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.
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.