I wanted to write a poem about Colony Collapse Disorder, but there's just too much there, got to do some research. So whatever.
It's my favorite place to stop in New Jersey. There are also all these signs along some roads up there that warn people that the trees have been sprayed. I'm not sure why. Do they have a problem with people digging up trees and stealing them? Trying to eat them? Pulling over and possessed of a compulsion to climb them?
It's getting so you can tell the trails not so much
By the blazes but by
Whether the trees fallen
Across them have been cut and cleared.
The violence of the storms increases
Each summer, and this season has pounded
A harvest of timber onto the floors of the city's
Stream bed parks. Piles of cut limbs
Show up trailside, and then there are the
New gateways, chainsaw-sliced
Out of the thickest trunks. The neat core
Is rolled aside and set stumplike,
A future stage for a stretch. The other day in the woods,
Running, I smelled something strange, something
That carried a vague air of alarm. I came up to
Two newly fallen and realized: Char.
Lightning did it. Most just loose their roots
From weeks on end of mud, and topple. It used to be
A fallen tree might lie for weeks waiting for clearance,
An obstacle to climb or bound
Over. Now there are so many falling
They have to get them right away, get ready for more,
Or be overwhelmed. One morning run, two years ago,
On my birthday, I leapt a fallen trunk in smug pride,
Only five paces later to slam my toe against an iron root
And go sprawling. "FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK,"
I screamed, then "I'M OK, I'm OK, I'm OK, it's OK,"
At the yard worker in the orange vest, tossing raked leaves
Into the edge of the woods from the embassy
Far up the hill, who had made a run of crunching, sliding
Strides in my voice's direction--to stop when he saw me wave--
Fearing another unspeakable attack.
Photo: Vishwin60, Creative Commons public domain license.