A Spiritual Ecology of West Coast Rainforest
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  - an article from Earth Vision by Josef Graf
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Here on the West Coast, the salt of circumspect washes steadily against the sea of verdure.  Greening and etheric expansion prevail, the sprouting, moiling flora thrives and reproduces, roots itself into a constant crescendo.  Here, none can turn away, because all directions are exposed.  And none can hold in check the wheeling force that rises, anymore than the tidal range of the ocean can cease its endless respiration.

Ashore, as the eye and heart grow sated on outward effulgence, and turn within to look across the forest of soulhood, the seeker encounters a buffeting wind, ceaselessly  wailing in sonic silence, blowing against all branching forces, delivering wind-in-bough-songs to a wild and vigilant audience.

In this coastal dominion we find a range of dwellers-in-habitat, from the diminutive wren, mouse-bird, in its fern-frond forest, up to old growth tree giants, who, in this ocean-edge environ, have evolved powerful rooting forces to withstand the great winds that prevail from across the waters.


In the morning light, the sea compels me to open my wings over the tide-flat of vision.  By day, I will sing you a tree.  I will dance you a stream. And when evening falls, I will orate for you a sunset, warmth and color twining into distant measures.

A small melodic bird spreads its wings by the seaweed leavings of the tidal bore.  Song sparrow serenade, dulcet phrasing in the salt air, rises as a green-leafing melody beneath usnea whiskers, wildly bearded lichens draped on the lower reaches of conifer boughs.

And I walk slowly, with deliberation, through the sea-edge forest, where the mouse-wren flits furtive, barely sensed, in an under-story of fern and salal, through a storyline, compelling and intricate.

Here, Grandmother nature unfolds her genesis masterwork by the edge of the riffling, over the surface of the sea of allocation.  Grandmother nature, in a spirit of prosperity and layers weaving, serves up an authorship penned in ink of confluence and deeply rooting provision. 


And late in the night, by the same rapturous sea, but further down-coast, well beyond sunsetís quiet portal into animal dreamtime, the howling of wolves pierces the veils of primordia arranged to keep human knowing at bay.

For nine years they waited, spanning puppy-hood to elder, down through countless alpha moons.  And then, as the calendar of inspiration came to wheel in full circle, now through the rain of night, the creative, wolf-born force holds no longer in abeyance.

Now the howling sings into the stirring of sleepers, into the spaces of wakening.  Across the sea of freedom and imagination the wolf pack hurls its healing resonance, sound forming into a vessel that sails over the tumult heaving upon the surface of the feral and shore-less pond.



The moon stimulates the waking of our animal nature.  This is why, so often at the time of full moon, insomnia is induced in those sensitive to environmental influence. Within the psyche, the moon enhances those qualities peculiar to this coastal landscape  - rooting, sprawling, raining, seeping, dripping, climbing wave on wave, rolling across the soulís beachhead. . . .

I am driven (by self) to be functional and/or creative. However, at this time I am more in need of centering myself.  That is, of asking my deeper core for direction.  What am I wanting to engage in, at this moment, from my center?

Seeing myself, then, attuning to the pulse of heart at every turn, going by the Inner Voice, is the same as aspiring to fulfill my incarnation  - or, put another way, knighting myself in service to Lady Soul.

Meanwhile, down by the base of a giant old-growth fir, where mindful patience lends passage through a subterranean portal, rooting takes place, a biting into the earthen counterpart of human will forces.  Feeding into the soulís need for holding firm in the face of expanse, the grand-parental tree hums its steadfast tone, never giving way to common worldly dissolution.

In this setting, the milding of temperament proceeds at an even pace.



Here is the true West.

And in this westernmost place, earthen land (physicality) meets the vast arena of spiritís metaphor (water).  Because of this, The West presides as a Threshold.

Interior eyes gaze, here, out over the end of incarnationís journey.  After arriving here, at this metaphysical meeting-ground of sea and shore, one can turn and explore either a Northern, or Southern path. Or one can turn fully round, Eastward, and wend a way backward, regress to a former time and circumstance.

Or, more often, as spirit tends to have its way, one can linger here, centered Westerly - for a duration that can even last beyond a thousand heartbeats.

What span can bracket a boundless destiny?


This West Coast is rife with pattern, repeating gesture, repetition of form unending, layers of lamina radiating through the forest, striations interwoven, perpetuation of pattern, leaf by leaf, gesture by gesture, stem and limb and trunk, reverberation of form, under a sky weeping with bands of light and streaming spatter, repetition of rain and light-beam, an unending effulgence. . . .

If a choreographer were to devise a sequenced movement of, perhaps, a minuteís duration, then have the dancer repeat the sequence almost identical to the first expression, but altered in some subtle way  - then continue to alter, slightly, the minute long sequences, each time, for an hourís duration, the dance could be built into a masterpiece that would inspire and elevate the audience (if it was done right) (and, one could even cycle back seamlessly, after the sixty phases, to the original expression  - or not. . .).

