Category Archives: Priest Lake

The Tree

The tree had lived forty years
Through summer wind, winter snow
Once supple, green; with the breeze it swayed
Now rigid, gray; to sandy soil it clung

The elderly logger tied a line twenty feet up
Pulled taught by he and a neighbor
A young forester cut a wedge into the trunk,
Lining up the fall

To the north a cabin
To the south power lines
To the west a shed
To the east a clear path

The forester gave his command
His chainsaw dug into the tree
It creaked, moaned; leaned to the South
Logger ran to the north, neighbor in tow
Tension on the line as they moved
It was enough
Cloud of dust as the tree hit the ground

The tree once stood hard against the wind
Now stacked in a pile; fuel for a fire
Returned to ash

Fire at Priest Lake

Lightning strikes the mountain forest

Days pass, embers smolder

Wind blows, a fire grows

Summer grass burst into flames

Fire spreads along the forest floor

Climbing into the trees

The scent of smoke ebbs and flows

Drifting toward the lake

Animals nervously sniff the air

Sensing danger, a migration begins

A death march, where resting may bring the end

Moving east, away from danger

Deer, elk, moose, bear, wolves, birds

Large and small, seeking fresh air and water

Weary and covered in soot

Crossing the highway, stunned and frightened

Vehicles stop, providing passage

Heads down, one foot following the other

A parade of souls seeking safe haven

The forest is home to the animals

Much of it cannot be saved

The animals are on the move and will not return

They will find a new place, a new home

Priest Lake Woodpecker

woodpecker

A commotion arises

Sounds filter through the pines

A sense of urgency, panic, pain

Four frantic children yelling at their dogs

Spaniels after an injured bird

A ten-year old holding one back

Skin torn, flesh exposed, leg broken

The woodpecker had injured its leg badly

Attacked earlier by a raven or other animal

An elderly bird near journeys end

Two neighbors arrive and set calm to the panic

The retired logger speaks softly to the children

Tells them to leave the bird alone, in peace

That it will die later that day

He would have ended the bird’s misery as a younger man

Nearly seventy, he feels connected

He and the bird are both old and traveling the same path

He sees himself in its eyes, lacking the heart to end its life

The second neighbor is much younger, has yet to face his mortality

He has a kind spirit and comforts the bird

Transfers him to a cage in a darkened shed

There the bird rests quietly

Once proud and stately, climbing the tallest trees

Reduced now to an immobile heap of feathers

By late evening he is gone

Buried in the garden beneath his favorite tree

Priest Lake Guilty Pleasure

Her guilty pleasure was not new to me,

I have been touched by her before.

Twelve years ago I buried my father,

The next day I visited her with my daughters.

It was the place he loved most and that feeling had been passed on,

Three generations strong.

We swam that day without a care,

Slipping into her soothing waters as the world fell apart around me.

Her clear water releasing the stress from my soul,

Water neither hot nor cold, embracing the body whole.

The feeling comes not often,

But come it did the other day.

Fire-fighters from faraway places battled a fire that threatened her,

Risking all to save the forest.

I slipped into her waters that afternoon.

As they fought flames on unforgiving terrain,

I soaked in her warmth.

The stress eased from my being,

Laden with guilt, suspended in her embrace.

The serenity, the peace.

Smoke in the distance; tasted with each breath.

There I lie floating; without a care.

Filled only with guilty pleasure

 

Welcome Summer Rain

I hung laundry and it began to rain,

A rain we have missed for some time.

The forests surrounding our mountain lakes are dry,

And on fire.

Crews have been sent from far to save our forests and lakes.

We can’t do it alone,

They can’t do it alone.

We need help from God and today he provided.

The rain fell steady and may give our crews the edge they need.

Rain without lightening—a blessing.

Our community is indebted to the fire crews,

We know them a bit, through their pictures on Facebook.

They look tough and dirty and hot,

And fearless and strong and able.

We repay them in small ways—cookies, cold drinks, other necessities.

It is not enough, yet it is all we can do.

And it helps.

It helps them and it helps us feel a part of the fight.

The fire will be put out,

The crews will head for the next venue.

We will remember them,

We hope they will remember we cared.

Priest Lake Sandpiper

sandpiper

Trimmed the grass along our beach wall,

 Used a scythe to cut it down.

 I saw a brown bird so small,

 It made a piping sound.

 A long narrow beak and skinny legs,

 Protecting a small nest containing three eggs.

 It was a Sandpiper nest I had found.

 With kids and dogs the nest was in danger,

 I put up a structure to serve as a manger.

 Not long after to our delight,

 Those Priest Lake eggs hatched and the birds did take flight.

 The beach is not ours it is there to share,

 With our lake animal friends and those in their care.