and in the world around us. The time has come to embrace reality and meditate to experience the non-duality of Suffering and Joy, Creation and Destruction, Forest and Human Being.
So One of the greatest tools to unlock your human potential, to truly be alive and touching the wonders of life, is to learn how to recognize and gently immerse yourself into Intact Ecosystems, and in this case, Ancient Forests. You see, when you look at the valley, the ancient forest is quite easy to recognize, even from afar. The texture is completely different than that of the tree plantation. The canopy is varied and vibrant, there is many shades of green, and many layers of shadow and light, as well as visible standing dead trees, and often supercanopy trees who tower above the rest.
Young Hemlock gaze out at the contrast between ancient forest and clearcut in the Bugaboo Creek Valley, The ancient and/or primary forest and is the authentic forest, the tree farm is the colonial shadow that is replacing the forest. the two are very distinct because one is natural, while the other is a manipulated and degraded farming operation.
Continue to study these valleys through direct experience and notice the differences between the ancient forest and tree plantations… From within, up close, the difference is even more stark and obvious. For an ancient forest is full of levels, canopy gaps, various microsites, in different stages of successional growth. The landscape is very obviously full of biodiversity, and yet, it is not nearly as suffocatingly dense and difficult to move through as many second growth forests and tree plantations. Tree plantations are the most obvious imposters, though to the uninitiated eye, these sad deserts with their barren understory may be mistaken as being an authentic part of our One Earth Forest. Alas it is not so, these plantations have been installed like software by capitalist colonizers who seek to farm the land, they use fertilizers and pesticides to combat the lack of healthy growth, as the poor planted trees lack the mycelial connections and Mother trees who add resilience, nutrients and genetic wisdom, all essential and present conditions in the growth of the ancient forest.
Contrasts of Haida Gwaii, it's as though human beings have, out of ignorance, created a parallel world. in which blind destruction is the standard, with no thought of reality or what the rest of the earth wants, we think little about the salmon or the mycelium that forms the quilt of life below our feet. The Earth wants to live, the ancient forest wants us to thrive. But our great mother cannot do what she needs to when we treat her so violently and with no regard for our interspecies family. Read more about Clearcutting in Haida Gwaii here: https://thenarwhal.ca/battle-haida-gwaiis-cedars/
The Tree plantation, as well as the fresh clearcut, are fascinating spaces. I often reflect on how these places mirror our current collective spiritual state. Rather, our lack of spiritual practice, of mutual understanding and cooperation in our society. We are like a tree plantation too, caught up in a false race of individualism, lacking the connections of community to keep us safe, nourished and healthy… and on the path of being used and exploited by corporations who want to farm our labour, and truly, our very existence, for profit and domination…. Fighting against old growth logging, IS fighting for our collective consciousness, our Earth Body, and life itself.
We are like the clearcut as well, reduced to a state of barren suffering by the colonial oppressors who have stolen from us, thousands of years of ancestral indigenous wisdom. The Ignorant men and their empires continue to clearcut indigenous cultures, and indigenous forests every single day. Erasing the living wisdom of who we really are. They take away our true home, which is our spiritual practice that lets us live in the present moment. Then they make us into a plantation, a bleak culture of domination, materialism and addiction. Where we are easily controlled, counted, and made to live our life in service of a corporate state, that does not love, respect or understand us.
The Goat River Valley is one of the last intact watersheds in the inland temperate rainforest, a globally unique ecosystem with many distinctly coastal plants thriving in this wet region hundreds of kilometres inland from the coastal forests. though the Goat River Valley is mostly protected as critical mountain caribou habitat, most every other valley in the entire ecosystem is being destroyed by clearcut logging, by logging corporations like Canfor, Interfor and West Fraser. Mountain Caribou are a keystone species of the inland rainforest, and are so threatened that they could go extinct in a matter of years. Scientists have given the Inland Rainforest a mere 10 years before industrial logging destroys the essential ecological functions of the place. Mountain Caribou and the other most shy, sensitive and innocent species of our great earth forest are running out of time...
Creativity and great compassion are perfectly expressed in the ancient forest, and different trees take on many unique and downright weird growth forms over their long lives. No one shames the other for their differences, the slender, orderly and tall amabilis fir does not judge the cedar for being wide, gnarled and oddly shaped. They live together in perfect harmony and acceptance. The giant Spruce doesn’t bully the little Yew for being a fraction of the size of him. They both know that they belong to one another, and that they have to be there for each other, in stillness and deeply rooted so that they can understand the other, and communication can be wholesome and mutually beneficial….
This tree contains a seasonal denning site for the endemic subspecies of black bear native to Haida Gwaii. Has Husby forest products or Taan Forest products asked the bears if they want the ancient Cedar trees clearcut? of course not, they don't think to ask bears for their thoughts! I guess that's crazy haha. But I know the bears love and need their ancient cedar home, as do the Haida Matriarchs, youth, elders and culture holders, who are still having their lands stolen from them by the colonizers.
Another bear den in the same monumental cedar and spruce grove near Yakoun Lake. though the little hole doesn't look like much for a bear, the cavity within the tree was dug out and perfect for keeping a bear safe from the elements and other bears during the hibernation time. most forests with denning trees like this in Haida Gwaii, the Inland Rainforest, Vancouver Island and the lower mainland are gone.
