Staying two nights instead of just one out on the farm has let my mind sink into the space here. The hikes, the rivers and creeks, just the sheer beauty and diversity of the natural wildlife in Northern Idaho is something that can compare to the nature that we’ve seen. And since it is our last morning here on the farm until we head back to Bonners Ferry, Janet decided to take anyone who wanted to on one last hike through the lush space we have all around us.
Jasper and Kieran wanted to stay at the cabin to relax and read while Janet, Alex, and I took a final hike through the landscape that I have so admired every summer for my life. It was an old logging trail, one that is still in use but shows how the land has adapted and overgrown in parts of the woods that have not been traveled by humans for quite some time.
During our travels, I read a book called Earth Abides, which is a beautiful story set in a post apocalyptic world really about how time changes things, and the Earth takes back what humanity and other powers did to it, altering physical things such as structures but also knowledge, shaping what the main character knew about the world and his thoughts on the future.
Recently a huge and exciting storm spread across land covering Bonners Ferry to the farm. The storm, with its tough wind and raging thunder, actually felled many huge and old trees that were standing tall and proud in the forest around our cabin. During the storm, a sizeable tree snapped and fell on top of my grandfather’s old workshop, crashing through its metal roof.
The house where my grandfather grew up is already overgrown and in ruins. The Earth took over what was built on its soil, covering the house in vines and plants. Perhaps the old workshop is next. Why not, because eventually Mother Earth takes back everything, and Earth Abides.
And perhaps after the old workshop gets overgrown and destroyed, the house where Janet was raised will follow, then the cabin we are sleeping in right now, and after whatever amount of time it takes, the whole world will go back to the care of Mother Earth (just until our sun explodes).
And the beauty of that notion really came out on our walk. Frequently the trail would be blocked by a large tree trunk that we would climb under or over. Littering the ground was snapped pieces of timber and fallen pinecones. We walked through spiny berry bushes (yum), and pushed branches of pine trees out of our way. All where a logging trail was. An old road in the area was unrecognizable due to the peaceful overgrowth of vegetation.
We stood on a hill overlooking the Kootenai River valley, and I couldn’t help but imagine what the field of human-planted crops and bridges over the river would look like after centuries of being left in the care of the Earth.
As we climbed down the hill, we passed more berry bushes and eventually ended back up at the gate to our property, and walked down the road to the cabin. We mostly just drove this path when entering or exiting the property, but now as I walked it, there seemed more bushes and branches than ever before. Each year it looks different. Perhaps it is that the trees are in different places. Or maybe Mother Earth has nurtured it and let it grow wild and free.
“Men come and go, but the Earth Abides”
Below: Felled Tree on Workshop
Below: House Where my Grandfather Grew Up–Going back to the Earth
Below: Pictures from Hike
Below: Declaration of War on Knapweed (a noxious weed)