Early Hike with Dog*

June 18, 2017

2017 Merit Award
By David M. Laws

The day hides beneath the horizon
as we wind our way up an unkempt trail.
Possum pushes her taut terrier body ahead,
analyzing aromas of previous passers-by,
quick peek for most but full appraisal
of others. Birds brag of territorial control,
and proclaim to potential mates dual
dreams of domesticity and reproduction.
Errant branches pull at me, sometimes
a caress, sometimes a chastisement.
This is no longer a trail, they contend,
but the fragrance of freshly rain-drenched
forest infuses me with vigor, bringing
new life to my fatigued feet. Arise! Arise!
Move forward! the world seems to call.
One last fallen tree to negotiate, Possum
under, me over, and we burst out of forest
to the summit. Sun rises over Mount Baker,
sets it ablaze, painting frozen glaciers into
fiery lava, red-gold in the new morning.

. . . . .
David M. Laws is a gardener, musician, husband, father, writer, hiker and former musical instrument repair technician who practices all of the above in Bellingham. He graduated from Western Washington University in 2005, at age 58, with a degree in English — Creative Writing Emphasis.

“My poem ‘Early Hike with Dog’ was inspired by a number of hikes I’ve taken with Possum, the Glorious Little Girl Terrier who has lived with us for four years now. Her determination has pushed me through what seemed to be impassable obstacles on numerous forgotten trails, and occasionally rewarded me with something like what the poem describes — a scene of beauty and wonder.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by David M. Laws. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.


for Keri Sherlock*

August 31, 2014

Donna Rushing - for Keri Sherlock
for Keri Sherlock
(murdered in Mt. Baker area at age 20, 1998)
By Donna Watson Rushing
2014 Merit Award

don’t go, sister, up that bright mountain
with that man. he will not recognize
the holiness either of you or of the mountain
will desecrate those sacred places

don’t go with him, daughter, in your blessed body
he does not remember the sacredness
of even his own life, has forgotten
where his hatred started
with a cold heart that barely beats
he regards you, who are truly loved

don’t go, my friend, up that winding road
your fear is your heart’s voice, straining to be heard
it is your mother’s voice, reminding you
we do not walk in fear without a reason

hush, listen … the stream is your blood
the wind, your own breath
that bird’s call, your beating heart’s song
you will be free
be kindest, daughter
to yourself

*Copyright 2014 by Donna Watson Rushing. Broadside designed and illustrated by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio.

Sue Boynton, adventurer

March 2, 2011

Sue C. Boynton on pack trip ~ approx. 1908
Between 1906, when Sue Crocker Boynton arrived in Bellingham as a new bride, and 1910, when her first child was born, Sue Boynton climbed Mt. Baker and explored the local area on foot and horseback. She reflected on her experiences and emotions in words and continued to write poetry for the rest of her long life.

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