Almost Spring On The Clackamas

The forest is last to relinquish winter. Snow still sticking between its toes, it has thousands of shadows and shades, ways to hide from sunlight. On these days of last melt, snow packs down hard on the unexposed trail, creating a thin slice of ice, a layer of water sits on its top.

My hands grip fern, turf, searching for the darkest earth below me. I’m on all fours placing one limb in front of another, hoping to find the firmest soil. I read the forest like braille.

The trail hangs on to the valley as if stapled, tacked on. Cold gusts follow the shape of the mountains, on their way to meet the current of the river.

The Clackamas pays sly attention to my insecure movements. It would take me as I am, all limbs reverted back to bones, a boulder covered in moss, willing to hide me, partially, in its current. The wind and hills will cover my voice.

I refuse to slip.

A warmth curls upwards, the sun finds a clearing. The trees across the river turn gold. My feet hit soft snow. I look back up to the denser part of the forest, I can see light tickle the ribs of the trees, slanting beams down to me. My hands are warm, my eyes tired.

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30 Comments on “Almost Spring On The Clackamas

  1. I like the phrase ‘sly attention’ but LOVE ‘the trail hangs onto the valley as if stapled …’ Brilliant!!

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  2. That was so beautiful. I loved every word. I especially liked how you described the earth taking you. You certainly took me along for that walk in the woods. My daughter still lives in Kirkland, WA and so I know you have had your share of snow this year. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I felt drawn into your experience grappling with the woods. I love your images, especially reading the forest like braille. Thank you for the beauty of your words.

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  4. I love these lines, “The forest is last to relinquish winter. Snow still sticking between its toes, it has thousands of shadows and shades,” Very cool.

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  5. Wonderful descriptive writing Elan. I have been there, on all fours, scrambling up a slope in a NW forest. Getting a little old for it now, but I could smell the cold wet moss, trees and detritus it and feel the wet knees. Reading the forest like braille. That is rich. Love it.

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  6. That is really great. Nature is the one place you are entirely on your own. Nature doesn’t care a whit what happens to you.

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  7. It’s so uplifting to see and read your work. Much needed these days. Thank you.

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  8. Eloquent and lyrical; I was there–could feel the challenge and nature’s strong grip…read between the lines and smelt the cold and the tree resin! Brava!

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  9. Hi, Elan. Thanks for a great piece of writing filled with evocative description and imagery. Really enjoyed reading. One feels that one is there within the narrative experiencing all the emotions of the ever revealing drama. Have a wonderful day. Happy Writing. Goff

    Liked by 1 person

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