Second Growth –by Jinny Batterson
(Perhaps appropriate for this Earth Day, this poem was inspired by a recent visit to the Uwharrie National Forest in central North Carolina.)
Seeking respite after a long, difficult winter,
We booked a weekend cabin in the Uwharries–
A low-slung remnant of some long-ago tectonic collision.
In more recent history, hardscrabble farmers and loggers
Eked out a living here until all the trees, and lots of soil,
Were gone. In the 1930’s, a difficult decade, some
Sold their land to the government, creating pockets in the
Landscape where the trees were allowed to grow back.
Some logging still gets done–small patches where renewed growth
Has been buzzed like a bad haircut.
None of the trees are big yet, no Kilmeresque giants,
But enough for summer shade. In hollows, again laurels
And rhododendrons. Marshy places filled with mottled
Trout lilies. The streams run clearer. An embankment
Blooms purple with periwinkle. Daffodils mark abandoned homesteads.
Birdsong. Wood smoke. Fat cattle. Slow beauty.
It’s never too late for second growth.