Red cedar, Douglas fir and the whippy limbs of cherry trees lined the highways David was used to, blackberry bramble piled and tangled around everything, visual barriers and wind breaks under nearly constant rain. That was not where his mother brought him now. The Camry was not designed for the rugged maneuvering on this pitted, rutted, unpaved road. Her grip was white-knuckled and she sat forward so her chin was above the steering wheel, but the tight line of her mouth never split to voice uncertainty or anxiety.
Oak and maple spread endlessly in every direction, thick trunks and coarse bark. Scattered white pine in straight columns mixed needles in the leaves. They could rarely see more than a hundred yards ahead or backward before another twist of the road, and when the unclouded sun broke through the dense canopy the contrast blinded. The edges long ago washed away and bared roots, grass and fern crowded in on the open ground and sunlight.Continue reading