Slocan Valley Rail Trail by Leannah Fidler

Bare rail bed, where tracks used to run
carrying ore and dreams of wealth
north to Slocan
before heading to the smelter in Revelstoke.
The push for expansion
a railroad rushing past homesteads in the lush valley
past lonely, wild places deep in the mountains.

The path disappears into bright trees far ahead of me.
An autumn sun, deliciously hot on my neck
for an October afternoon.
Sweater off, and a cool breeze
lifts the corner of my t-shirt
to caress my back.
The heavy scent of aspens is thick around me—
I feel it in my nose, trickling into my mouth
settling with a sweetness that clings
to the back of my throat.

The gravel bed is littered with fallen leaves

they crunch and scuttle under my feet—
a forest restructuring

How many dreams were shattered
when the smelter closed
and this track was silenced?

Trees bend on either side of the path
squeaking as the fall wind picks up.
The ridges on either side of Slocan Park
are still green with conifers
while here in the valley bottom
the trees shift, dressed in red and gold.

About the Author

Leannah Riah Fidler was raised in the Kootenays, which might be why she falls in love with trees. She loves writing and has since she was young, which was a long time ago.

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