Winter Day on the Queets

Queets

This is a sketch of a day spent on the Queets River on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. It was a day of catching and releasing wild steelhead and sea run bull trout. Everything was cold and still here, and at the end of the road, it seemed as though I was the only one around. This is a place a long way from anywhere, but somehow in the midst of the soul of something bigger than me. Ironically, the day seemed to be almost a mix of unplaced anxiety over this sudden solitude and awestruck fascination with a place I have wanted to visit for so long. Here I found that the thin line between unplaced fear and ecstatic exuberence runs through the trees, along the river and up the hill.

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In the trees, there is no luxury of imagining summer,

As I follow a thin faint line, draped over stick and stone.

Tracing a path of hope across these shadowy woods,

I now know each breath, short and seen,

Each thought, passing and glancing,

While nighttime fidgets and snarls wherever I lean.

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When the way out is momentarily forgotten,

Where the single frail thread is hidden under moss and bough,

A chill courses through my spine, rippling across my brow.

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Along the river, to my utter surprise,

Wrapped in high haze were grand winter skies!

Cast in a muted sun, hung low over high tree

This theater of emptiness sees night briefly flee.

.

Now, surely, a desperate reprieve from winter’s meddles,

To wash away that shuddering thought:

That out here, daylight is a cruel trick,

Luring me into its seasonal plot!

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Oh, forget the water sounds,

Wind through trees, silent soaring birds.

Forget these tones of wild place!

For they were swallowed, broadside and whole

By a darkness lingering at every space.

queets1

steelie2

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