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Salmon River Estuary, Photo: Barbara Ford 2020

the blood orange sky
that first day of the season of ash
made a terrible beauty
even though to the east
humans, elk, porcupine, wren,
were fleeing the wind driven blaze

or standing, as the great trees,
sitka spruce, cedar, alder,
roots holding to the soil tightly in the flames
claiming their belonging even as
the undergrowth blackened below

that first day of the fire
I gazed, rapt in the ruddy monochrome
of sky and river and grasses of the estuary
my body stilled by the silence
of the disappearing sun

there was a different encounter
with ashes planned for that week
my artist mother, who would have joyfully painted
that amber sky, had recently died
her remains to be dispersed in the tidal flow
in a slow return to the…


Barbara Ford

Climate activist, facilitator, singer, and artist working at the confluence of creativity, spirit, and activism. Website

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