Tuesday, April 29, 2014

After The Rain- Percy Warner Park

Five inches of rain yesterday and through the night, and then a clear, bright morning to be followed by more rain.

My Shih Tzu, who went on a hunger strike and hid for hours in the closet because he heard thunder, came out when he heard me taking down the leashes and pocketing the car keys. Percy Warner Park was our destination. It had to be, for our usual walks at Edwin Warner Park were under the Harpeth River, which was 5 feet over flood stage.

We walked the Main Drive on the hill above the steeplechase course, and as we walked into the woods I heard a sound that is rare here- the sound of small waters in overnight brooks and rivulets, rushing and seeping off the stone walls and hills into minor lakes and sloughs beside the road.

In his poem "Hyla Brook", Robert Frost writes:

"By June our brook's run out of song and speed".

Frost's New Hampshire brooks were those of my youth in North Charlestown, New Hampshire. These were brooks that came from springs and snow melt, and they lasted for the season. Not so the Percy Warner brooks, which will be gone until the next 5 inch rain.

Yesterday, the waters were more violent, for I saw stones from the walls along the road that had been undermined, and that had tumbled down into the ditches. Water is powerful when it is on the move. Four years ago, when we had 20 inches of rain in three days, hillsides at the park collapsed in mudslides.

But today I heard only gentle gurgling and dripping.

When we turned back I listened for other sounds. Perhaps I would hear a Woodthrush, or even the Swainson's Thrush.

Neither were singing. But the Indigo Bunting was back, and there he was, inspecting a Hackberry tree.

There were a few other humans out this morning. The Park Grounds crew drove past in their little white truck, for the Iroquois Steeplechase is a week from this coming Saturday, and there are fields to be groomed and trimmed.

The view from the road above the steeplechase course is panoramic. My sister once told me it reminded her of Italy.

Yet how often it is walked, or cycled, or driven by by the oblivious. Today there was a young woman sitting on a stone bench. She was bent over her laptop computer. Another girl, taking a break from her morning run, was on her phone, though whether she was getting or sending messages, I do not know.

This is the generation that will replace us, and to whom not much is real until they have confirmed it on a screen.

Hypertrophied Thumbs and Silicon souls.

Not a people interested in the sound of a brook going downhill or the sound of a thrush singing.


Kay G. said...

I saw this same thing this past weekend. At Stone Mountain with beautiful views and trees, with birds singing and children with their faces glued to their screens playing video games, being dragged up the mountain by their parents. Sad but true.
Beautiful post by the way, I could just FEEL the dampness of all that rain.

betsy said...

Thanks, K.G. for your comment. Two weeks ago I went out to brunch with friends. I saw a table of young women who should have been talking to each other and enjoying it.But you can guess what they were doing.

Out on the prairie said...

Like to hear about the buntings, I have a good place to watch for them.