There are reasons
I’ve decided to spend a little time
regularly, some weeks,
in the city.
Mainly, I want to be engaged
with people living in the city.
Friends are in the city.
Most people
are in cities,
so I want to know:
how do we live in the city
so that all can thrive?
Though it is a good question,
it is a troubling question,
for me, personally,
since I would rather not bother;
I love being on the prairie
and wish more people could be there.
But this is unlikely to happen.
So this is not about choosing—
once and for all—
country or city.
I will never be able to do that;
I love the natural world in the country
and I need to be engaged with people in the city.
It is my life’s conundrum.
Knowing this may not always be the case,
for the time being,
I get to have a foot in both.

I have settled in a neighborhood
with friends close by.
This morning was my first exploration
on foot.
And suddenly,
the sparse apartment
doesn’t feel like a motel room anymore.
It feels like part of a neighborood.
I walked a block
to Douglas Park—
a full block of park,
on a hillside.
There is a playing field,
concrete paths,
gazebos with picnic tables,
a shiny, colorful playground,
I was glad to see cedars,
some as worn as they are on the prairie,
still allowed to stand.
There is a planting of crepe myrtles
and other trees—
as another winter storm is predicted—
are planted throughout the park.
It is not, however, a forested park.
And I know some neighborhood friends
with an understanding of permaculture practices,
are concerned that water
flows down the hill
and into the gutters,
while bags for water
are wrapped around tree trunks.
Swales and berms could slow that water
and trees could be planted there;
but, alas, there is this low-lying playing field
in the center….

DSCN3061Hilly Douglas Park

DSCN3069Crepe Myrtle Planting

DSCN3071The Playing Field, and beyond, Deep Fork Creek and Centennial Parkway







Another significant feature in this landscape
is Deep Fork Creek,
which parallels the Centennial Parkway
at this point in the city.


Deep Fork behind the apartment

Both are directly behind
my dwelling. The landlord
has seen six deer and a red fox
there this winter.
I keep watch,
and look forward to learning more
about the Deep Fork,
the watershed here,
the ecosystem and its parts,
the neighbors—
human and others.
As I walked by this morning,
one neighbor greeted me with
And, above the din of the parkway traffic,
I heard,
then saw,
a male Cardinal,
shining in a tree.
Then, on this beautiful morning,
slightly homesick
for knowing how beautiful it is on the prairie,
I heard an insistent, unfamiliar call.
instantly distracted from the homesickness in my belly,
I walked slowly around a corner
to see if I could see who was calling
and there was the bird who so often
accompanies me—
singing a city song,
I guess.
It was Mockingbird.