The small plane tilted to the right, then to the left giving his wise weathered eyes access to the great expanse below. Excitement and anticipation flowed through his veins. He had heard stories, yes, tales of now compared to then. There were those who had seen the changes, those whose footsteps had known as his had the abundant beauty and vastness of this uninterrupted wilderness. They had told him, described in detail, but even his best imagination couldn’t grasp it. His mind calculated time. Twenty one long years it had been since taking his last step here, in what he had considered his home, his own remote territory. It was hard to believe that forty six short years of his life was spent working here from season to season, since the age of fourteen, as a cookie – a cook’s helper, working the drives, then as a lumberjack knowing well the sound of T-I-M-B-E-R. The pilot looked over his shoulder at him knowing those tired eyes would soon show anguish, sadness and regret; anguish because of the somber view below, sadness because he remembered what once was, and regret that he had given in to himself and come one last time in this, his eighty first year of life.
Acres and acres of land, forest land, once green and growing, now resembled a drab faded brown, desolate and dying. Miles of never ending destruction begged for mercy and pleaded to prove that what was once green, abundant and flourishing could thrive and mature again. Tree trunks split and worn down looked vulnerable, thousands of them, chopped, hacked and fractured faced the sky and screamed for attention. Discarded branches, human limbs of this remote region, some large, some smaller, all maimed, severed and mangled lay lifeless in makeshift piles haphazardly strewn about. Brooks and streams once bubbling with pink-fleshed trout, now looked tired and lifeless. The wildlife, oh, the wildlife, the deer, moose, bear, fox, fisher, beaver and all the others, where were they? Once they were thriving and plentiful, companions to the lumberjack, respected at a distance but very much a part of each other’s lives. Where? Where?
The plane slowly descended giving him full view of what he no longer wanted to see. They landed near a large maple tree, one of only a few left, standing and so alone. The pilot sat quietly saying nothing, awash in emotion at the look on his grandfather’s face. With a negative headshake the old man sat in his seat looking out the window at the large maple, his favorite of all the trees. Knots, tattooed knots were weeping sap past other tattooed knots down the beautiful trunk of this, his tree. He watched his own reflection in the window as his eyes watched the maple sap. Teardrops formed at each corner of his brown dull eyes but they could not fall. Instead, they sat there, like tattoos, remembering another time, a time gone by.
Charlene contributed this InMon IV piece via email. If you want to submit via email, leave it in the comments or send it to: stephanie (at) balcomagency (d0t) com