First, you notice the smells, moist pine needles,
bits of bark and twigs, a kind of bitter smell that fills
your nostrils and swells your heart. The air is heavy
and lush. A piney forest, damp with the morning air,
fresh and ancient at the same time.
Note the colors,
with dots of white,
and wood anemone,
and white, then,
but mostly green.
And the sounds, the occasional
drumming of a grouse, the warbles and dee-dee-dees
of the smaller birds. Once,
along this path, there was
a blur of black, a bear
sleeping just off to the side.
You gave it a wide berth,
went another direction.
But it’s the smells in a damp forest
that keep your attention,
not exactly rot or mold
but still . . .
Poem by Gregory Opstad
Gregory Opstad is a retired teacher. He divides his time between homes in Cloquet, Minnesota and Cochiti Lake, New Mexico. A member of Lake Superior Writers, his poems have appeared in literary journals and anthologies. His chapbook, Lake Country, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2013.