Dragonfly Library

The Forester

Author: © James Kraus
Publication Date: June 2013
Ordering: Amazon


James Kraus knows the woods from every perspective – as a source of Wonder, a source of Timber, and a source of Conflict.

-Bill McKibben


Excerpt 1 (from a dream)

Sara and I were walking through a forest. Sunlight dappled wild flowers, ferns, and moss that grew around the base of fir, hemlock, and cedar. The day was warm and bright and we stopped to pick blueberries and raspberries. We also ate a substance that grew on rocks that had a consistency like bread. Everything was delicious, and we were very satisfied with our meal.

We strolled along a stream and glanced at cascades of emerald water bubbling into transparent pools filled with feeding trout. Birds were everywhere, singing from branches and flying from tree to tree. Rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals went quietly about their normal activities, and our presence did not seem to disturb them.

We came to a gorgeous pool below a waterfall and sat there, enjoying the beauty and tranquility of the surrounding landscape. A doe came to drink at the pool on the opposite bank and looked at us with serenity in her eyes. She walked a short distance and was joined by a buck, and together they disappeared into the forest.

Sara dove into the pool and swam to the waterfall. She climbed onto a rock where tiny drops of spray caught the sunlight and formed a rainbow around her naked body. She waved to me, and I waved back to her.

Slipping into the pool, she swam to the other side of the stream, where she climbed onto another rock to let herself dry in the warm sun. She looked beautiful, and I felt an intense love for her.

I dove into the pool and swam to the rock she was sitting on. She giggled, stood up, and ran into the dense vegetation. I pulled myself out of the water and ran after her, but I couldn’t find her. I anxiously searched the area, calling her name several times. There was no answer. Sara was gone.

I woke up shouting, “Sara.”

Strong Bear was looking at me from his bed. “You were having a dream, it’s okay now.”

I looked at him and said, “It’ll never be okay because Sara is never coming back.”

“You’ll see her on the other side.”


Excerpt 2 (poachers)

Skimming above the meadow, I flew closer to the poachers. The bear stopped about fifty yards in front of the two men and fearlessly rose up on his rear legs.

A burst of red suddenly appeared on the grizzly’s shoulder. One of the poachers had shot the bear.

The other man was raising his rifle as I came into a hovering position above them, and my sudden presence prevented him from firing a shot. The man lowered his rifle and shook his fist at me.

Anger rushed through me. I brought my helicopter further down on them in retaliation. With terror on their faces they dropped to the ground. Pulling my chopper up, I saw the grizzly limping toward nearby timber.

I gained altitude quickly, knowing my next concern would be the other chopper. Looking to my right, I saw the poacher’s helicopter coming after me.

The chopper’s side door opened, and a man appeared with an assault rifle in his hands. Pointing his rifle at my chopper, he opened fire. Several rounds ripped through my helicopter.

Smoke poured into the cockpit as I looked for a place to land. More bullets tore into my chopper.

I brought my helicopter down and made a rough landing. I pushed the door open and jumped to the ground.

Blades whirled overhead and flames burst from my helicopter as I dashed in the direction of nearby trees. There was more gunfire. I kept running as fast as I could in the slippery snow.

A loud explosion filled the air behind me. I hit the ground and covered my head.

Burning debris flew over me. Looking back, I saw a ball of fire consuming my helicopter. I got to my feet and ran.

Above the roar of the flames, I heard the other helicopter pursuing me. I strained every muscle in my body to reach the timber. Bullets sprayed around me.

EXCERPT C: Susan, a wealthy developer telling Kirk she loves him.

Susan stared at her drink for a while. Then she looked at me and said, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

I looked at the distant range of mountains and felt my stomach tighten.

I said, “This is happening too fast. I’m not over the loss of Sara. I haven’t fulfilled my obligations to her. I need time.”

I thought for a few seconds and added, “I think it would be good for me to get away for a while. I’m planning to go to Yosemite in a couple of weeks to take Sara’s pictures. I want to keep my job, but I can’t make the kind of commitment you want, at least not now. You’ve been good to me. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.”

Susan’s eyes misted. “I understand. I admire you for your love and devotion to Sara. Please take all the time you need to fulfill your wife’s last request. And please come back when you’re done with what you have to do.”

EXCERPT D: Kirk & Henry trying to save a large brown trout by catching him, & while he is hooked, moving him downstream to the safety of the

Yellowstone River before the Autumn River is diverted.

The big brown trout had fought the hook before, and he knew how to use the current to his advantage. Out of Looking Glass Pool he swam and into the pool below, with a tired old angler stumbling and toiling to keep up.

I ran ahead of Henry and asked him if he was okay. Line was spilling from his reel like sand in an hour glass. He was losing the race. There was pain on his face. I knew his heart was in trouble.

“Let me take over, Henry.”

He pushed me away.

“Do you have your medicine?”

“There’s no more line,” Henry screamed.

I looked at Henry’s reel. In another instant the leader would snap and…


“Take the rod, you beautiful, stupid fish.”
As Henry yelled these words, he threw his fly rod into the river. Then he collapsed.Frantically, I searched his pockets for his pills. I found the bottle that he kept his medicine in and quickly shoved one of the pills into his mouth. Henry clutched his hand to his chest.Between clenched teeth he muttered, “Its over…he’ll die with the rest of the trout.”


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