Reading Time: < 1 minute

Like the aftermath of a beautiful sunset of deep oranges wrinkled in the sky, cyans and cerulean blues coloring the opens spaces between crimson stretches that reach into the darkness of blue-grey clouds to tint the bottoms of the opposing sky, pink, my little patch of nature is gone like the day leaving nothing but grey, indifferent clouds of the long night.

Trash litters the trail, shredded plastic bags torn by exposure to the sun and the wind rustle in the stench. The ersatz leaves of bags and wrappers catch in the branches of the bushes. A feral pig roots through the trash and mud at the water’s edge, eying me warily. A ripple in the surface might be a fish, I can’t imagine what could survive in this cesspool. Shorebirds wade in the cesspool, out of desperation for clean water? Yellow flowers of weeds heroically push their way through the trash and broken concrete. Power lines hum overhead.

In my mind, I see the fast-flowing stream of my youth. On a lucky day, I might spot the fin of a steelhead making its way upstream to its spawning grounds or an otter darting in and out of the reeds and cattails, or an osprey patrolling the waters for a meal. I might skip stones over the surface, paddle a kayak, take a few pictures of a fragile flower, have lunch on the banks, or throw a stick in the water for my dog to give chase.

What happened to my small patch of nature? Did it surrender to my absence? Why did nobody speak for it? Why do I only speak for it now, in its death?