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I have visited the Primordial Forest near the coast of Oregon. The Hidden Creek Wilderness has a stand of giant Redwoods going back two thousand years.

It seems that few humans wander off the path into this overgrown untouched wilderness with Hidden Creek running through it. Even the Indians that lived along the coast and wore the bark for clothing, gathered berries and seeds from the undergrowth, were said to be afraid of the Dark Forest. Occasionally an old hunter enters the forest, carrying his rifle. The turf is moist and spongy from layers of bark and loam and old trees that have fallen over, becoming part of the ground. It is easy to take a step and sink way down. The smell is fresh and musty. The redwoods grow straight upwards, creating a ceiling at about 200 feet. There are signs of elk and bear along the river. One tree is charred by lightening, somehow burning in all this wetness. Inside this place there are no paths, and the trees are covered in moss hanging down, like old elegant clothing.

Winter wrens hop along the ground and are difficult to see. The only sound is the owl hooting. American Dippers dive in and out of the river.

Inside with the trees the silence is thick, palpable. There are no human sounds left, and not a trace of human presence. Just these ancient trees guarding memory. I say to myself, ”Nothing false can enter Here.”

Contributed by Laurie Doctor

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