A Sunset Stroll Along the Erie Canal Trail

A slight nip in the mid-October air,
a crisp, ever so gentle, breeze,
the ingredients of a bracing sunset stroll
along the Erie Canal trail.
A glowing orange-red sun lazily setting
in the amber western sky is a stunning
visual treat, a fitting complement to the
brightly colored foliage of canalside
trees and brush. Multi-colored fallen
leaves—in shades of red, yellow, orange,
brown, gold and purple—carpet the trail,
crackling and crunching beneath my feet.
A menagerie of small animals–rabbits,
squirrels, a gopher, an old, portly groundhog–
scamper across the trail. Partially concealed,
a red fox, hunting dinner, crouches in brush,
patiently waiting, watching. Unseen birds,
hidden by leafage, chirp melodious tunes.

A sudden NOISE! The ROAR of an engine!
A THUNDEROUS VOICE! Startled critters
scurry for cover! Birds take wing!
Rippling through the canal, a gigantic
wake—tsunami-like–vibrates the water
from side to side, splashing it against the banks.
The wake’s source, an approaching motorboat,
vastly exceeding the legal speed, apparently
is doing its utmost to reach home by dark.
The stylishly clad, fortysomethingish couple
on board smile and wave as their boat zips by.
From their radio, a stentorian male voice–
a well-known talk show host–loudly excoriates
in a single breath the people he blames for the
ills of the world: big guvmint libruls, feminazis,
sluts, homos and lesbos, hippies, left wing fascists,
socialists and commies, tree huggers, eco-terrorists,
climate change fanatics, peaceniks, anti-‘Muricans.

As the boat vanishes around the bend, the turbulence
slowly subsides, the noise dims, then fades away.
In its place is an abnormal and conspicuous stillness.
Nature has been silenced! The only sound
is the crackling of leaves beneath my feet.
With the sun rapidly sinking into the horizon
and the brisk night air feeling shivery,
I hurry home, recollecting the words of
a venerable old nature bard:
“The world is too much with us; . . .
Little we see in nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”

Floyd D. Anderson lives in Brockport, New York, and can be reached at floydsroom@hotmail.com. Read other articles by Floyd D..