TO A CABIN IN THE WOOD
Poem by A.G.M.F.
Fading light through icy mist creates an evanescent glow,
as the way ahead dissolves beneath a canopy of snow.
Woodland hues graduate to muted shades of gray,
like grainy film from yesteryear of kindred hearts at play.
Nature’s consecration of these coastal mountain realms,
mantles oneness on the landscape that gently overwhelms.
When a pelting drench of white stuff proclaims the season’s hold,
heading out on the trail with keen resolve repulses numbing cold.
Gauging distance on this height of land is just a state of mind,
especially where there’s gradient of the straining, uphill kind.
So, it’s onward through the timber with a pack on every back,
where beyond the lodge, expect to slog, along a beaten track.
A backwoods cabin by tradition is a mythic kind of place;
a sequestered mountain refuge unbound in time and space.
Each one is but a speck amidst the forest’s tangled breadth,
now ennobled by the lightness of a snowfall’s cleansing depth.
In a steady fall of snow drifts the essence of a dream,
blurring silhouettes of cabins where rasping lanterns gleam.
If someone on the trail lauds this fading incandescence,
it accrues to those who revel in romantic obsolescence.
Cabins here weren’t meant to be configured by the book,
and every owner reckons they’ve devised a different look.
Though floors can be irregular, rough and worn in spots,
upon the logs are fine displays of convoluted knots.
The ceaseless snows of wintertime are burdensome to bear,
thus, the brutal force of nature governs every mountain lair.
Seasoned logs on hardpan withstand a crushing weight,
where dank earth reposes in its cold, hibernal state.
To some, these rustic domiciles seem practically grotesque,
but, locals like to think of them as quaintly arboresque.
That charm is what makes cabin life a prize worth holding dear,
so, when some old stalwart comes to naught, sentiments are drear.
• • • • • • •
The track ahead is vanishing as from a leaden sky,
the whispered swirl of flakes intones a tranquil lullaby.
There’s an omnipresent splendour to accumulating snow,
when the barometer has plummeted and mercury seeks a low.
Laden limbs of lofty firs draped with clinging snow,
stand guard around The Trails End, its insides all aglow.
Undulating shadows are by cheerful windows cast,
while pendent ice along the eves is crystallizing fast.
A cloud of silvery glitter slips from an overhanging limb,
dusting piles of firewood, tossed as if by whim.
Water pooled upon the porch congeals with the cold,
as tranquil waves of drifting snow, its rough-hewn steps enfold.
Discoloured curtains, a musty blue, veil window panes,
where prying claws of winter drafts effect their subtle gains.
The crafty chill of night may seek to creep in every chink,
but, just the same, it’s warm indoors, where party glasses clink.
• • • • • • •
These cabineers are as flush with heat as a stove that’s fit to glow,
after a snort or two or a few cold brew plucked from a pile of snow.
Indeed, while life upon the Ridge exists or ‘til long-time friends depart;
warm thoughts will surely stoke the core of every cabin’s heart.
While the social whirl of Hollyburn lends cause to celebration,
dim light and homey furnishings make for cozy habitation.
Comfortable bunks, Coleman lamps, a hand-carved set of stairs,
and neatly saddled logs give rise to lasting love affairs.
Lofts are sometimes stifling come time to crawl in bed,
where shingle-covered purlins gather cobwebs overhead.
There’s a comfy bunch of sleeping bags lying in a heap,
for those all set to hit the sack in search of blissful sleep.
The heady warmth of stove-wood induces peaceful slumber,
as playful thoughts and swirling dreams compete to unencumber.
In the dark, wee beasties pause, their nostrils gamely questing,
for tasty morsels to purloin, while humankind are resting.
When storm clouds part the sky emits a mesmerizing light,
casting brilliance over bended boughs cloaked in wintry white.
As primal stardust bears to Earth agreeable respite,
snow-draped stands of timber greet a gauzy, moon-lit night.
• • • • • • •
Until the spell expired, peerless days prevailed on the Ridge;
an historic span for Hollyburn that only progress could abridge.
Still, hidden in the shadows twixt tide and timberline,
scattered cabins hold their own against the scourge of time.
Time was when on this sylvan height a host of cabins stood,
each built by hands that deftly crafted hearts of living wood.
Embodying thus a sheltered space; a mountain hideaway,
fending off the Reaper’s wrath until some fateful day.
Since our ranger up on Hollyburn patrolled the ridge with pride,
over eighty cabins known to him have all been cast aside.
However, names of wry invention promise afterlives for those
entombed within their earthen crypt to slowly decompose.
Most havens left can still attest to glory days gone by,
when abodes of lofty stature held their own against the sky.
As for those who treasure Hollyburn, this truth is understood:
there’s more than merely meets the eye to a cabin in the wood.