Washington’s Skamania county, where I live, is mostly sparsely populated wilderness, home to Mount St. Helens, and also the world’s only Bigfoot refuge. Back in the sixties (long before I moved here) there were a lot of reports of possible Sasquatch sightings here. Many people found what they took to be Bigfoot tracks in snow and mud. A lot of visitors came looking, many of them carrying firearms hoping to bag themselves a Bigfoot trophy. The county commissioners responded by declaring Bigfoot a protected species. I love telling people we have an actual law which says that if you kill a Bigfoot within the county boundaries you will be subject to a hefty fine and/or a lengthy jail term. What could be cooler than living in a place that protects a possibly imaginary species?
Not that you’d have any trouble finding people around here who will tell you in no uncertain terms that Bigfoot is far from imaginary. I was once acquainted with a man who met Sasquatch twice. His name was Datus. I got to know him just a couple of years before he died. He came to the library often and liked to talk about his encounters in the woods. I always listened to his stories. He was a wild man with a wild soul, and despite his frail health he had the sort of presence that always filled up a room. After he died I missed seeing him and hearing his stories. I wrote a poem, Bigfoot, as a tribute to his spirit.