Tag Archives: death

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

Lake Time Wasting

For we, time is a wasting resource.

 Too much for the young, too little for the old.

 As time wastes away the enthusiasm and energy of our youth,

 All we might hope is we are in a place we want to be.

 No place does waste away time as does Priest Lake;

 And there is no greater place to be, and have time waste away.

 Terry Robinson