Yellow Willow River


The willow are waking up along Camas Creek in the Warner Range. On a windy spring day their glowing stems undulate down the drainage, a yellow flowing river.

The willow are the first to talk about the coming of spring. Sometimes their stems color up before the snow is gone. They’re thinking about catkins and leaves. They’re thinking about trailing their roots in the thawed creek and the yellow-headed blackbird tickling their upper branches with its song. They’re thinking of the Paiute basketmakers harvesting their straight stems before the leaf nodes swell. Will the elders come with their sharp knifes and old ways?