November 13, 2009
Warren County Bike Path, along Rocky Brook
Whence comes this foul mood I’m in?
This wallowing in woe ?
Have I caught the November Flu --
That cold withdrawal from lush summer days?
Or is it merely the result of the sun’s lessening rays?
Or is it because – after reams of recycled reminders –
I have let my Sierra Club membership lapse?
Or that I just don’t understand the basics of “trail maintenance”
As practiced by certain towns?
It’s true there are much greater things to mourn
Out in the wide world, beyond my little path
My walk today along the public trail
So recently “mowed,”
More likely is the cause of my immediate upset.
The folly of my melancholy
Gives me the urge to write a dirge --
So bear with me, friends, and let me rant:
Weep for the raspberry
Red, black and purple-flowering
Their canes cut back to almost nothing.
What will that chipmunk eat for a sweet, next August?
And where will she hide?
Beer-can in the brook!
Bottle in the brush!
Toilet paper strewn along the trail to a nearby swamp
(a holy place)
“Leave nothing but footprints” a faded mantra
from a more optimistic time.
The nearby Birch sheds papery tears
And the Poplar trembles not a little, as the mowing blades pass,
A circular buzzsaw on a tractor’s extended arm.
The edges are dulled by now and carve a ragged border,
tearing rather than cutting the larger shrubs.
Where is the beaked hazel that grew right next to the trail?
The Canada Lilies, that some unknown lover
marked with little yarn bows, weeks before they bloomed?
Sunflowers, Joe-Pye, waves upon waves of fern?
Chopped down one and all
for neatness’ sake.
I know it is that time of year
When the leafy plants naturally die down
That some, in fact, cannot propagate unless the seedpods brown and burst.
And yet – why hurry things along?
Why mow the flowers?