Mild Streak

Rain stopped

Forced spring out for a day.


Winter is an ideal

With a harsh streak of delirium.





These cold hills stand unconcerned of what walks beneath them. Snow, that made it through the day’s rain, will be covered by night’s newest layer of white. But here today, the rain collects upon the trail.

Footprints lie scattered. There are recent ones, still adhering to the shape of a shoe and older ones losing the semblance of humanness. All show their course around the puddles, trying to find the driest method to continue.

And yes, there’s evidence of others who’ve abandoned finding the dry way. Perhaps, they see themselves as hearty, brave, or trust their shoes more than others, or just don’t care.

Tomorrow, when the snow sticks, quieting the rain, puddles will be replaced by a contour of white. The trail can still be seen and if you look closely, you will see other kinds of footprints, who share the path, either dry or wet.

And the cold hills still remain unconcerned, even though it’s they, who we all wish to see.


(Click on image to enlarge. Salmon River, near Mt. Hood. Jan. 2020)

Silent Friendship

The deer mouse comes out, when the night covers the entire sky.  

Through foliage, appearing in little instants, eyes gleaming black, tail flying behind him.

He’s in the peripheral of your flashlight as his jump crests the undergrowth.

His business, a serious endeavor, risking the watchful eye of owls

And even if he’s a bit paranoid, he’s intent upon finding your trail mix.

You sit silent, while he approaches

Accepting, with cautious boldness, your offer of breakfast cereal for dinner.

Leaves without saying much, a bit disappointed, perhaps

After you’ve packed up and secured all food.

But you know he’s still there as you fall asleep

To the rustle of branches and the sly movement of the wind.




Naming Creeks

The creek isn’t cruel by not knowing my name.

Even though, I have known its name all my life.

On walks, I still follow its voice, soothed by its flow.

I won’t ask it to know me.

I’m okay with being an eternal stranger to it.


The creek doesn’t need my name

For me to hear its voice

Even during the loneliest times

When snow blankets its banks

And trees block the wind from its surface.


There are times when I wish

I could mimic the creek

But I know its name, taught to me by these very words

Which curve around boulders and tree limbs

Written by the currents of my own heart


Wet Pine Needles

Running the brittle floor—upon leaves settled to soil.

With mild hands wandering—through air and pressed sunlight.

Becoming branches—breaching the film of moist sky.

Clinging to winter’s sun—lucent thoughts, fictile.

Moving with the wildness—of the warm, fragile body.

Its abstractions of molds—ravines, dips, and death.


Wet pine needles held in a beam of furtive light.




Mountain Lake

Burnt Lake

I sit with her

Placing her in memory

Giving thoughts strength, yet

In her silence, she frightens me.

I rely on others

Camping upon her shore

To soothe my worry.

And although I haven’t

Seen her rimmed with snow

Echoing the clearest of nights,

Pitted with raindrops

Upon her clear face,

Witnessed her held tight

By mist and clouds,

I know she has experienced this.


She reflects me

Placing me inside her memory

Giving strength to her beauty, yet

In my silence, I frighten her.

She relies on the stream

And springs to ease her.

And although she hasn’t seen

All who I love, have loved,

My stumbles and woes

On nights of anxiety,

My elations and successes,

The clatter of the city

Reverberates within me

She knows I have experienced this.

Ghost Story For The Wilderness Impaired

Slough Reflection
Timothy Lake July 2018

She’s a ghost. I know that. She brushes her fingers along my shoulders and I will look up to find her playing among the trees, pretending to be the wind. She’ll drop a pinecone or a small branch as a reminder. Then, off she goes to the deeper part of the forest where I can’t follow. She laughs. I can’t hear it, but I know she’s laughing.

This spirit of hers doesn’t frighten me. But there are times when the forest is as still as death. It’s upon these moments, in silent life, when I look behind me on the trail and shudder in my aloneness.

She returns, that’s what ghosts do, with her sound, a rustling, a stirring, a theme she buries deep inside me. Its tune reminds me that I’m also a ghost. At times, this makes me sad, to know I’m as invisible as her, but it’s her way of empowering me, to haunt. I can’t help but to be…a ghost.

I can tell you this one thing. It’s the only thing I really, really know. If you listen, you will also know you’re a ghost. Even when you’re in the middle of nowhere, look up, and see a jet leaving contrails high in the sky, above the wilderness, without making a sound.



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