Pack it in, Pack it out

By Cole G.   

I begged the forest to teach me renewal. Show me how to flourish amid the dead and rotting layers of me. Help me understand fragmentation and how to sustain it. How to bounce back from the threat of disease. How to provide without receiving. How to forgive those who leave behind their garbage and waste that will never degrade, forever serving as a cruel reminder. How do you do it, Forest? Will my land alone ever suffice to be treated kinder? Surely I can display a sign for wandering travelers

“Pack it in, pack it out”

But will they remember to pack their moral compass? They always come in, but seldom find their way back around without trampling across my once fertile ground. Who told them it was okay to stray from the designated trails I built? They only pick my flowers to watch them wilt. I understand I welcome the slugs who chomp on my leaves and I invite the birds to live in my trees, but it’s not these creatures who ruin me, it’s the people who come and make a home out of me temporarily.

The nomads who warm my heart with fires and fill my soul with echoes of laughter. The strangers who can sit contently in my silence. The observers who appreciate my beauty, but seek me out for my guidance. The ones who fill their lungs with my air and touch me with their feet so bare, absorbing my energy. It’s the people who notice all of my decay and still want to stay. But fascination always fades and their time is fleeting. Once they get what they came for they always end up leaving. A trail of their essence always imprints on the space between my trees. After all, I am only a place to visit, but all of these visitors are killing me.

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This poem is about the many people who come and go throughout life.