Reunion Number Nineteen Poem by Bill Galvin

Reunion Number Nineteen

On Tuesday,
I begin driving the steep and winding incline
Toward Holter Ridge on Bald Hills Road.
I walk a trail thru Johnson Grove
Where the sun tries burning thru the fog,
To penetrate the highest of canopies,
For a smattering of light reach the forest floor.

I’m walking in old foot steps you and I left here
So many lifetimes ago.

My mood is melancholy; but it is so serene here,
That walking among these redwood masters of time
Creates a feeling of comforting timelessness.
Sweet fragrances of damp evergreen
Waft in the air; undergrowth is lush in moist shade.
Now and again, an accumulation of foggy dew
Drops from branches hundreds of feet above.
The drone of far off surf pounding the shore
Completes the tonal picture scape.

I stand in awe before a 300’ living tower of a tree,
With a diameter as wide as a house;
I’m reminded of the time you sidled up to one
To appreciate it’s stateliness and dignity,
And as I set up for your photo,
We were blindsided by a rabid environmentalist
Recently awakened from hibernation,
Hastening down the trail like Carroll’s rabbit,
Without sensibility, without looking us in the eye,
Head down, without stopping,
Cursing us for damaging the roots
Of a hardy 500 year old giant.
You were hurt and disturbed;
You always took people and remarks too seriously.
As early and long time members of Sierra Club
And Nature Conservancy, we were not natural fools.
I told the guy he was out of line,
As he tromped away in ignorance.
Your joie-de-vivre was shortened at that moment,
But you had many more occasions to enjoy.

Like old New Hampshire friend RF once said,
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.”
So, I leave the valley of Little Lost Man Creek,
And trek back to the mainstream.

I have been looking for a certain dirt road,
Where the drive between redwood giants
Took our breath away; can’t seem to find it.
But the places I do find are majestic.

On Wednesday,
A drive further up the Pacific Coast toward Oregon,
Past Crescent City, where we grabbed a beer
Years ago, when micro-brews were new,
And I aim for a grove of old-growth redwoods
Called Stout Grove,
In Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
Smith was an early explorer and fur trapper.

A half mile walk down from a forest dirt road,
Along Smith River stands the grove
Of stout redwood giants…
Tho I find the grove is named after an early
Conservationist whose last name was Stout,
As I peel an orange sitting on a bench
With a plaque dedicated to him.
Smith River is the last major CA river
To be free-flowing and undammed.

The spot is in a lovely, deep, redwood valley
And a loop trail with living, fallen, and charred
Trunks captivates and lords over any visitor.
I sit near a downed log with moss and lichen
Growing in its crevices near the trail,
With nearby trillium, clover, and wildflowers.

As I sit there pensively, I wonder,
Wouldn’t you like to be saying hello
To trail hikers and tree lovers who pass here?
Why not, I say… and when passers by move on,
I place a little of your locks securely
Within a crevice, attaching to the lichen,
Where no breeze or rain can ever dislodge you.
After placement, I was relieved that my
Unusual carelessness did not disturb a snake
Or other reclusive critter; all fingers accounted for.

I feel you’d appreciate the quietude, the serenity;
And I know you like having people around, too…
So, here you go. Best of all worlds.

I head back up the trail to the car,
Satisfied with another reunion;
This one unplanned.


Thursday, April 23, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: love and loss
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