The Valley

by C. A. Shoultz


The scene before my eyes was bare, and sad:
A forest once had stood upon these hills.
But now there were just stumps, and empty lands,
Where loggers had left remnants of their work.

Without the roots of trees, the ground had run,
And had become a mass of bare brown mud.
I saw a twist of roots that had been pulled,
Now lying like some tangled corpses’ limbs.

I knew that this was done on my behalf.
The easy life which I so long had led
Was fueled by this destruction, and I felt
Some weight of guilt for what I now could see.

I glanced down, and I saw a springing shoot
That led into a gully in the hills.
My eyes peered onward, and far off could see
A trail of soft green growth that led along.

My feet sprang up, I followed that green trail.
I found a route the loggers must have missed.
They were so busy, with noise and machines
That they could not have seen this greenery.

Now I could see soft bushes sprouting there;
Now I could see new saplings sprouting here.
I walked down to a valley’s sunny depths
And felt my heart grow light as I could see.

A great ravine of old growth forest lay
Deep-rooted here, away from prying eyes.
Here rushing waters lapped the wooded banks,
Here pines their needles shed upon the floor.

I worried, though, that this place could not last.
Would other loggers find it in their time?
I felt a fear that even this ravine
Could not withstand the ravages of man.


But then I kicked a soft thing with my foot.
I looked downward, and saw a small pinecone.
My phone told me it came from what grew here;
It was the infant of all this green growth.

I smiled, and put the pinecone in my pack.
I snapped some photos, and then wandered on,
Following the river as it thundered,
And left the forest silent, evergreen.


C.A. Shoultz is a poet and writer currently living in Dallas, Texas.

His most recent previous poem for us was “On Midsummer’s Night.”

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