The Forest’s Not For Seeing Whole

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Contributor: Barbara Carlton

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it’s for the fabric of bark: ropes
of fir, ribbons of cedar hair, red
madrona peels, alder mosaics
in gray raw silk;

it’s for the way ferns explode like
little green fireworks, branching,
branching, branching--their tiniest
part a fractal mirror of the whole

it’s for the calligraphy of sunlight written
in air, and the glitter of a turquoise
dragonfly in a glow of dust;

it’s for the muffled crackle
of invisible deer, squirrels snarking
at the feast, the giant who breathes
in the upper branches, the patient snore
of a rock weathering;

it’s for the sharp burst of unripe
blackberries, the crumble of rotting
logs, the hum of damp earth living
and dying;

it’s for all the inventions
of green, the perfection
of stillness, the permanent hush
of expectation, a hint of the world
when everything was forest.

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I am a writer and architect living in the San Diego, California, area. My parents are long dead and my children are grown. It's a good vantage point for thinking.


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