Forestry Camp, Meadow Valley

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Is there anything more precious than a baby incense cedar?
No hurt feelings after last year’s logging,
this child springs up baby green.
As I walk among the mixer conifers of Baker,
I recognize the Pyrola picta, the Chimophila umbellata,
the crunch of the Cohasset.
It is a good, good feeling to know them by name,
friends wherever I go.
The more I learn,
the more I can release my imagination to wild places.
We shake and tremble now that we’ve seen
quaking aspen show us how it’s done,
we squeal like Douglas squirrels,
and we turn rosy cornutt red.
We spend the summer slowly sinking into the earth,
absorbing,
growing down and up and outward,
reaching for each other,
basking in the weekend sunshine.
Are we hear to learn from the landscape,
or learn to become it?
To carve a niche into these acres of ours,
and call it our home?
Merging the wild and the domestic into
one botanical existence,
easing human tensions until it all comes together
like thepuzzle piece bark of a Pinus ponderosa.
Is there anything more precious than a baby incense cedar?
Would a Jeffrey by any other name smell as sweet?
Which mixed conifer species reigns supreme,
which Sierra swimming hole is best?
Perhaps by the end of our summer of
campfires and cruising timber,
mugwort dreams and mattress moon-gazing,
the answers will come,
whispered maybe from above,
in the voice of Joe McBride.

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