|Logged Area Surrounding Black Lake|
After the saw is snuffed into silence, after the foam removed from ears, after the sky begins sucking away as much heat as the sun brings in, now low to the horizon - then he stops and ponders the beauty of the place, the funny way the cut opens the forest like an ancient story opens a deepness in the soul. The sweet smell of cut logs mixed with the minty crackle of gum. Good to end a day alive, and then go for a beer with the others in the warm loud span of laughter and forgetting.
The walk to the lake was worth it, he told me, because he had saved a swath of old growth trees. The hillsides around the lake were covered in uniform carpet of new growth as I looked around after easing the canoe into the water from my shoulder.
The same familiar shortness of young trees. But along the edge of the water on one half of the lake a fringe of large trees. The faller's gift. He had asked the timber boss if they could be saved. The saws were already wining their way down the hill overlooking the lake, the trucks hauling away the big cellulose tubes. The boss said no, then a few days later, called back, "OK," he said, "The rest won't be cut." Sort of a miracle.
I paddled and admired the stand of old growth. At the south end of the lake, I tied the boat and walked in the shallow water.
The air was hazy with smoke from distant forest fires. The wind had been blowing earlier but had dropped. The shade of the massive trees seemed to provide an oasis from the heat and smoke. The pattern of wave splash along the rocks.
They are rugged. They curse and spit and compete and joke. The rough company of men. The guys who gave me a ride when I locked my keys in my Tracker a few years ago looked at me reluctantly from their Silverado LT 4X4. Working hard not to call me an idiot to my face. In the woods, regardless of how stupid someone is, you help him out.
Almost all the lakes I wish were protected, I accessed from the edge of a logging road. The patchwork quilt of cuts visible from space, and me disappearing like the speckles on a trout's back after you let it go.
on the hillside
a logger steps from log to log
hot saw swinging