Walking Through a Mixed Conifer Forest on a Summer’s Day – a poem by Elizabeth Domenech

Walking Through a Mixed Conifer Forest on a Summer’s Day 

O earth, 
let us forever know
the smell of the forest floor
that embraces first heat of day 

where sap 
like honey crystallizes 
entombing citrus scent

and moss unfurls to water
and aspens wave their greeting
and pine trees whisper stories to the wind

and huckleberries seduce bears
and thimbleberries surely shelter fairies
as cottonwood twirls and tumbles on the breeze

and we inhabit our bodies
and our feet carry us forward
and we walk at the pace of the forest
and our minds lilt and drift with the butterfly
and our spirits bubble and gurgle with the creek

and firs and pines exhale wisdom
and being nearby we inhale wisdom 

and it’s May
and fires are a distant thing
and the Swainson’s thrush sings
and the chipmunk plays hide and seek 
and the golden mantled squirrel chatters
and the deer watches silently at the edge
and the fir trees drop their protective caps
and the new growth is soft, and ever green
and the spider web glints in the morning light 

and the ants delight in decay
and decay smells rich and inviting
and the next layer builds on this one 
as life begins and ends on the forest floor

Elizabeth Domenech is a writer, naturalist, and advocate for conservation and wildness. Her writing can be found published in Montana Naturalist, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and Pivot and Pause: A Poetry Anthology of Resilience, Remembrance and Compassion (2020). She lives in Bozeman, Montana. 

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