Friday, November 05, 2010

Coming Out through the Cascades

on I-84 is like
watching a speeded-up movie of climate change.
Fog-dripping hemlocks leaning on the elbows
of angular Doug firs
and droopy deep-shade rhododendrons guarded
by the spiky intensity of Oregon grape
fade away in favor of
the glistening long needles of ponderosa
and leathery oblong oak leaves.

We're not there yet.

Tumbling creeks are decorated with yellow triangles:
alder and cottonwood leaves. But now
the deltas narrow to the silver blades of willow
deep-rooted over dry watercourses.
The parkland opens into tawny fire-loving grasses.
The last tall ponderosas fall away
and belts of squat juniper criss-cross the flats
above swatches of sagebrush.

We're not there yet.

And we won't get there on this road. Angle south and east
get over the divide and watch the grass turn white,
vanish from shimmering alkali flats, the fossils
of ancient oceans. On the bare earth we read
notes from the past
and warnings from the future.

Collection available! Knocking from Inside

1 comment:

~T~ said...

The difference is so stark. Late at night on I-90, we could tell we were almost home -- the rain began at the King County line.