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by Morgen

As the cold runoff water trickles down the wet ferns, it collects in small pools taking cover underneath the tall plants that tower above. The forest comes alive when it rains, which is all the time. The plants open up and embrace the fruit of our ecosystem. When it rains you can feel the relief in the air. The synchronized sigh as the drops begin to fall to the green planet below. The rivers begin to rise and roar jumping with excitement for the sudden rush of water from above. This is my favourite place. When tossing and turning in an uncomfortable, hot bed, my mind drifts to this place. A place that still remains home in the essence of my soul. A place that welcomes you like long moist mossy arms that will never let you go.

This place is Denman Island, British Columbia. This is where I was born and spent the first half of my life. In all seasons, but especially winter, the damp forest of the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place. The huge trees and wide ferns make me feel at peace and safe. Running through the dense forest with nothing but the skin that naturally protects your feet is a wonderfully freeing experience. The faint pitter patter of the constant flow of water splashing on the soaked ferns is incredibly soothing and puts babies to sleep. When the sun has set and we are getting ready to rest our heads in the comfort of a warm bed, we all sit around a roaring fire that is a constant blaze during the winter. There is something amazing about sitting around a roaring fire while listening to the pitter patter of the constant rainfall. But I can’t seem to put my finger on it.

I rise early to the sound of birds chirping and the sweet distinct smell of summer. The sound weaves through the quiet, cool room. Similar to the pattern found on the hand woven basket elegantly placed on a shelf. The dream catcher hanging down from an open window slowly rocks in the warm morning breeze. As the sleep slowly leaves me, I slide out of bed and down the red carpet stairs. With nothing on my back or feet I slowly creep towards the backyard. At this time of year the yard is comparable to the gardens of Olympus. Ripe with blackberries, huckleberries, salmon berries, and raspberries. With a berry stained face I find myself drawn to the wise old forest that has many stories to be told and many memories to be made.

The memories that I have from this place are ones that I shall remember for the rest of my life. I spent my entire childhood playing in the biggest backyard, the forest. Every day was another adventure and it was always uncertain the turnout. British Columbia is in my blood, the smell of moist mossy arms and the feeling of cool water splashing between your toes while running from siblings, are senses that remain with me for life.

NFP is publishing Morgen's essay, written when he was a young teenager, posthumously. Morgen tragically took his life, at the age of 22, on a warm summer night in 2018. Our questions are endless and we will never really know what transpired in the hours and days that preceded his final act in this world. We are left to turn to one another with more love, understanding and connection as Morgen's enduring energy will forever help carry us to the centre. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call Canada Suicide Prevention Services at 1-833-456-4566 24/7 or Text 45645. In the US call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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