Eagles soar,
level with my vantage
on the bluff,
wheeling their way
down the Osage valley,
eying the water
in search of prey.

Turning back to the trail,
I pass through cedar,
sycamore and oak,
pausing within
a rare stand of maples.

I come here for that bluff,
those eagles,
but mostly for the maples,
as infrequent here as
eagles along the Niagara.

Bald eagles are present in New York, but not in the numbers seen in Missouri.
There are eagles’ nests along the Niagara River, near both ends of Grand Island,
and I’ve been fortunate to sight them on occasion while kayaking, but I’ve seen
more eagles in one morning along the Osage River than in all my time in Western
New York.

The maple is the state tree of New York, and it far outnumbers the oak trees in WNY.
In Missouri, oak trees are valued for their timber and the food they provide for wildlife.
Sugar maples are considered an invasive species and sometimes culled on state lands.
Since moving here, I miss the fiery color of maples in autumn.

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