If she did know the history of the trail
she would not think this trail
was always open and scenic.
As if nature were kind to human
passing and opened an easy trail
to hike along this rugged hillside.
Now no sign of human toil exists
along this trail; the scars of pruned limbs healed.
And the ones who did the labor,
sawing the dangerous trunks and limbs;
those who hacked the bushes and vines;
those who grubbed out the gnarly roots
The seasons cover the dynamite marks,
and the growth of summer grasses
paved a pretty way, covering the ugly
gnashes and breaks in boulders.
The ones who forged this trail
have long passed into memory's path,
now the passing hikers, one eye on the phone,
cannot imagine the sweat and blood
fertilizing the soil beneath their boots.
Today's hiker has her own day to think--
where to rest and camp and where to cook;
can she be blamed for not seeing the
woolly woods the way they once were?
So that when she de-camps before dawn
no stumps will stub her boots and no vines
to grab at her throat; no low branches
or hardly spider webs to sweep away.
But when the cell phone fades out
and the evening chills, and the star-
light grows in the night, she may look back
at the nicely-cleared trail up the hill
and remember what the trail would
have been but for those who cleared the path
Reed Venrick lives in a lighthouse in Florida an usually writes about nature motifs.