I've Not Been
By Neil M. Travis, Montana
I've not been back, nor will I go,
There is a stream which flows over clean, sparkling
gravel. A stream which bends and turns through an
evergreen forest, sweeping deep beneath the overarching
cedar trees, chattering softly through the riffles and
flowing quietly through long, deep pools. There is a
trail winding along this stream which leads through a
cedar bog, and emerges from among the tag alders at a
pool. Across the way a cabin perches on a patch of
verdant green grass that flows down the slope to the
stream edge. The cabin is as green as the grass upon
which it sets, and the forest which surround all of it
is equally green.
To places that I used to know.
To sparkling brook or wooded hill,
Treasured places, treasured still.
It would not do me good to know,
That Father Time has changed them so.
For now within minds eye I see,
Those places that were dear to me.
Places where I stopped to play,
To wile away a summers day.
In meadow green or forest deep,
These places in kind memory sleep.
For sheltered there from prying eyes,
The past grows old but never dies.
A log lays firmly lodged in the bed of the stream.
Lying parallel to the flow it provides a perch where
a heron, or a human, can set and contemplate. From
this perch both bird and man may watch for the flash
of a trout as it turns to take a nymph, or the slight
dimple as a dainty morsel is intercepted on the surface.
The trout are there, butter colored browns, silvery
rainbows, and brightly spotted brookies. At times they
cover the water with dimples, but sometimes it flows past,
in an unbroken, undulating ribbon.
I know that the stream is there, and that the trail
still winds through the cedar bog, though I have not
seen the stream or trod that trail in over 30 years.
I trust that the trout are still there, though I hear
that they are not as they were then.
This stream was an integral part of my life for many years,
its contribution to my mental "sanity" during those years
is beyond measure. The stream, and those I shared it with,
are a part of my life that has long since past. Regrettably,
I don't believe I will see the likes of them again. ~ Neil M. Travis, Montana/Arizona
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