your proud spires
fork the sky.
When you and the land were young,
so many years ago,
the Nuu-chah-nulth people
walked your trails
with soft footsteps and respect.
In those days, they tell us, humans,
wild ones and trees were kin
who spoke to one another.
Salmon were plentiful; wolves
and whales and bears were fat.
High on your trunk, the marks
where women once stripped cedar
for their baskets and ceremonial hats
proclaim the long history
of the First People of this place
(the all along the water people,
at home in their Ha'houlthee.)
They were careful; when they
peeled your bark, they did it respectfully,
thanked you, then took no more,
so you could heal.
You have witnessed many years;
the world around you has changed
greatly from the one you knew.
You of the forest talk to each other still,
but we mamalthni have forgotten
how to hear.
Small and contrite, I gaze upwards
at your majesty.
Guardian, keeper of the forest,
gateway to the beyond-human realm,
I share this green moment with you.
You breathe out; I breathe in -
fierce love, this moment of
consciousness, of connection,
of Being Tree.
I come away from you
for my prompt at earthweal: Fierce Love
Nuu-chah nulth means all along the waters people
Ha-Hoothlee - territory
mamalthni - white people