Serviceberries summer

Last spring I posted pictures of the abundant blooms of these native bushes here. Today’s shots are an update on what those blooms from the serviceberries have become. As we might have guessed from the masses of spring blossoms, we have a bumper crop of berries this summer.

Serviceberries bush

Bushes are covered with berries. And though I haven’t always found them tasty in the past some of the trees are bearing pretty palatable offerings this year. I’m sure the local birds are grateful.

Sequim rocks

Some months ago I posted photos of a series of painted rocks that I’d discovered while walking around Port Angeles, Sequim’s neighbor to the west. Now I’ve discovered it’s become a thing here, too. Sequim Rocks.

I found this rock — no, it’s not a forgotten Easter egg — alongside a trail at Dungeness Recreation Area recently. I didn’t learn until later that the idea is to pick up found rocks, photograph them and post it on the Sequim Rocks Facebook page, then nestle them elsewhere. Some people have painted and beautifully decorated rocks and children have gotten into the act with their artwork, too. By the time I got back, this rock had moved to a new home.

Sequim rocks!

Canoe journey

This summer there is another more-or-less annual canoe journey undertaken by groups representing Northwest tribes from Vancouver Island, B.C. and Washington state. The most northern group from Vancouver Island began their paddle on July 13, stopping each night along the western coast of the island and joining with other canoe groups heading south. Click here to see a map of journey starting and stopping points and layover dates. The journey will end in August in Nisqually at the southern end of Washington’s Puget Sound. It’s a long voyage, testing endurance and showcasing Native pride. Many of the canoes are made in traditional fashion and showcase the beautiful lines of large, seaworthy vessels.

Canoe journey drummer

Gale force winds last Friday morning forced some paddlers to trailer their canoes for a leg of the journey from Port Angeles to Jamestown Beach in Sequim where the local S’Klallam Tribe would welcome them. Others braved the journey on the big waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Paddlers headed next to Port Townsend.

Much to my disappointment I had to miss the event. DH took these shots in my absence. Pretty good, no?

Hoh tree fungus

Life in the Hoh Rainforest bursts forth both as new growth and as decomposition. They go hand in hand in breaking down and building a forest. This fungus is one of many kinds that we saw. It decomposes and absorbs organic material.

Hoh slug

Slugs are another type of decomposer. They eat and break down plant materials. They are voracious and can daily eat several times their body weight.

Hoh bear signs

What’s this? It’s a rotting log and it’s been helped along by one of the top predators in the food chain, a bear. Bears paw through soft dead wood like this, searching for grubs and other little critters that feed on decaying wood. We just missed seeing a bear on the trail where we saw this log. Other hikers excitedly described their sighting further down the trail. It was gone by the time we got there. Phew!

Hoh nurse log 1

Nurse logs are an environmental feature of a temperate rainforest and the Hoh Rainforest provides abundant examples. Fallen trees break down over time and facilitate germination of seedlings. Small trees grow along the length of the decaying trunk. The roots you see above are growing through and over the side of a nurse log.

Hoh nurse log 3

As the new trees mature the original nurse log decays into humus and eventually disappears. The roots form strong, intricate webs.

Hoh nurse log 2

Tangles of tree roots are left once the nurse log is gone.

Hoh nurse log 4

The roots sometimes have air gaps and voids where there once was a decaying tree.

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Here’s a Native American prayer, a peace offering for a world in pain.

“Creator, open our hearts
to peace and healing between all people.

Creator, open our hearts
to provide and protect for all children of the earth.

Creator, open our hearts
to respect for the earth, and all the gifts of the earth.

Creator, open our hearts
to end exclusion, violence, and fear among all.

Thank you for the gifts of this day and every day.”

Alycia Longriver, Micmac Native American

Hoh new growth 2

The visual beauty of the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park is unmistakable. But if there’s time to slow down a little and take it all in the magic unfolds. Because of its staggering rainfall — 12 to 14 feet per year — life here flourishes. The environment is packed with nutrients as organic materials fall and decay to become rich mulch for new growth. Though light on the forest floor is diffused there is growth everywhere. Under this miniature greenery, above, is a tree stump.

Hoh new growth

Growth takes hold at virtually every turn. It can truly be awe inspiring to take it all in.

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I’m deeply saddened by the divisions, bloodshed and displacement in the world and it has seemed even greater recently. I won’t rant but will offer some thoughts I’ve found valuable.

“Children, everybody, here’s what to do during war:

In a time of destruction, create something.
A poem.
A parade.
A community.
A school.
A vow.
A moral principle.
One peaceful moment.”

“The Fifth Book of Peace,” Maxine Hong Kingston