Photograph and poem by Emily Bittel
Eagle Creek Fire 2017
I breathe, and smoke fills my lungs.
The forest I love is burning –
The place we first backpacked together.
The senseless loss is staggering.
What will be left when the burning is done?
We will shuffle through ash
Shake it from our socks into little piles on the floor of the tent.
Perhaps our grandchildren’s children
Will gaze up with wonder
At the lofty heights of the douglas fir
Through the filter of vibrant vine maple.
I pray for rain as the ash drifts down from the sky
Flakes of a forest I once knew
The last time light will shift through its leaves.
Head in my arms, I cry
Maybe, just maybe, my tears will water the desolation.
I thank Emily for sharing her personal poem. Below is a picture from katutv, a split screen of what the Bonneville Dam looks like normally, and now during the fire. My heart goes out to all those working the PNW fires, the critters who make the forests their home, and the forests themselves. Photo: National Coast Trail Association