Read "Borderland" at The Eldritch Dark:
This haiku from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) describes a scene reminiscent of the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, a place I was fortunate to visit as a child, and which is still vivid in my imagination.
I'm not aware that CAS ever visited that eerie landscape himself, but it seems possible that he might have visited the Petrified Forest in Sonoma County, northern California. That property is privately owned, but has been open for public admission since the early twentieth century.
It's no surprise to me that CAS might find creative inspiration from the bizarre phenomenon of petrified wood. Although the biochemical process of petrification is well understood, to actually see the remains of a tree that has been transformed into stone feels like being in the presence of alchemical magic, one of those strange moments when the veil of reality seems just a little bit frail.
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