Sometimes inspiration doesn't feel like inspiration. Sometimes it feels more like a kick in the gut. This week, the destruction of a hillside of trees that is as familiar to me as the walls of my studio provoked the sort of pause that, when I'm lucky, leads to a poem or a bit of prose. I was on my way to an appointment, and I really didn't have any time to spare, but I'd thrown my camera into the backseat (something I'm trying to make a habit). The morning sun was lighting up the eastern flanks of the Saugatuck Dunes with the rich yellow that happens this time of year. I made a split decision to be late and found a spot where I knew I'd have a (painfully) unobstructed view of the devastation I've been walking through for months. Information about what caused these trees to fail to leaf out this year is trickling in slowly from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, but it seems almost certainly to be connected with an effort to poison the oriental bittersweet that had spread over this hillside and was threatening these very same trees. There is so much we don't understand about how ecosystems work. I'll write about all of this eventually, I'm sure. In the meantime, I think I'm still in shock and trying not to look away, but walking through those scores of bare trees (and over the invasive garlic mustard plants that are proliferating at their feet) definitely does not feel good. By the way, I wish I could have flown straight up in the air a few hundred feet before I took the photo, because there are more leafless trees hidden behind the bank of green on the river's edge.