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At a Trailwriters Workshop last weekend, while hiking with a group of women writers and environmentalists in the Olympia National Forest, we were asked to write a poem about a perceptual shift that arose out of our experience. 

bent over snags

Around the bend I see a gnarled, hunched over snag.

Its brittle, dead limbs, covered in dark moss,

Hang like lifeless appendages

Dragging on the ground.

Its stooped, frail spine

Faces away from a towering, magnificent fir

Standing proud in its sturdy, youthful prime.

The snag stands alone

Near the end of its life

Looking ashamed and forlorn

As if cast out because

It is too old and no longer useful.

I stand in the trail, tears stinging my eyes

My heart breaks.

I whisper to the old snag,

Don’t worry. I see you.

Your life still has value.

Your wisdom will carry on

In your bones as they become the compost

That will support the life of this youngster here.

I shout to the fir.

Dude. Tip your boughs and pay homage

To this old snag.

It’s just a matter of time.

Just a matter of time.



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