22. Nov, 2018

American Forest Heart -- A Celebration (Caviardage Poem)

I'd come to this obscure corner of

the heart

the center of a rich forest

there are no boundaries

to this forest land

any tree lover will

know when they've arrived there.

Big skies were behind me

the highway ran beneath walls of green

the road a shaved

strip through a carpet of forest.

Grand firs and lacy white pines, and 

red cedar: their sweeping limbs called me

reaching outward like gothic angels'

wings.

The hemlocks sneaked in, a 

dark, haunting element.

As a kid amidst this forest,

bringing stories of the wild woods back

I was quick and eager

to explain how

hemlock and sword fen

survived in the low-elevation

canyons.

Plopped between arid landscapes

this cloaked country

would lead

above the river canyon.

Dark, feathery foliage dangled over a hazy

blue gap below.

Looking west, there was

unbroken sunshine

and piles of snow still covered the trail.

But the storms regathered to create another wet

valley.

Beside a crystalline creek,

I was sitting in emerging sunshine,

gazing at lower slopes.

Soon our trail entered the woods--

a new grove of trees below,

in the cedars.

Over a cold spring-fed creek,

the cedars were king.

In these woods,

western white pines once

dominated an endless grove of 

tall straight trees.

I was giddy. The river glowed golden

from yellow boulders.

Around the first bend, a cow elk stood on 

shore, head down eating streamside grasses.

I wandered upstream,

started uphill.

Up and up along a spine

ridge with views of the river below,

lost in reverie when 

sunlight shone ahead of me

and nearby fir trees were 

forming a clear-cut:

wild nature was behind,

left below in its canyon.

The sun was setting over the rim

of the canyon

behind silouhettes of hemlock

hanging like a veil over the forgotten

forests of the interior.

 

Caviardage poem created from Tyler Williams' article "Clearwater Country", in American Forests, Fall 2018, pp. 34-39. 

Picure by courtesy of Jaymantri via pexels.com