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Across The Pond

Intergenerational Description of Joint Project

I knew right away that I wanted to pick my grandmother as my partner for this project as soon as I read the description of the contest. She is an extremely gifted poet and likes to write about nature. We decided to write about the woods behind her house because they are a special place for both of us, and we both knew the setting well. I think that doing this project with someone of another generation about the same place puts the setting in a different lens each time it is described.

Celebration of Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder

This project was, for Sherry, a salute to all the work she had put into these woods over the course of 40 years, from turning the property from a feedlot into a natural forest, brimming with life. In the 1970s the runoff from the feedlot was going into Spring Creek, a waterway that originated on the property and flowed into Flathead Lake, which is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi. The Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Protection Act both helped them turn the feedlot into the pristine forest it is today.

Across The Pond
Through the walls of silvery birch,
A muted world, dark, yet vibrant,
Rays of sunlight pierce the heavy air, dappling the soft carpet of needles underfoot.
Fallen sentinels, once proud, now lying in everlasting slumber.
The scents of musk and pine, wafting lazily through the still summer air.
Veins of rich, molten gold flowing through the proud Ponderosas.
A young doe treading softly through the trees, her movements graceful, yet hesitant.
The eagle, nesting high above the forest floor, gazing over his rambling Montanian realm.

Across The Pond Stone to stone crosses the creek; step and hand carry up the bank.
Through the moat of tall grasses with golden heads, begins the forest from the west.
Darkened shadows recede, boughs extend their arms, take you in welcome.
There, Corinthian trees with capitals of green create home and safety where animals go their
Ashen effigies, horizontal and vertical forms remain from a past riparian time, complete a
compositional balance.
To the east, an ancient game trail begins for those who seek a crossing to a place of rest
and refuge.
The path is studded with the smallest cones, felled by the largest of trees.
Needles laid by old pines scatter to quiet this passage in deference to its solemnity.
Aesthetics are noted by the dabbling of burnt orange and dying yellow dropped deciduous
foliage in small clearings.
To those who do not live in this place, the woods seem to be of silent isolation.
 But within, resides a society of contradictions, sounds and shapes.
Thousands with articulated limbs, crunch and scurry forming cities and hideaways in the
Huddled passively in the painting, is a watcher by day, skyward strolling by night.
In the lower tenements, dwell those that chatter a language of suspicion and agitation.
Above, the elitists with capes of white screech, wings spread as they claim the treetops.
Deer tread haltingly, polished tip of horn, sever the staccato rush of sunlight as they go.
Was that rustling a misstep?
Solace is still attainable.
My home is near, but I intrude upon their privacy.
I travel with down-cast eyes;
I am respectful of the generosity given to a visitor.
Not now, but one day soon, across the pond, in these spiritual woods,
I too, will call it my place of rest.


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