A similar rarefied level of masterpiece endures in West Coast rainforest  - only not in physical choreography, but on the breathing, pulsing level of plant/etheric life, as sensed by audience of the soul.

Turning to yet another art form, a visual rendition of this West Coast phenomena of etheric richness can be viewed in the works of certain painters (Emily Carr, for example).


And by virtue of its own creative arena, the rainforest is verging upon its neighbor ocean, the sea of endless heaving birth-song. And between the land and sea an intermediate zone presides. An inter-tidal realm, in which one can venture back and forth, between liquid and solid, loosening access across the threshold, and lingering in balance between ebb and flow.

Twice daily the heaving of the sea has its way, rising and falling in rhythm unerring. And, alternating, now stepping back from the constant rhythm, now moving forward into its cadence, a bigger set of ďwavesĒ washes, a respiration of a wider span.

Wash of wave can become a fascination, on a certain level of our being.  When we open to it, the rhythm takes us into its mesmeric force, enfolds us in timeless embrace.  Over time, the tempo of constancy, as though devised to mirror full breaths of the soulís own pulse, spirals into an alignment of rarified synchronicity.

Within this inter-tidal embrace dwell numerous beings of exceptional bearing.  Mollusk, crustacean, sea star, anemone, kelp, red laver, sea lettuce, clam, oyster, moon-snail.  Some possess staunch power of adherence  - mussel,  barnacle, limpet.  And some, like the plate-armored chiton, eluding the glare of sun, partake of nightís diatom nurture.

Here, seashell creatures, crabs and the like, wear their bones on the outside, soft and pliant within a protective shield.  And the sea star, with its formidable power of regeneration, splays itself out in celestial gesture.

And, as though to answer the gleaming of moonbeam, deep within the filter-feeding mechanism of an oysterís determination, through striving and willing, a higher form is birthing.  Like the pearl vision of the third eye, responding to nightís offering, an oysterís silken act becomes moonlight made solid.  Radiance, a living density, luster of Luna, a pearl to perhaps one day become a precious orbit around a venusian neckline.


Then, by dawn, rogue waves begin swamping, assailing, drenching.

Now, all of humanity comes to face its most Western edge.  The end is nigh.  No more will solid ground stretch forth to show a way.  The shadow cast, now, over the whole of civilization, cannot be lifted by any, nor every, means of humanityísmaterial focus.  Nor will, nor thought, nor scheme, nor intricate systematic endeavor can avail.

Thousand by thousand, hearts close to light, day by day, across all human terrain.  A doorway is sought, even as, cast into the dark, we grope for a way of resolve.

Here and now, five senses are no longer enough, from here on only by newly-waking all twelve senses (and then some) can we find a way.  The material path leads into the abyss from which it arose.  Only spirit ignited by ourselves which, in the end, will not be censored, can deliver us.


The power of salmon gives of itself in exceptional measure, through both abundance and quality.  By its sacrifice, life continues, many-fold  - for bear, wolf, raccoon, seagull, eagle, otter, mink, and a host of others. Powers are enhanced in those who honor the spirit of salmon  - perception, steadfast bearing, will-power, and conveying the power of regeneration to the headwaters of the soul.

Trickster raven, mythic and pre-mythic being, audacious, mischievous, discerning, endowed with creative force, unfolds its wings.  Cedar impresses its contours into the grain of the soulís character, a soft red carving of endurance and timeless wisdom.  Totem beings watch over the land and waters.  Mountains rise abruptly from the sea and hold fast with deep-running fiords forming terrain that resists the ďprogressĒ of humanityís intrusive highways. Rugged, road-free, holding wild, keeping undue development at bay.

In bygone days of prosperity and proximity to natureís vault of knowledge  - before the fall of Haida culture into the ways of warring and slavery  - all manner of wisdom prevailed. The light of that time shines now from the future  - although, this time, when humanity returns to the power and resplendence of nature-communion, it will be by means of one-on-one focus, well beyond the confinement of tribe and kin.


A potlatch is given in honor of natureís generous spirit.  Red flesh of cedar is honored, as is red flesh of salmon, and red of Haida, Tlingit, and Salish.

Poised on the edge of the vast amniotic birthing-sea, an ocean of genesis, the ritual of gratitude feeds back into the streaming flow of prosperity.

And across the domain of soul, dark-winged mystery, embodied by a charismatic raven, twists against the wind, turning sideways to knife its way forward.  High over white cap froth it plies its way until, at length, it arrives at the crown of a grandparent tree.  There it pauses, to rest a while, on that tall spruce-wise projection of the heartís questing, high above a creek in which the tireless salmon of the soulís will-force makes its way.

And now, raven, spruce, salmon, wave, wind, sunlight, and a thousand more  - a broad range of diversity gathers.  And the heartsongs of every member of the immense tableau converge in a subtle, yet powerful resonance.

A harmony presides here that is, in some mysterious way, timeless by nature, symphonic in scope, and generous beyond measure.








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