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The hum of eighteen wheeled monsters
racing across the interstate
fills my ears,
and I barely hear the trickling
sound the water
beneath the small
wooden bridge makes
as it gently flows across the leaves
and rocks. Shades of brown
dominate the forest, blotting out
the occasional green briars and
olive ferns which jut up from beneath
the dead
leaves, like drowning hands
grasping for life as they are pulled
down one last time. The cool breeze
often brings the scent of must
and dead wood, and gray, cloudy skies block
the sun's warmth, adding to the sense
of isolation and solitude
these woods convey. Beneath
my feet lies a firm wooden bridge,
providing passage across the narrow
ravine where water trickles
past, a noisy intruder in a realm
of silence. Amidst the jumble
of small trees surrounding me, I see two
massive, weathered giants
flanking either side
of the footbridge's entrance. Easily
the largest trees in sight, bark
peeling and moss gradually overtaking them,
I wonder how old they are. Why
were they left untouched
by loggers that harvested the others
so long ago? At first glance, I see
by the sharp buds and rough texture
these giants are Sugar maples, who
as fortune would provide, grew upon a steep
slope, making access to them difficult
a hundred years ago. As I look
more closely at them, however,
they become more . . .
Two lovers stand here, withered
with age and the abusive passage of time,
arms outstretched toward
one another, nearly touching, yet still
mere inches from
the other's grasp.
In this lonely,
naked sea of
death and youth intermingled
they stand,
and despite the roar
of trucks from across the ridge,
time has made them
the loneliest creatures
in the forest.