Moss covered nurse log in forest

The Nurse Log (click to enlarge, then again to see all the details)

Not unlike me, the old nurse log that rests on the edge of our southern pond seems to be getting lower to the ground and wider in the hips with each passing year.

What used to be a round, high and solid surface is now soft, spongy and low enough to step over, even with my short legs.

The nurse log supports a variety of colonizing mosses, and the roots of neighbouring firs, hawthorns and willows amble through it.

Along its top surface, you can see hundreds – perhaps thousands – of small brown scaly objects: refuse from Squirrely’s meals, eaten on a fir branch overhead. To the side of the log, the bounty of discarded seed coats have formed deep middens which will eventually become substrate for new forest mosses, plants and trees.

At its west end the decaying log nurtures a Pacific crabapple, whose branches lean awkwardly over the pond (not visible in the photo above, but you can see it here). Before very long, those branches will break off, changing the topography of the pond and starting on their own cycle of decay, renewal and growth.

Now if only I could find my own process of aging as fascinating as that of the forest…

About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer focused on nature and nautical on the BC coast

10 responses »

  1. The forest is a truly amazing place! Where’s your favorite forest walk? I love the boardwalk to Hot Springs Cove. Also East Sooke Park. And many others!

  2. Sherry Galey says:

    I love looking at this image close up. The tones are beautiful. I would love to know more about moss…

  3. Fred Bailey says:


    Good as ever!

  4. Yeah, somehow I have a hard time describing my personal aging process as interesting, or magnificent.

  5. LOL…it is actually fascinating…just not in the way you want it to be fascinating

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