Forests produce more than trees. From their rich, revitalized floor, ferns and fungus and flowers help replenish the cycle of growth. When a tree falls in the forest, its wood disintegrates as its life ends, nourishing the saplings just beginning their own lives. More importantly, it leaves us with a forest full of clichés if we do not see deep inside its crinkles and creases.
When we walk into a thousand trees, their trunks silently standing side by side, they remind us of our smallness. They unknowingly offer us equal doses of perspective and humility, and thankfully, they do it without any judgement. They wait for us, camouflaging the wildlife and full of stillness. We just need to go to them.
I wandered into more than a million acres of trees in the summer of 2014. The aesthetics of the nature I explored united with my fascination for words, led me into a love affair with the Bighorn National Forest. The story that unfolded from my reflections during my time in Wyoming followed absolutely no correlation to my own experiences, but the surroundings, the sunsets, the star-studded nights, and the simplicity of a summer on the Bighorns breathed life into my characters.
I changed my pace of life because I chose to walk into the woods. The trees provided me with a wealth of beautiful words, scenes, and memories. I peered into those ruffles and wrinkles in the bark, the streams, the rocks, and the leaves and The Lumberjack, Waldeinsamkeit (coming in Spring 2024), Their Secret, and A Girl Who Could Burn (launch date to be announced) emerged from the forest, replenishing me and the saplings of prose that began to grow.
The Novels Of Pam Portland
JANUARY 2021: If you think the impact of the Bighorn National Forest wanes over time, fear not. Natalie discovers that the cycles of life and death extend beyond her beloved mountains in Their Secret, a sequel to The Lumberjack. Spending time in her mind (and she in mine) allowed us both to wander through the trails and trees that inspired me during my first journey on the forest. The Wyoming woods continues to breathe into her and carry her into new roles, ranks, and relationships.
AUGUST 2016: While temporarily working for the United States Forest Service, I explored the beautiful stretches of stillness and seclusion in Wyoming that guided me to the settings I would describe in my first novel, The Lumberjack. With each potential setting I discovered, I expanded my love of the mountains that tempted me away from my routine, rote professional life and into the nomadic addiction that America the Beautiful enticed within me for years.
Please enjoy the adventures of Natalie. She found her courage and the love of her life, as did I, on the Bighorn National Forest. Please feel free to find your own strength and rebirth #OnTheForest.