A poem from our daily walk: this time the forest won

Annie and I walk most days up a gravel road through an area that used to be all coastal forest. It lies in the airport flight path and was once planned to be a large recreational complex with a golf course, houses and other buildings, but they were never built. Over the years, we have watched big machines rip out the trees and leave sections nearly bare, but the plants always grow back. The rabbits, deer, cougars and snakes return. However, a couple of the old bulldozers remain. I don’t understand this waste of machinery that just sits there and rots, but they are here, slowly falling apart as the forest reclaims its land. Today I share this picture and poem with you. 
Long ago the bulldozers came,
jaws ripping down the pines and Sitka spruce,
merciless tires smashing through
blackberry vines, cow parsnip and buttercups,
leaving a graveyard of sun-bleached trunks
among which the deer could find no food.
Now the hard-hat men work somewhere else,
but they left their big machine behind.
The grass has grown so thick only a rabbit
could run to the rusting steel hulk
to sniff at its cracking leather seat,
its gears, its knobs, a forgotten glove.
Scotch broom surrounds it like a fence,
seed pods rattling against the rails.
Thorny vines wrap around its rotting tires.
Crows perch on the top and shit
while a single purple foxglove plant
dances in front of the deadly jaws.
Copyright 2014 Sue Fagalde Lick (Please don’t republish this anywhere, including online, without my permission)

Bulldozed, part 2

Muddy tire tracks stretched all the way from Highway 101 east to the clearing where Annie and I had walked the other day. Now it was smooth, all the little stumps and shrubs cleared, making a nice long road straight to the edge of the canyon. We walked easily through, and I took pictures of the view spread before us. As we turned toward Cedar Street, I saw the yellow bulldozer and the red cherry-picker were still there. I heard voices. Annie had started digging in the soft dirt. Then she paused, left front paw raised, stilled by an intriguing smell. “Come on,” I whispered. We were about to get caught trespassing where I assumed we were not supposed to go.

Here the mud was chunky, dotted with rocks and sticks. Skinned logs from the felled trees rose in two tall piles.  As the street came into view, so did a woman, blonde with curly hair and black-framed glasses. “Did you come up the road behind the house?” she asked.

Busted. “Yes.”

She smiled. “Isn’t it great?”


It turns out the clearing is not for a new house, and it’s okay to walk there. The woman, whose name is Patty, said the airport owns the land and is raising money by logging it. The new walking area and open view are welcome bonuses, she said. Her house gets more light now, and the loggers took down some trees on her property that she had been wanting to get rid of. “Doesn’t it smell wonderful?” she said. It smelled like Christmas.

I’m torn. I love the new trail and the view of the canyon, but I love the trees, too.  I wonder what will happen next.

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