Forest Cathedrals

Winter walks in hardwood forests remind me of Gothic cathedrals. I suppose it is the columns rising all around, and the vaulted tracery of branches overhead. Even the sunbeams shining at low angle through a maze of branches seem like the effect of stained glass.

I know it should be the other way around. Ancient as the European masterpieces may be, they are infants compared to the forest. If there is any reminding to be done, it should be buildings reminding me of nature. Perhaps that would happen were I there, but I am here in a large park and my memories run backwards.

Of course, architects would claim form follows function. The churches and the woodlands both reach for the sky and a covering canopy. The methods end up being a convergent evolution of pillars and overarching ribs. Simply a consequence of the constraints of gravity on the necessities of a desire to get higher. 

Be that as it may, quiet January strolls down the dead leaf paths are religious. Meditations on grand themes come easily, at least until one trips over a rock or root to be yanked back to local reality.

I am sorry for those who cannot or will not find such restorative retreats. Grateful that I can still do so. 

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