Tuesday, July 10, 2012


What's progress for a lake?
It's not dammed. It's been here
For at least an ice age.
A few hundred people
Showed up a few thousand
Years ago. That was it

Until the silver boom
In the 1890s
Kicked off what's locally
Considered history.
An industrial lake
For a while then; steamships

Belched their coal stacks, hauling
Galena, silver, lead,
And logs from mushrooming
Villages boasting names
Such as El Dorado,
Silverton, New Denver,

All very picturesque
In photos, but a mess--
The carious mine shafts,
Stripped hillsides, early deaths,
The long-sunk ore ship
Still in the hold of the lake.

Then what? The long decline,
The Doukhobor settlers,
Japanese internees,
Hippies and their decline,
And now an afterthought
Summer vacation spot,

All mod cons, yet pristine,
The fresh yearly reports
The water's fit to drink,
The shoreline's not too bad,
The effluent minimal.
The lake falls and rises,

Turns over once a year.
It's all very boring,
Although this year it rose
To swallow the whole shore
And only now recedes.
"That's progress," Ranger Bob

Notes, seeing the water's down.
"There used to be a guy,
Maybe ninety years old,
Came every day at eight
To record the distance
Off from the jetty's edge

To the high water mark.
We rangers kept records
When he died. It hasn't
Gotten as high as this,
Not since the seventies."
He grins, gets in his truck

With Ranger Bruce to check
The state of hiking trails
Around Wilson Creek Falls.
I watch the small waves lap.
I want my beach. I want
The lake to eat us all.

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