Words and photos by Coalatree Ambassador Eric Bennett. See more images from his trip here.

I have been doing a lot more introspection of as of late. I depend on the wilderness for its solitude and its grounding silence, that allows me to quiet my thinking mind and become more conscious of my spiritual self. More than ever I have been seeking and relying on that stillness, absorbing the peace I feel from wandering in vast desert canyons, listening to winding mountain streams, and communing with the trees of the forest. 

I’ve gone on many amazing photography trips already this year, but one that really stands out was when my fiancé and I went up to the Olympic Peninsula this spring, the most productive rainforest in terms of biomass per acre on Earth. I wanted to show her what it is like to be in a forest filled with life, where things grow on top of things, growing on top of things, growing on top of things, and so on. But somehow every life form, big and small, seems to find a place to grow and thrive. Everything was connected in such perfect harmony, each thing a part of something bigger, working together to be one organism, instead of just individual trees. The forest is a sacred place with such significant importance, the lungs of the Earth, that keep you, me, and literally everything else alive.

 

As soon as we entered the forest we could feel the immeasurable amount of life that was all around us, though we didn’t see any other people around. So many life forms, bursting with joy in celebration of their existence, we could feel that joy, we could feel that the forest was excited to show us around, and we let the light guide us through dark, mossy hallways. It didn’t take long for us to realize with an undeniable certainty that we too were connected to this larger, living organism, not just the forest, but Mother Earth. After that, we did not wish to leave. For a week, each day her and I wandered in reverent silence, many times in our own directions, for several hours at a time, carried away by an immense awe and wonder of our surroundings. This is what I saw.

Eric provides tutorials and photography guidance. Learn more about his offerings on his website.