Daylight In The Swamp


Now that both logging camp and logging railroad are on their way to join the bull teams and the skid roads, I imagine that few of today’s loggers, by now thoroughly and, I trust, happily domesticated, regret their passing. Yet, here and there may be an old-timer with a stubborn atavistic streak who, when the melancholy is upon him, will suddenly recall a dawn, back when the world was new, when all of us were young and handsome, when all phonographs played “Margie” and “Dardanella,” and the wireless was not yet quite radio.

It was a magic time filled with dreams, even at the far end of a logging railroad in a logging camp, where the sun came over the mountain to slant in whirling mists, while the bull cook beat the daylights out of the camp gong, and two hundred single young men came stomping down the camp walk, their calks clicking rhythmically on the planks, heading for an incredible breakfast, then a thundering ride behind the rolling Shay to where the spar tree rose high above the round stuff lying among the stumps far below.

Such was my “modern” time. I thought then that it was a thumping great and wildly wonderful, if tragically heedless, era in the timber. Thirty years later I know it was.