“Natural Succession,” the sign says.
It’s a small sign on a simple post
placed beside the trail, its paragraph striving
to explain the growth in the area just beyond it.
The just beyond is a stand of young trees
mostly eastern red cedar, sweetgum,
a few elms and the rest loblolly pine.
Brambles claw at their modest trunks
while Virginia creeper and poison ivy
work their way skyward, green-red and springtime shiny.
I understand the “succession” part of the sign
but — not to be difficult — I have to take exception
to the word “natural.”
At some point in the recent past
a bright yellow behemoth (more than one, I’m sure)
made its way across this place
all that stood
in its path.
The land was left devoid of anything organic, bare and raw
silt-red rainwater running in rivulets
through the track-tread trenches.
But, yes, nature is succeeding
Birds fly from tree to tree, and the blight
is becoming harder to see and more of a memory.
For that, I am thankful.
Just a note: I truly am thankful for the donation of the lands I spoke of in the poem above, and I’m thankful for the stewardship and conservation efforts of the Land Trust of North Alabama. That said, I hope we get to a point where it’s not necessary to go on biggering and biggering. If I’m not mistaken, that’s how the Onceler put it. The Lorax’s response: “Unless.”