An empire of moss and broadsword ferns. Douglas fir trees bend the sea wind. Reams of gold leaf — bigleaf maple — drop through thickets of hemlock and cedar.
Kinglets hammer the forest’s ceiling with sharp brads of sound. Then they drop, working the ferns. Ten of them, right here: hazed wings and stone-bright eyes. Sulfur headstripes; bright, they slice open the heavy green drapes.
Wads of old leaf caught in maple tree crotches, rotted mats lodged inside sprays of alder twigs. Seedlings take root there, above our heads. The soil’s upper boundary is fogged. In walking, we worm through soil passages, burrows of air.