Summer Day in Spring
On a bright, summer-like March day sandwiched between the forty degree norm of rain and clouds, I walk the paved and cedar-mulched trails that wind around and over the hills of this conservation area known as Runge. Trees marked with blue paint, some cut into segments, lie beside the trail, felled by state crews that, during winter, had marked those that were either dead or waiting to topple. Healthy trees are plenty along the two miles of trails in this hundred-acre preserve, with an occasional firmly-rooted, long-dead oak lending its graceful lines to those waiting for the arrival of green. As always, cedars show faces that seem to peer from trunks that bear the scars of severed limbs.
I cross a hillside meadow that shows new green within the black of a controlled burn before coming to a pond with its own green emerging from the water along banks of reeds flattened by winter ice and snow. A turtle watches warily as I pass to enter the forest once again. Along the path that takes me out of the preserve, I walk beside a small stream and stop to gaze at details in the limestone bed that are miniature examples of the Karst formations found here, in central and southern Missouri.
small splash of dull green
frog startled by intruder
stone that does not skip
Such a pleasant afternoon invites me to spend more time outdoors. Four miles away lies an island that is not an island. Sixty years ago, the US Army Corps of Engineers constructed wing dams on the Missouri River. Stone dikes that extend at an angle into the river are meant to prevent shore erosion while maintaining a steady current down the center of the river to provide a channel for commercial navigation. The slight curve that was in the river below the State Capitol soon began collecting river sediment, and the area that briefly becomes an island during high-stage floods now covers thirty acres of wooded terrain. A pedestrian bridge curves 765 feet from the riverside bluff, crossing railroad tracks that parallel the river to reach the new city park established on Adrian’s Island.
I leave the paved trail to take photos of tangled trees that have been carried downriver, then continue along a gravel road that extends to the end of the park. High in the trees that are likely fifty to sixty years old are two eagle’s nests. One has not seen any activity this year, but bald eagles often perch in the other, with reports that young eagles have been seen. I look up to see one of the parents overhead as it soars above the treetops and banks as it drops low over the river. It rises again and turns sharply before settling into the nest with its mate. As I leave the road, careful to maintain a safe distance from the tree that holds the nest, the eagle watches intently, sometimes moving to a nearby branch for a better view of me, while its mate stays behind. Taking what photos this angle allows, I then turn back to the trail and bridge to leave the island, knowing my photo opportunities will decrease as leaves appear, giving the eagles the seclusion they deserve.
cool days grow longer
warm breeze brings a welcome change
branches wait for green
This haibun is my response to Colleen’s #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge No. 267, #ShareYourDay, in which we’re asked to take a photo and write a syllabic poem about our day.
It’s off-prompt, but I’m also sharing it with Day 3 at napowrimo.net
for National/Global Poetry Writing Month.