Momentary Permanence


Momentary Permanence

I paddle and I paddle,
each stroke offering reward.

A bass, thrashing
in a futile struggle to escape
the grasp of an eagle
that swiftly rises from a river
in a slow January crawl.

The graceful nature
of a sycamore’s white lines
against a blue March sky,
just as beautiful the full green
bloom of its leaves
in the coming months.

A dragonfly, the imperceptible
breeze of its lustrous wings
welcome in August heat
as it flits from a tree branch
to the bow of my kayak
to reeds that line the shore,
never still for long, until
it reaches the gray arm
of a tree rising from the river,
pausing to let me pass.

I drive and I drive,
each trip offering reward.

Children who greet me
with open arms, engage
in long talks of events
new and not-so-new,
as if they are one.

Conversations starting up
where they left off,
leaving off where they
are bound to start
once again.  And again.

A granddaughter
who will read to me
the memorized tale
in her favorite book.
One who will walk with me,
a fast crawl more her speed
when last we were together.
Both milestones
in the passing years.

Places that never grow old,
never have when I was close
and never will,
even in my absence.
The sight of maple trees
when oak and hickory
have become my norm.
The blue of rivers,
waterfalls and lakes,
now that I’m surrounded
by muddy waters.

All of this welcome to me.
Permanent bonds, even
with their temporary nature,
like golden sycamore leaves
as they drift beside me, caught
in the swirl of my paddle,
as if to remind me
they will always be with me,
even if waiting inside graceful lines
against a blue November sky.

This poem is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: EVERYTHING IN THE FOREST IS THE FOREST.

Sycamore Season

Sycamore Season

Although autumn is my favorite season, I wasn’t sure if that would be the case when I moved here, four years ago.

When I moved from Western New York to Missouri in the summer of 2012, one of the biggest changes for me was the weather. Moving from Buffalo, where there’s the chance of a day or two with a 90 degree temperature, I knew I’d have to adjust to the typical 90 degree days of a mid-Missouri summer. It was just my luck that I arrived during a drought in a summer that saw sixteen days of 100+ degrees (well above an average summer temperature near 87°F). It made me wonder what autumn would bring, and if it still would be my favorite season.

The thing I’ve always liked about autumn is the moderate temperatures. And, of course, the beautiful colors. It’s a wonderful sight when the maple trees turn orange and red. In New York. Missouri doesn’t have a lot of maples. (In fact, they’re considered an invasive species. The hardwood of oak has always been a valued “crop,” and maples are seen as crowding them out.) The autumn colors just aren’t as vibrant, here in Missouri. Hickory and sycamore become a pale yellow, and the oaks are more of a subdued, almost-brown, red. It’s a rare treat to see a vibrant red maple amid the normal subdued colors of a mid-Missouri autumn.

As for the weather, high temperatures in the sixties are the norm for mid-October. We’re still waiting for most of the leaves to change, since there have been very few nights below fifty degrees. With projected highs in the mid-sixties (and 78 this Friday), it will be another week or two before the oaks, hickories and walnuts change.

I’ve decided it’s all relative. Here in Missouri, autumn still offers a variety of (subdued) color over the other seasons, as well as moderate temperatures, albeit warmer than I’m used to. It’s still my favorite.

So far this season, the only change I’ve seen in foliage is in dogwoods and sycamores. Dogwood trees are pretty boring, but sycamores have a nice yellow to pale orange going on, so I’ll show you some photos of sycamores along the Moreau River, taken while I was kayaking, yesterday.






sycamore-season_6Not everyone was impressed by the colors