The land around the Salish Sea is warm. It almost never freezes there. Snow is visible in the higher elevations of the Cascades and the Olympic mountains, but the lower regions are temperate during the whole year. Forests cover huge areas. Vast stands of fir and cedar tower above everything else. Even in winter, when the deciduous trees have shed their leaves, the whole place is intensely and impossibly green.
One morning, Karin, Stefan, and I walked through the Grand Forest on Bainbridge Island. It is a area of old growth forest on the island. It has trails, and we hiked one of them for over an hour. Stefan was impressed by the size and height of the trees. He asked me how tall they were: one hundred feet? two hundred feet?. I couldn’t tell. All I knew is that at their base they were as big around as our dining room table. The morning was damp and overcast, and the woods were dark and deep green. Grey lichen and bright green moss clung to everything that didn’t move. Occasionally, the sky cleared enough that a shot of sunlight sliced through the gloom, and we saw the forest in all its glory. The light illuminated the reds in bare wood of the fallen cedar trees, a sharp contrast to the overpowering green. Dead trees had mushrooms and ferns growing from them. The forest was taking back its own. A close look at the bushes told me that spring had already come. There were leaf buds on most of the smaller plants. It was going to be even greener.
The land, like the water, teams with life. Even in the city, there was a feeling of growth, a feeling of nature just barely held in check. Make no mistake: at the shores of the Salish Sea, men make their mark, but it is Nature that rules.