The Burn That Saved Our Landing
Flash-back. The day we drove out Caldor Road
where we sometimes trained our search dogs.
Forest Service beat us there; you recognized
Barry’s rig. What was his crew up to?
Maybe your dog could find him --
up a little trail, green forest on the one side,
fresh char on the other; a control burn.
Dog tracked through drifts of smoke
to find Barry.
I almost forgot that little episode
from years ago – until I drove
back out that road, after the Caldor Fire cooled.
Black skeletons of trees.
Here, our landing – conifers scorched, but
still green in their upper reaches.
A stringer of manzanita, deer-brush,
ponderosa, oak, and incense cedar –
untouched. Fresh scat
of a forest creature. Raven calling
Nevermore from the top of a living evergreen.