Where I live in northwest Montana, winter can feel like an eternity. Cloudy inversions can drop into our valley for days, sometimes even weeks on end before a cold clear day brings the glorious sunshine back, if even for only a day.
One way to cope with dreary Montana winters (short of denning-in like our native grizzlies) is to embrace our surroundings. For me, this meant a brisk hike with my pups in a nearby state park last weekend. While working our way up a favorite trail, it seemed I was seeing the forest through different eyes. Perhaps it was the stark white landscape that drew my eyes to see what I had passed by so many times last summer. Dead, decaying trees full of holes jumped out at me as if I had never seen them before.
I recalled past field trips with my students in Glacier National Park, where rangers taught us about the amazing biome of old-growth forests, and the importance of dying and decaying trees. On my hike, it seemed all my eyes found were these trees; homes to birds, squirrels, insects, and other winter resistors.
It has been a while since I attempted a poem, but I could feel inspiration bubbling up in me as I continued my hike. I haven’t tried a haiku, so with the continuing encouragement and mentoring from my good friend, Margaret Simon, I share this poem in celebration of and appreciation for old-growth forests.
Thank you to Jan @ bookseedstudio for hosting today’s #PoetryFriday link-up!