“Lessons in Stillness From One of the Quietest Places on Earth” by Meghan O’Rourke (poetry, ’05)

Poet Meghan O’Rourke (poetry, ’05)

An essay by Meghan O’Rourke (poetry, ’05) appears in The New York Times Style Magazine:

Lessons in Stillness From One of the Quietest Places on Earth
In the wilderness of Washington State’s Hoh Rain Forest, a
poet searches for the rare peace that true silence can offer.

by Meghan O’Rourke

This story is featured in T Magazine’s Travel issue, on newsstands Nov. 12.

THE OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK stretches down coastal Washington and east toward Seattle on a thumb of land known as the Olympic Peninsula, some 60 miles long by 90 miles wide. Around a three-hour ride by car from Seattle, it feels much farther, as if you have passed into an otherworldly realm. Within it are volcanic beaches scattered with the remains of massive Sitka spruces, evergreen-crowded mountains, broad, flat valleys and the Hoh Rain Forest, through which 12 miles of hiking trails and the glacier-formed Hoh River run. The Park, in total nearly a million acres, is home to what may be the most complex ecosystem in the United States, teeming with big-leaf maples, lichens, alders, liverworts, Monkey flowers, licorice ferns, club mosses, herbs, grasses and shrubs of remarkable abundance. Today, thanks to federal protections, it is home to some of the largest remaining stands of old-growth forest in the continental U.S. [… continue reading here.