-Cowboy Poetry-

From Ashes to Beauty

By Natalie Beecher


I wanted to share a story from an area I have ridden frequently but has been the victim of massive fires in the last several years.  It is located in the San Gorgonio Wilderness in the San Bernardino National Forest, Southern California.  It is where I first learned to horse camp years ago - and where I learned to ride rough, backcountry terrain.


Here is the story in a lyrical format!

"Beautiful Devastation"

Why even ride there? What are you doing?

That’s what they tell me, the landscape is ruin.

Once was so lovely, under canopy green

The water ran softly, the aspens pristine

Now barren and dry, ravaged by firestorm

The trees charred and died, eerie silence takes the form

But I rode in its glory, and I’ll ride it today

I still see the beauty, rising up from decay

For the saplings are peeking, and breeching the waste

The water is carving new routes to the gorge base

And I search for the trail that I knew was once here

Through the fire torn setting, I can see it appear

Where breezes whispered through rustling pines, now a hallow moan takes hold

Through the creaking skeleton giants still here, my memories swirl—clear and bold

For here is where I climbed my first mountain, and crossed my very first stream

With precious friends no longer with us, such times now seem like a dream

And I know it will never—in my time—return, to full glory from previous day

But the trail must be forged as new life takes hold, for the younger to now find their way

So they can climb their first mountain, and cross their first stream-and find what frightens their mount

They can find lifelong friends and hold their head high, at the fact that they made it out

So while most pass on this ride with a smirk and a sigh, citing only desolation

I don’t pay that no bother, no mind—I know beauty in that devastation.

*All pictures were taken in 2020. The one on the stump was taken by Marian Crider. All the others were taken by Julie Bradley. 


Ride on!
~Natalie Beecher


Forest Fire Season has started early this year in many places across the country - let's keep our brave firefighters in our thoughts and prayers as they battle these blazes!

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