| Murals |

Black Cottonwood, Populus Trichocarpa
Garden City, Idaho, 2018

In 1863, French-Canadian fur trappers named the big river that runs through modern-day Boise, Idaho, "la Riviere Boisse," meaning "the wooded river," because it was heavily edged with cottonwoods and willows, quite a shock from the dry, sage-filled grasslands that were all around. Ever since, those who've settled in Boise have enthusiastically planted trees throughout for both fruit and shade, thus creating the "City of Trees," which is how Boise is often and fondly described. Inspired by my newly-adopted, tree-loving city, I wrote this poem and painted this Black Cottonwood tree mural at Roots Zero Waste Market in neighboring Garden City.

O, Cottonwood!
My Cottonwood!
Forever cursed and feared
and misunderstood.
Stand strong, stay gold,
be cool, Black Cottonwood.

Yes, you -- Mother of Nature,
Giver of life, conjurer of snow
and ocean alike.
Protector of all
that call this river home.
Mama, don't go.

I hear you now.
Your breath quick, like music.
Stay close, stand tall, keep singing.
I owe you my life.
Tell me then, O Cottonwood,
what can I do?


Copyright Ⓒ 1998-2022 Katherine Shaughnessy