I used to work for a furniture builder from North Idaho. He smoked American Spirits, hated micro-brews, harley tough guys, and judgements that weren’t his own. His was a large heart for all things strange and beautiful. He would tell me Spokane is the strangest city in the world. And he has been all over.
Last summer he told me about an ancient cedar grove in the area. The Roosevelt Ancient Cedar Grove is two hours north of Spokane, and not many people know about it.
On a restless morning, my wife and I decided we were heading northward to find trees that were young saplings when Jesus Christ was learning how to use a saw. It was a cold morning. As we pushed further north; water turned to ice to snow. Rolling, rocky hills. Smoke. Grey. Pines.
Fear in me rose with the snowpack. Once we finally pulled into the State Park, we were breaking fresh snow tracks. No one had been there for some time. As we hiked past granite falls, distanced ourselves from the water, we could hear nothing. No far off engine, no hum. Wendell Berry writes about “the peace of wild things.” I believe this, but I also believe in fear. The fear of wild things is a good thing to experience. The frailty of my body when my wheels can no longer spin, when my phone, that omniscient safety line, can give me nothing. The world is a beautiful, dangerous place.