The Forest Remembers 2020

March 25, 2020

For 10 years, members of the NCLC family have athered annually in the Memorial Grove at Circle Creek Conservation Center to read aloud the names of all those honored with memorial gifts to NCLC, over the past year and throughout our history. This year, 2020, covid-19 precautions resulted in cancellation of the public side of this gathering.

But these loved ones were still remembered. On April 25 at 11:30 a.m., NCLC volunteer Kit Ketcham walked alone to a natural area just outside her home in Astoria and read the reflection she wrote and reads every year at The Forest Remembers:

Ancient wisdom tells us that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, that we drink from wells we did not dig and sit in the shade of trees we did not plant, that we are forever bound together in community.

Today we come to honor those whose shoulders have given us a foundation, who provided the wellsprings from which our lives are nourished, and who nurtured the forest which sustains and delights us. 

The forest remembers their gifts and gives them back many-fold as we walk its paths, sense its fragrance, the life it sustains, and the voices of its inhabitants. 

We honor and remember, with the forest, the selflessness of those who gave of their resources and their life’s energy to protect and preserve these living communities of the land  we love.

At the same moment, board member Tom Horning stepped into his front yard, where false lily of the valley grows under the evergreen huckleberries below a western redcedar that sprouted there 46 years ago, in the summer of 1974, from a seed that blew in on the breeze, and read aloud these names: [or “walked a few steps from his house to where a Monterrey cypress grows near the river, sprouted from seed collected from a tree at Neawanna Point 15 years ago.”]

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Meanwhile, in Gearhart, volunter Vianne Patterson XXXX and read aloud these names:

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Down the street, volunteer Pat Johns XXXX and read aloud these names:

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In Cannon Beach, board member Betsy Ayres XXX XXXX and read aloud these names:

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In Arch Cape, board president John Mersereau XXXX and read aloud these names:

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In Manzanita, volunteer Julianne Johnson XXXXX and read aloud these names:

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Board president Katie Voelke walked into her front yard in Nehalem, facing forested Onion Peak to the north, and read aloud these names:

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Meanwhile, up the Nehalem River, staff member Lorraine Ortiz stood on her front porch facing the broad Nehalem Valley and read aloud these names.

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“Memories of those whose lives are finished on this earth bring tears to those who are left behind; we come to the forest for solace and peace, for we remember, and the Forest Remembers.”
—From The Forest Remembers: Litany of Remembrance, by Kit Ketcham

Photo of Onion Peak by Trav Williams/Broken Banjo Photography

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