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Earth's Peaceful Temple
In the heart of the unprotected Walbran rainforest, ancient Cedars grow on karst limestone formations, jutting out of the fragrant forest floor. The emerald valley bursts with many shades of green. Pure water flows in the creeks, sparkling crystal clear in summer sun. Bear Dens pepper the landscape,  and endangered Marbled Murrelets quietly fly from their canopy nests to the ocean for food. The arms of Hemlock and Fir reach down to embrace you, Mosaics of moss, lichen, herbs and mushrooms create their own worlds in the understory, as complex and varied as the most spectacular coral reefs in the sea.  Decomposition in every shape and form displays the reality of impermanence, nurse logs give life to new children, ancestor Cedars fall and give light to patient Hemlocks and Firs. Moss grows on long lived Artists Conk mushrooms, who feed on the snags and downed trees. 

Tranquility flows through every tree, rock and droplet of water. shining dew covers medicinal mushrooms growing from Hemlock snags. It is unacceptable that this pure silence, intoxicating fragrance, pristine water and intact forest are slated to be logged by Teal Jones, who refers to this precious place as Tree Farm License 46 and 44. They call it timber, assess the forest through board feet and harvest potential. To Teal, this place has a dollar value, they believe the right to these trees belongs to them, for the government has made it so. But this is just a delusion, the truth is that we all belong to the Walbran. And the Walbran is invaluable, all the money in the world could not justify her destruction. We will not accept any logging in the Central Walbran, lest it become fractured like much of the upper valley that has been aggressively clearcut. It's time to permanently protect this place, a 2 year deferral is a temporary gesture, and that is not enough. Not for this special place where individual trees easily reach ages of 1000 or 1500 years, and the ecosystem has grown undisturbed for millennia.
The understory... the sun that finds its way down here, through the irregular canopy structure characteristic of ancient forests, creates a magical bath of light and shadow to marvel at. The forest floor is made rich by this mixed access to light, biodiversity thrives in this complex habitat, full of niches that specialist plants can thrive in. Walking on the trails in the Central Walbran Valley, you enter a world that feels prehistoric, for we are not used to encountering a place so full of mystery, bursting with life on the grandest and smallest of scales.

Everything is coated in a rich layer of moss. When you slow down and come home to your breathe, you can see that there are dozens of species of moss alone! Lichens are another wonder of life that make the Walbran, and other temperate rainforests like it, so special. To truly appreciate lichens, you have to look deeply, for it is easy for your gaze to brush right over them in the sea of green and the excitement of standing before the gargantuan Red Cedars and Spruce. But it is when we slow down and look deeply that we have the most impactful and joyful experience. I affectionately call the practice of mindfully looking at lichens, "the path of Enlichenment" because Lichens represent the subtler realities of the rainforest, and of our lives.

Artists Conk and Red Belted Conk are watching you, the medicine they offer is not only their adaptogenic, antiviral and cancer preventing properties that you can experience through tinctures and teas. Their presence contains a mysterious healing, I won't profess to fully understand the teaching that these polypore conk mushrooms are offering. But I encourage you to start befriending them yourself, touch them, look at the places they manifest, they have a lot to teach us, and they are one of my favourite subjects in the forest to look at in mindfulness, it is no wonder to me that some Indigenous shamans from the rainforests where these conks grow in abundance carved spirit figures out of polypores, that they regarded as having supernatural powers. Artists conk, Reishi, and many other mushrooms in these forests are deeply healing, medicinal and beautiful!!

The water that flows through the Walbran is so clear and cold, it is purified by the many waterfalls and cascades, that let silt settle, and the shade of the ancient canopy.  this is one of the increasingly rare places on earth where you can kneel by the riverside and lap up the flowing water. In the Walbran we see that Water and Forest inter-are, they are as inseparable as the muscles and veins that make our human body. Together they breathe life into each other, separate and they can no longer be.


We see this when we clearcut the forest, the small creeks that once flowed beneath the mighty Cedars may dry up, or become clogged by slash. Larger rivers become susceptible to increased flash floods, as the forests that once held the water are gone and muddy torrents flow down the hills, log jams form caused by wind fallen trees.  Water quality is negatively impacted by erosion that occurs from logging steep slopes, which causes sediment to flow into the creeks and rivers and degrade salmon habitat who need clean water to thrive.


It is clear that Salmon, Orcas, Bears, Wolves, Cedars, Alder, Spruce, Marbled Murrelet and Northern Goshawk, all of their lives are interconnected. And we are part of this same jewelled net of life, as life's net of interbeing snaps thread by thread, more than our food and water escapes us. Happiness, true belonging and good health escape us too, as our wellbeing is only made possible by earth's wellbeing. Peace is not possible in a desecrated suffering earth.


Rivers and creeks are the arteries and veins of land, without water, land would be lifeless.

In some places on earth, water is an occasional visitor.

Here in the rainforest, Water is a permanent resident.


Always present, in dewdrops, underground aquifers, mighty rivers, mountainside glaciers, ocean, fog, rain and snow. Water manifests in many forms, her language is varied, the sound of winter storm waves on the Juan De Fuca Sea sounds different than the trickle of a small creek flowing down the slopes of the Walbran valley, and still this sounds different than the snowflakes whispering as they fall on the headwaters of Fairy Creek. In water there is diversity and unity, but no conflict, no matter if water is flowing or frozen. 

When beheld with this awareness, we directly experience that water is sacred. Many people, even here in Canada, where fresh water and wild ocean coastlines exist in such abundance, may never deeply experience the healing embrace of water. 


To experience the heart of water, you have to come home to the present moment. If you are living in a distracted state, dwelling in the past or future, you may walk beside the river but never really be there, to experience the true presence of the other, we need to cultivate our own true presence. The intact earth is so beautiful, that it has the tendency to jolt us into the present moment. Acting as a bell of mindfulness that awakens us from our distracted forgetful state. It is easier to be present when surrounded by the presence of ancient trees and mountains


Once you are mindful, bodies of water and rain become deeply healing and calming. Now there is a relationship between you and the water, we have to recognize that water is our family, water is not a resource, water is our sacred mother. As powerful a being on earth as any other element, air, soil, fire. Water is not an inanimate object. Water is an animate being, who has a kind of natural consciousness that transcends individuality, manifesting in countless forms to make life on earth possible. Water is a Bodhisattva, a generous and compassionate being. Water is a god, where all life originates from, and all life is made possible by water. The Central Walbran is a temple of water, forest, and pure life, unadulterated and unstained. 

Cedar swings over the creek curving upward to greet the sweet sun. The creek runs cool and crystal clear, purified as it runs through the forest. To filter this water would be extra, her sparkling laugh lets us know she is meant to be touched by our lips. The old growth trees form an unbroken wall, shading, protecting us all. guarding the water as it pours into the great ocean. The entire time the creek sighs with relief. Cycling perfectly, feeding the forest, elk, bear and geese. Walbran Creek sings a song four billion years in the making. To listen and learn from this place sets us free. To protect Walbran and her sister valleys fills our life with meaning.
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We are making some of our photos of the Central Walbran available in a limited edition print run, which you can find here. Buying prints will help us to continue to visit unprotected ecosystems and work for their meaningful protection. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and supporting our work, it really means the world to us. We hope our pictures and words inspire you to seek out the wonders of life in the forest. 
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