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Showing posts from February, 2019

The Back of Beyond

Daylight begins to filter through the tops of yellow poplar, white oak, and eastern hemlock trees, and soon floods the understory of this mountain cove, deep in the Carolina hills. Mountain Laurel and rhododendron are woven together into an impenetrable sea of tangled boughs of green. Laurel hells-- what they are referred to in this region-- grow up steep walls of rock and bracken fern, giant deadfall trees and green mats of moss, wherever it can hold on. A place like this is hard to find your way through, but it is very easy to get turned around in, and if a man gets himself lost out here, he is truly lost.
Back in this cove, I am miles away from any paved roads. The only modern sound I have heard came from an airplane flying overhead just before nine o'clock this morning. A pileated woodpecker’s cries echo in the canopy of trees just below where I am standing. Far off, a crow caws. My phone doesn't have a signal here, and I don't know whether that is a curse or a blessing…

Evening in the swamp...

Light begins to fade, and darkness creeps in Just as water crept into this timber After the beaver dams backed up the flow Of what was a small stream, clear and flowing Pines go first, rotting until the tops break, Falling into a tangle of thick vines The poplars, waterlogged and leaning Soon they will be hollow, providing homes For screech owls and wood ducks, and the raccoon That left the seedy droppings on this log I am standing on to get a better view Of all that is happening in these woods Order from chaos, from death comes life The circle is eternal, everything changes From woodland to wetland, the cycle goes One dies off and another one is born Abundant waterfowl now calls this home Where the squirrels once buried acorns, The water is two feet deep and rising I would have to wade to my deer stand now My beloved holly, she's a leaning Before long, she too will fall over The timber is dying off in a swath The once thick canopy, now open sky Only the skeletons of big trees re…