Journal of Writing & Environment

It is a huge thing to live.  Inevitable, my neighbor says.  While the pine beetles kill the pine forest that surrounds us.  Gather your important papers, your painting of the lake.  Before the first fires arrive, the clear cutting.  It is natural, they say, this culling.  The trees don’t shout in pain.  But we do not recognize anymore where we are standing.  Bold, the contours of the earth exposed, though my favorite path to the upper meadow has been erased.  The crowns blaze orange on the hilltop, and we mistake them for the coming dawn.  We are new students come for the disorientation.  It will be a relief when the needles fall, the space between green crowded with the shadow-limbs of death, blending in, stepping back, the way we are used to it.