Growing up, I thought I understood what a forest was, but it wasn’t until a cold and wet spring morning when I was 20 years old that I had a true awakening. Standing in the Carmanah Valley 26 years ago, I realized that until then I had never really been in a forest before – not a forest where the layers of life and vitality were as tall as the trees whose tops I could not even see. I did not know there were that many shades of green. I did not know the quality of sound could be so different, that the air could feel alive, that water could saturate every molecule. I did not know what had been lost in those clear cuts that we’d driven through to get to the Carmanah until I woke up to discover what an old growth forest really is. I did not know the perfect beauty of an intact forest.
Beauty matters. Natural beauty reminds us that this world is a precious and delicate place, and that our role on this planet has to go far beyond figuring out how we can make money off of it.