"Peters Canyon, March 2020" by Marc Petrie
PETERS CANYON, MARCH 2020
I’ve walked this canyon for 25 years.
Water once filled the reservoir
irrigated citrus orchards
with vibrant orange stripes,
egrets and herons,
hawks and the occasional eagle,
migratory ducks and geese.
In March, 1995, a naturalist pointed out
a Western Blue Jay.
I saw bright blue
memories of mountain hikes and
an Eastern childhood.
I almost stepped on a snake
who slithered across the trail
as startled as me.
A plaque near the crest of the hill
the far side of the lake
dedicated to the drought explains
how climate change
dried the waters
along with the waterfowl and the blackbirds.
I haven’t seen a hawk circling for years,
not since fire raced up the dry canyon,
wiped out the willows where
my son will never know this park
the way I knew it:
the edge of the muddy trail;
A seep hidden in the lower canyon
where frogs provided their cadence.
He patiently waits for me to shut up.
He has never seen a blue jay
in Orange County, or stopped to listen
to the welcome winter voice of ducks
on a pond. He covers his face to escape the rising dust
To him its all-dried cracked mud.
Marc Petrie has published a novel, A Dream Once Dreamed, a collection of poems, Then All Goes Blue, and has had work published in numerous journals including City Lights Review, California Quarterly, Pearl, Santa Barbara Review among others. A chapbook, Poems of Nature and Grief, will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. Mr. Petrie holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematical Economics and a Master of Science in Systems Engineering. He wrote for numerous college and California newspapers in his youth. He holds teaching credentials in Mathematics, French, and General Education and teaches Middle School at Willard Intermediate School in Santa Ana, where he was Teacher of the Year in 2018.