By Tamara (Dicus) Hillman

How can this be—in one fell swoop,

only memories remain

of places I so cherished

and would visit once again?

Now only devastation,

ash, and cinders lie

where once I spent my childhood—

now smoldering, hot, and dry.

Homes that once were landmarks

are now just chimneys tall—

statues where those houses stood

now bricks and mortar all.

A small town—nonexistent,

caught by the fiery beast

at the end of our dear valley

where we’d be headed east.

Orchards gone forever,

abundance of fruit lost—

livelihood of harvest masters

who will surely count the cost.

The river with its tree line—

colors marking seasons each,

boasts now of only scorched rock

along its barren beach.

Fields I ran and played in

are burned beyond belief,

and all I feel when viewing

is sorrow, and much grief.

Trees we climbed as children

to view the world below

are only blackened sticks now

not fit for man, nor crow.

Aspen and great willows,

shading swimming hole,

are crumbled to the ground now,

and it hurts my very soul.

How green my valley once was

with flowers on the hills—

serene and peaceful respite

where I forgot my ills.

Open range where cattle

could graze the summer thru’

now strewn with bloated carcass’—

much more than just a few.

Home of my youth and schooling—

the place where I was born

resembles now a war zone—

tattered, burnt, and torn.

Our children won’t remember

what my mind retains so dear

for it will take a generation

to replenish all, I fear.

Locked in those faded photos,

and in the oldster’s eye,

the valley will remain pristine

as future years pass by.

Hillman was born in Twisp (to Earl and Anne Dicus) and grew up in the Methow Valley. She currently lives in Sun City West, Arizona.