Birch Doesn’t tease Coast Fir for having needles instead of leaves, nor does birch worry that Fir will overtake her and outlive her, it has been shown that Birch gifts Fir Carbon through a shared fungal network of ectomycorrhizal fungi, so that Fir can grow up out of the early successional shade, and make the old growth forest again… Birch knows that in good time, the forest will burn, and sunlight and space will be abundant so that her great grandchildren can continue the sacred circular dance of impermanence (see Finding the Mother Tree, Suzanne Simmard, 2020). How much there is to learn from the ancient forest! The Ancient forest is our living ancestor! Our Big Brothers and Sisters, our most benevolent, selfless and wise teachers! And yet, it is this very landscape that is guiding us into the heart of life and teaching us to be free, that is under attack from our ignorant brothers and sisters!
the epic power of nature is on full display in the rainforests of the upper Kennedy river, where the mysterious and seldom walked Clayoquot Witness trail winds through on its way to the headwaters of the Clayoquot River. Here you can see Emerald Pools filled with pure water. Please come and drink, there is no need to filter the water here. you can also see a lake created by a natural landslide, that inundated the valley bottom with water, drowning the trees to create the awe inspiring Snag lake. The subalpine ancient forests of Solstice Lakes demonstrate that not every ancient forest needs huge trees to blow your mind. and that all primary forests are of essential value to our Earth. the moon rising over the valley, a difficult but worthy place to visit for those who come in peace. To learn more about Clayoquot Sound and the legendary fight to save these valleys, check this out: https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/clayoquot_sound_backgrounder
and this awesome protest song! : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxGjtMk7CNY&t=234s
Mama Yakoun, what a sacred ancient river!
Now, allow me to go off the deep end, and say that the ancient forest is also like our lover, or husband/wife. Whatttt. Yes it is so, for when we have human children, the ancient forest becomes an essential partner in raising them up. And if we neglect to immerse our children in the presence of their Great Mother, by letting them run free in forests, they will grow up devoid of that living wisdom that the forest so graciously embodies. The ancient forest is part of the Village that it takes to raise a child, and if we destroy our ancient forests, we curse our children, their children, and so on. So don’t have sex with trees or bears, but do raise your children in loving partnership with the ancient forests and intact ecosystems… makes sense right? When we destroy the ancient forest, and neglect to immerse ourselves in the temple of life. We make ourselves unhealthy, dumb and disconnected, like the thin blue lines and green swat men of the RCMP... Who humiliated the ancient forest and disrespected all of our elders by beating up my forest guardian friends every day at Fairy Creek Blockade. Be like an ancient tree, deeply rooted in community. And DON'T be an RCMP.
So to close off this article, I want to share a poem that I wrote about old growth logging:
The hills have eyes, muddy tears flow down the mountainside
Stumbling through these heartbreak blocks, all I do is cry
They are full tilt logging. Helicopter thunder, Chainsaws Sawing
Whining up the slope, new roads winding as I choke
The smell of gas and pitch. I am actually losing hope
I’m mad, I see the place I love under relentless attack
The Old Growth logging never stops
We lie down chained to the road, while politicians talk
Bugaboo, 2000 Rd, and Granite Creeks Headwaters, three neighbouring valleys all under attack by Teal Jones. We have to destroy Teal Jones.
Calmly gaslit into thinking
That sustainability is existing
as they cut down a million elders
The mountain is asking when peace will return
I’ve not the heart to tell her
That my ignorant brothers and sisters
are still in a race to sell her
trade her vibrant healer body
for worthless corporate cash
She wants to live, be left alone
be visited and shown
that human beings still know how to treat their precious home.
Waterfall Forever. Sandstorm's first time being on the bridge since spending days on end in trenches chained to holes in the ground to defend the sacred headwaters last year. A powerful moment.
She tells me..
“ I am a sacred mountain, as holy as Kailash
As proud as mighty Everest. You visit me at last
Cloaked in Ancient Forest, I am the real witch
I am embodied understanding, and the cosmos greatest gift
I am wisdom, I am presence, I’m the place to come and live
Quietly you listen, we are each other’s deepest wish
Magic cascades and flows
abundant peace across the land
walk with me, ancient lover
may we travel hand in hand"
I am Absorbed into the heart
as rain absorbs on mossy rocks
My friends are Fir and Cedar
I listen when they talk
The Spruce on the lake shore creaks and sways
The wind blows through her hair on this sad day
Will you watch them cut me down? Will you turn and walk away?
As It is I who gives you life, will you die with me today?
My life is in your hands
the last stand of ancient trees
I’ll always lay down for my mother
until she is released
From the clutches of their gross molesting greed.
Yakoun Lake, Where the Haida still strip Cedar Bark on the shore
I am a forest, the most mysterious and open being
I never deny my children, I am committed to your healing
I lift the weight from your mind
I reveal your true presence
Give deep meaning to your time
I am the Earth, I am the most misunderstood
Those who appreciate me the least
Destroy all that’s pure and good
All the Valleys and my sister peaks join me in this song
You can even feel the ocean’s waves have come to sing along.
So long as humans destroy us
You will be cursed
For you are wrong
Ancient Cedars of Screech Camp in the Reid Creek Rainforest, in a small remnant grove surrounded by tree plantations. A place I have nicknamed Moonbear Grove, after a prolific and loved land defender who's hardblock was on the road above. Thank you to all the Earth Guardians who answer the call of our great mother time and time again.
We mourn the irreplaceable loss the chainsaw vampires have brought
White men, White trucks, Helicopters, digging up, burial grounds
Grandmother trees, an old growth forest, cut to her knees
I’ve watched the loggers youtube vids. I’m going to fucking scream
They come and take, they come to rape, pillage and kidnap
I’m sorry if that's news to you, but life is under attack
So I’ll let go of Canada, Oh my love, I'm coming fast
To the ancient Forest for sovereignty and love
Resistance and Land Back.
See you at the End of the Road.
Thank you for reading.
Love and Solidarity.