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Olympic Rainforest at St Margaret’s
I thought it was about time that I spoke about rain. April, according to the Met Office statistics, had the highest recorded rainfall for fifty years. Even so, in central and southern England, this was only 135 mm and if it had continued to rain like that for the whole year we would, apart from being very fed up, still not have had even half of the rain that falls in the Olympic Peninsular on the very west coast of Washington Sate in America. This little patch of land that fronts the Pacific Ocean contains a mountain, Mount Olympus no less, and warm moisture laden winds forced up its western slopes drop 140 inches of rain a year there; giving birth to one of the extremely rare temperate rainforests of the world.
Frances and I visited this most extraordinary place. It is like being in a cathedral. Diffusing through the airy canopy is a translucent green-white light. Deep pile moss carpets lie underfoot. Ferns climb from the ground, joining as they grow upwards even more filigree moss dangling from above, forming tracery windows, enclosing chancels and naves. Giant trees are the pillars of this abbey: Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and Spruce, Alaskan and Red Cedar. However, the most amazing of all is the luxuriance of new growth. On every fallen tree, lying like so many pews, living trees have taken root, on logs and on old stumps, there are saplings of every size and type. Fecundity, life, growth, abundance is everywhere.
“Thus says the Lord God, I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar, I will set it out, I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain, under it every kind of bird will live, in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind.”
It is easy sometimes to forget, informed as we are about the ills of our world, the euro economic crisis, the recession, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the politics of Greece and Egypt, the Leveson enquiry, the quality of school dinners in Argyll and so many other things; it is easy to forget how amazing, precious and overwhelming is this gift of life. Mostly, we do have to go either far away or at least to some of the wilder places to immerse ourselves in it, to wonder again at the miracle of nature.
I thought too that it was about time that I updated you on the activities at Tythe Farmhouse. Earlier in the year, our three geese, two girls and a boy, hatched out seven chicks; cuddly, tiny yellow balls of fluff that, with all this rain, have grown into sturdy white birds, almost as big as their parents. During the Jubilee celebrations, Philipa, that’s the one that was called Felipe before his visit to the vet, Philipa delivered six beautiful black and white kittens.
So we have had our brush with creation this season and as ever it is miraculous, for while maybe not in the cathedral but instead in a dark corner of an upstairs wardrobe something happened. A divine spark was kindled and barely bigger than a man’s finger there was a tiny cat.
“The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter a tiny seed and the seed would sprout and grow - he does not know how”