New Leaves, Balm or Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), leaves
of young trees are more slender (oblong-lanceolate) than on more
mature trees. South Wallowas . . .
On the road in the American Northwest.


A poplar tree offers me shade,
moving from ridge to valley,
I rest a while.

It's the sound, the sound
of the wind moving in the leaves,
a sound wholly absent at the more austere altitudes,
that washes away like the water of a Lourdes
all the hurts and pains of the past.

How we long to go back, go back and set straight
our mistakes of the past, to say
that it wasn't like that, or that
we didn't intend things to turn out
the way that they did.

But the sound carries these thoughts
away to somewhere else I know not where.
I open my eyes. A leaf, already yellow, falls.
A chickadee flutters by.

I must live a better life.

Cottonwood Place,
Eagle Cap Wilderness,
Oregon, VIII.4.2008

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Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2007
(created: X.21.2007)