We hiked up a canyon in the cold summer rain.
It was late in the day and on the mountain
across the canyon there was a section of
gray-dead trees, irregularly shaped,
so that across that distance and amidst the
dark blue-green of the rest of the mountain's forest
those dead trees looked like
smoke. At a glance, it seemed as if that
smoke was rising—an illusion. You had to
squint and watch the mountainside for several moments
to understand there was no drift of smoke, no
movement; that it was only a winding forest of
dead gray tree trunks, smoke-colored spars.
But then it was like a kind of power to stand
there and understand that you were seeing into
the future, and that in ten or twenty years
those trees, so dry and ready for fire,
would catch a summer-tongue of flame,
and ignite, and that then, some years hence,
they would become the thing they resembled;
as if art or an imagined thing were to become reality.
How many times are we able
to peer, in shuttered glimpses, into the true future?