Quartzville Creek runs through the heart of the proposed Douglas-fir National Monument, east of Sweet Home, OR.
Dear Quartzville Creek,
From the time I first laid eyes on you, it was love at first sight.
Your cascading waters and quiet pools sing a siren song I can’t resist.
You wind through the forest, at times revealing, at others hiding your pristine charms,
lovingly caressing the fish that swim your refreshing waters.
You adorn your depths with glittering flakes of gold.
Where have you been all my life?
Emerging from your headwater meadow high in the mountains,
you nurture the trees and the wildflowers and the salamanders and all the rest,
on your way to the sea.
Your bankside trees catch the mist carried by the eastbound winds
and pass it on to quench the thirst of your trees so they grow tall.
They will shade you and keep you cool enough
to hold all that oxygen that the fish need to thrive.
You carry away the excess rain and snowmelt to the valley below
where the people and the farms await your precious waters
when the winter rains stop.
You gather the runoff of the streams that feed you and that increase your riches.
As you rush through your rocky course, you invite the oldest tall trees to lay down with you,
slowing your waters at times so the migrating salmon can take a rest
on their way back home to give birth to the next generation of watery travelers.
I’m not your only lover.
Osprey and bald eagles and kingfishers and ouzel all have succumbed to your charms.
You are a breath of fresh air in this world of trouble.
Yikes! Here comes a wildfire, doing its job, ridding the forest floor of fallen branches, needles and leaves,
leaving behind newly nourished soil to feed the young saplings eager to continue the cycle of forest succession.
You do your job, keeping the fire contained
so it doesn’t sweep the entire forest away at once.
Pay no attention to the suitors that would defile you with dams and clearcuts.
They know nothing of your virtues.
I’ll be back again and again to protect you
from those who would violate your purity.