The Breaths of Coastal Rainforests

Owen L. Oliver
2 min readMar 31, 2021

This piece was captured on the lands of the Yurok people and fully articulated on Tlingit territory.

Mindfulness as sitting in place, listening to your body, reading the triggers, and acknowledging the motions of the mind. Winding up and releasing tensions that flutter through the limbs and out with a simple shake. We focus on our lungs; breathing in, breathing out, filling space, emptying thoughts with each pulse. Lungs like a heart, like a runner’s cadence, like an oscillating kitchen aid, they are cyclical. Cyclical to you and cyclical to the land.

As I traverse through the natural landscape of standing giants and sleeping ones that continue to nurture below ground, I am reminded of the breaths that have escaped bypassers.

To perceive a place, one must sit in place. Breathing cyclical thoughts, as you stationarly connect to the land in regard with the context that has been created in relation to one another. As I practice this across different lands and territories I’m reminded of lungs.

Walking into a Coastal Redwood Forest is like opening a cool crisp refrigerator. The beams of sun glide through the dense upper story of branches, leaves, and debris to glisten the understory with an angelic dew. Those late-night sneak and peaks into the fridge streak light across the dull and dark kitchen. Widening the girth of viewable light. As you reach your hand into the fridge, the cold air oxidizes into a similar breath that reminds you of the breaths that pass through the giant trees from the ocean winds.

You feel small in a field of giants, who wouldn’t? But their breaths of ocean-salted mist mimics your own breath of awe. Cycically trading off, you take in the monumental understanding of these trees that sit in place for thousands of years, witnessing the passing of people and the occasional person who wants to sit right beside them.

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