Remember Lonesome Pine?

She was a giant Eastern White

that towered above the Cedar,

Jack Pine, Spruce and Hemlock,

and could be seen for miles.

Not too long after you passed that,

you turned off the two-lane

onto a narrow, twisting, rutted path

that was overgrown and, in places, blocked by deadfall.

Branches whipped the sides of the station wagon

as it crept along. The path sloped very sharply

as it descended towards the lake.

Eventually you came to a rustic cabin

with no electricity or running water.

Propane fueled a cook stove and powered a generator

that ran a water pump and icebox.

At night you lit kerosene lamps

and the Coleman lantern that hissed

and bathed everything in harsh white light.

The kids slept upstairs in the loft

while the adults stayed up half the night

playing cards, telling raucous stories and drinking beer.

Bears and giant spiders came to life

in the long shadows cast by flashlights

on a trip to the outhouse after dark.

Half way around the lake there was another place

known as the Preacher’s Cabin.

A green wooden rowboat tied to a rotting dock

lay submerged to the gunnels.

Brass oarlocks stuck up out of the water.

You went hunting for snapping turtles

amidst the lily pads in Beaver Bay

and fished for Perch and Blue Gills out on the lake.

Jack taught you to shoot the gun,

a double barrel 12-gauge shotgun

with a deafening blast and a recoil

that could have knocked you on your ass.

You shot at porcupines,

blew up coffee cans with M80’s

and played Capture the Flag and Kick the Can

until it was too dark to see.

It was a 20-mile drive to Kenton for supplies.

You headed back down the two lane,

flanked by deep forests of tall timber,

past scrubby outcroppings of rock, red with copper ore.

The general store was also the post office and gas station.

You read comic books, ate candy bars and drank Orange Crush.

Dad and Jack drank beer.

On the way back home, you stopped at the railroad switchyard.

A long train of freight cars loaded with freshly cut timber

sat on the tracks.

A red tailed hawk soared overhead.

Crickets sang in the dry grass of high summer.

You climbed up the ladder of a freight car to play on the logs,

jumped from car to car, all the way to the end

and made your way back again.

When you got down,

Dad and Jack coaxed a wood tick out of your skin

with a lit cigarette.

Then you went right back up to play some more.

Some nights everyone went to the dump to watch the bears.

On a walk through the woods, you stumbled on a spotted fawn

newborn, still wet with the dew of afterbirth.

When it was too hot to be up in the loft,

you fell asleep on the screened porch

to the unearthly calls of loons out on the water.

Blue Spruce