Trailer Trash


A hole in the sky (Read 95 times)

Uh oh... now what?

    There's a hole in the sky.


    At first I just thought the afternoon sun was peeking through the clouds as
    I got to the point on the climb where I was at bluff's edge again. It had
    been dark and shadow free down in the kettle. The shadows returned in the
    last fifty yards of the climb. I paused at the switchback, first glancing
    out at the water of Admiralty Strait, and then I looked back and up. The
    thought was there again. There is a hole in the sky. Okay, it isn't a hole
    in the sky I corrected myself. It is a hole in the green canopy I run
    under each day. The hole in the canopy reveals a kaleidoscope of greys,
    white, and a streak of blue with wind curled patterns. But, the first
    thought I had was that there is a hole in the sky.


    The next switchback is only about a hundred feet up the trail. There were
    several ruby crowned kinglets playing in the salal. They are part of the
    vagrants of winter, never fully disappearing in their southerly migration
    as a few are always seen each week. Their bright red crowns and acrobatic
    flitting here and there caused me to pause. I would have paused anyway. I
    had just seen the reason for the hole in the sky. One of the big trees has
    fallen. Three feet thick is my guess. It was broken by the wind about ten
    feet above the ground. I had just ran this way on Wednesday. Yesterday's
    wind that had started as just a whisper at sunset and then turned to a roar
    late in the evening had won an age old battle. The trees at bluff's edge
    lean into those winds, twisting branches to grasp at each gust, hoping to
    stay upright. How loud would that splitting cracking crashing surrender
    have been? In over twenty-five years of running on trails I have only got
    to hear the falling death song twice; twice that I knew what I was hearing.
    There was a third time; the first time. It took two days of running and
    pausing and looking to figure out what I had heard, but at the end I could
    go back to that point on Raider Creek and look down toward Shepherd's Crook
    and follow the whispering and cracking to the ground.


    This fallen giant--though not a true giant, not like some of its six or eight-foot
    diameter elders just a hundred yards away--had broken and fallen away from
    the trail taking half a dozen smaller trees with it. It was a Sitka spruce.


    Other times I would count the rings as I cut the trail blocker
    into pieces I could roll off the trail. That would not happen here. The
    jagged ends of the stump were ten feet up. The upper part of the tree had
    fallen away from the trail and was buried deep into the salal, Oregon
    grape, and wild rose thickets. In the years after I am buried the fallen
    log will become a nurse log. Eventually some winter will pass when some
    other generation of ruby crowned kinglets will play here, but they will be
    in the shade of trees already as thick as a man's waist tho' only forty
    years old and reaching upward to fill up the hole in the sky that gave them
    the sun when they were born.


      John, I never tire of your imagery.  Thanks for sharing your observations.