Crews arrived through early river fog by ferry,
decades after tender green shoots burst forth
below the old stonewalls. Gathered many
years ago by industrious squirrels, acorns
and pine cones grew, spared from the flames
that charred Swan Island in 1750.
In 2018, a weary late afternoon crew of
brush monkeys gathers on the resting side
of an all-morning island swamp out.
Sating thirst, they swiped salty brows, swatted
handfuls of black flies, deer flies,
and ravenous, hardy marine mosquitoes.
Dozens of deer ticks hopped on to celebrate
by biting bare flesh.
Bullbuck Bob bellers instructions to his
“power up the bulldozers, cut out those cat roads,
time is money!”
In the wake of the CTL harvester, Clem
the clambunk operator waits
to drag out full tree-length logs.
Halloween storm 2017 left swaths of blown down
trees from the Dresden side of the Kennebec River
across Swan Island, over Merrymeeting Bay
onto Richmond and Bowdoinham shores.
Dozens of cold decks piled and waiting their turn
to float over the Kennebec on a tug-powered barge,
transporting neatly balanced logs on double
trailers, to be hauled over the curvy, hilly
roads of Maine; final destinations:
wood products manufactories,
and paper mills.
Witnessing a caravan of 18-wheelers hauling
massive full logs, once healthy trees, I ponder:
what events they witnessed,
what stormy or drought weather withstood,
what challenges endured, before
the fateful storm that ripped their sturdy roots
from centuries-long life on the historic island.
If only to hold a thick slice,
able to count the rings
revealing hidden stories
of just a single once-stately
Swan Island tree!