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Feature Story
In Verse
Page 2

The color of sulphur,
pine pollen
gilds the edges
of the standing water.
By morning,
each vanished pool
will leave its pale
figuration, outlines
of some former life.

When a problem perseveres
without solution,
someone said,
you have to change
your language;
it becomes a fact.

We circled the Pond
in steady rainfall, all
the distant hillsides hidden
in the drape of cloud.
The path was lined with wire
fences, limits that preserve,
perversely, something
wild. The wild rises,
falls, and cycles back.
It cycles, mutely, back.

How is it, this morning,
in the drooping gray
of rain, new needles
on the pines seem lit, as if
by sunlight? The bright,
new green is burning,
in the face of darkness,
from within.

On the listserve, updates
tell us of the grizzly,
wounded by a gunshot
to the head. All winter
she kept moving, never
bedding with her three
young of the year.
"The cubs are very
sleepy," our correspondent
wrote. "They've all lost
weight. We worry they
have trouble keeping up."

Each gleaning
from the day's continued
congress rests, ephemera
detained awhile by
notice. How lonely we are
unless, like this,
we gesture outwards.
-- Elizabeth Dodd

High Desert
  Out here, there is another way to be.
There is a rising brightness in the rock,
a singing in the silence of the tree.
  Something is always moving, running free,
as quick and still as quail move in a flock.
The hills out here know a hard way to be.
  I have to listen for it patiently:
a drumming canter slowing to a walk,
a flutter in the silence of a tree.
  The owl's call from the rimrock changes key.
What door will open to the flicker's knock?
  Out here there is another way to be,
described by the high circles of a hawk
above what hides in silence in the tree.
  The cottonwoods in their simplicity
talk softly on, as hidden waters talk,
an almost silent singing in the tree
that says, here is another way to be.
-- Ursula K. Le Guin

The Vanishing Bee
Wrecking the Rockies
Paradise Drowned

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Illustration of an owl

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Illustrations: Daniel Chang

OnEarth. Summer 2006
Copyright 2006 by the Natural Resources Defense Council