this ad hoc project, dreamt up to stave off cabin fever during the safer at home order in wisconsin, is too good for my soul to limit solely to official state natural areas any longer—the river has overflowed its banks to other places we’re going, so here’s “supplementum #1,” a and b.
the trout lily’s retired for the year
trillia haunt the ridges
heart speaks to heart
lurking the mudstones
carp ride the tide
tanagers look on in silence
Bratt Woods is a 17-acre nature preserve managed by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. A trio of scarlet tanagers and the an all-points circle of oriole song high in the canopy were highlights of the trip.
Thanks to the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust for keeping this land.
tangled cluster of boughs
lain low among the pines—
red and mottled survivors
at the marsh edge
tussocks of moss watch,
rich with mucky life
the redwing blackbirds live
in a world all their own
cattails and fenreek curve,
cradling the earth’s bounds
Tichigan Springs and Fen in Racine County is a calcareous fen, meadow, and springs running from an esker, with adjoining marsh and woods in the surrounding Tichigan Wildlife Area. The cowslip (aka marsh marigold) were particularly lovely when we visited.
Thanks to the Wisconsin DNR for tending this place.
you point feverishly to warblers
as swifts swarm the marsh
trout lily is in bloom
brilliant flash of orange
breaks over cedar creek:
your eyes against the sky
Jackson Marsh is a southern wet forest with a white cedar-tamarack swamp of 590 acres. Exquisite, and a much needed break from the city… Thanks again to the Wisconsin DNR for watching over this land.
a frog dives below the current
logcock sprints upstream
the river will not be stopped
The Milwaukee River Floodplain Forest is a bottomland hardwood forest with some upland pockets situated along the East Branch of the Milwaukee River in Washington County, Wisconsin.
With gratitude to the Wisconsin DNR for maintaining this patch of earth.
With the lifting of restrictions at Wisconsin state recreational sites, I’m back on my lockdown project of visiting my regional State Natural Areas with three-liners. Here’s the latest…
state natural area poems #4: kewaskum maple-oak woods
in early spring sun
frogs croak in chorus
bloodroot stands in lobed splendor
Located on the lands of the Northern Unit Kettle Moraine State Forest, Kewaskum Maple-Oak Woods is a set of two parcels east of the Milwaukee River in Washington County, Wisconsin.
Gratitude to the Wisconsin DNR for preserving these lands.
hairy woodpeckers chasing thru beeches,
moss shrouds scarlet elfcups—
a living world entire between
Kurtz Woods is a small stand of woods relatively unaltered, growing on undulating sandy moraine and simply wonderful to take a moseying walk through.
Thank you, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, for tending this patch of earth for us!
a hoary aspen clutches the gorge-side
as the lake’s whisper breaks on the ear:
this sea will be here long after us
Warnimont Bluff Fens
one more state natural area left in milwaukee county…
[this first installment reflects that i was not permitted access to the actual site–for my own safety and the safety of the rare and delicate plant communities that inhabit the bluffs]
your calcareous fens too rare
the dnr won’t let us find you–
i respect the hell out of that
Warnimont Bluff Fens–home to a thriving community of state-threatened False Asphodel
Thanks again, Milwaukee County, for caring for this land for us.
shagbark hickory up the rise
skunk cabbage strains its spathe–
early risers awash in sun
A beautiful example of old forest strangely right next to Mitchell Airport–dry-mesic, mesic, and lowland forest. Here’s the skunk cabbage we found!
Thank you, Milwaukee County Parks for tending this patch of earth for us.
To maintain sanity, encounter the natural world in my area, and keep the literary instincts moving if not honed, I’m going to start a new project here and on Twitter. (Yes, I’m on Twitter now at @riyeff–those who know me personally will be shocked, I’m sure!)
I’m going to visit the State Natural Areas of Milwaukee County and the four adjacent counties to practice social distancing but also maintain an intimate connection to the natural spaces around my neck of the woods. Then to try to forge some kind of virtual connection with anyone who’s interested, I’ll take a photo and make an impromptu three-line poem (not a haiku unless by accident), posting them here and on Twitter. Maybe other folks will share theirs from other natural areas?
That’s the idea; we’ll see where it goes…