American Forest Heart -- A Celebration (Caviardage Poem)
I'd come to this obscure corner of
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'
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
Plopped between arid landscapes
this cloaked country
above the river canyon.
Dark, feathery foliage dangled over a hazy
blue gap below.
Looking west, there was
and piles of snow still covered the trail.
But the storms regathered to create another wet
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,
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