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Nature Reserve

 

The gate signing

what can and

cannot be done

Walking on

path rutted

shaped by many feet

Scraggly natives

Yellow strawflowers

Grey green shoulder

broken by embedded stone

Piercing red rosehips

Screaming noisy miner

birds signal invasion

Swinging head

back and forth

Kangaroos watching

waiting, then

fleeing from unknown

Arriving at summit

Grey clouds open

slivers of gold

above blue ridges

defining the end

     Sunset      Red Hill Nature Reserve                     Canberra Australia

 

Thinking of my brother Lon Hutchison.  His birthday is 22 June.  He would have been 62 years old.  He was hit by a bus and killed in Mazatlan Mexico 5 May 2014. 

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Rounding a bend

something shiny

glinting in the sun

a car

Intruder

in a forest walk

that should go on forever

Gum Tree 20002

 

White skeleton

of a gum tree

against green

deen deen deen

Bell birds

toll slow death

of the forest

 

Gum Trees 20005

A belt of fog

just below

the ridge

of the Brindabellas

Almost like mountains

 

************************

 

Pink stripes

of clouds

at dusk

seen through

black silhouettes

Trees in winter

Colorful Trees National Library Canberra Australia

Colorful Trees National Library Canberra Australia

Sometimes

the world is shrinking

focused on one person

then the every mood

of that person

effects you

like the wind swaying

the trees

 

Some trees are flexible

They sway and bend

Others stand strong

Tough

Substantial

Others let their leaves drop

swirling

dancing

in the wind

 

Multicolor Fall, Canberra, Australia

Multicolor Fall, Canberra, Australia

Which am I?

 

I would like to

let the leaves drop

let them swirl

dance in the wind

A multi-colored whirl

Or maybe

Sway with the wind

but gently naturally

be flexible

coming back to position

Or stand tall

tough and strong

unmoved

Or perhaps

All of the above

Fall Leaves, Canbera, Australia

Fall Leaves, Canberra, Australia

Distorted Tree, Langata, Nairobi, Kenya

Distorted Tree, Langata, Nairobi, Kenya

Distorted

hacked up

solitary trees

But still the birds come

Barbed Wire Langata Kenya

Barbed Wire Langata Kenya

Circles of barbed wire

anti -theft

atop the wall

But still the birds come

Apartment Langata Nairobi Kenya

Apartment Langata Nairobi Kenya

Apartment buildings

replace

native forest

But still the birds come

 

For how long?

 

Our Street 10947

What is happening in Nairobi, Kenya and other very fast growing expanding cities in East Africa and beyond?

The place where I stay, Langata, provides some clues… What was an urban forest, Ngong Forest, not so long ago, has been taken over by apartment buildings and large houses, filling up the land with cement, leaving no space for trees, gardens, parks, or children’s playgrounds.

Behind the apartment where I stay there is an undeveloped open space. No one is allowed to build there because of a natural gas pipeline underground.

The open space is used for parking cars, hanging clothes, raising chickens and sakuma wiki, a local staple, a green leafy vegetable.

Children play in the rubble, the dirt and grassy areas. I sometimes drag a folding chair outside, sit with a book and a glass of wine – just to be outside and watch the clouds.

Home Made church near our apartment building, Langata

Homemade church near our apartment building, Langata

Not far from our building is a homemade church, made of corrugated iron. On Sundays it fills up with people singing and praying, amplified by a generator.

Further down the road, at the end of the paved section is yet another homemade church – also of corrugated iron sheets but painted.

Church near the end of our street, Langata

Church near the end of our street, Langata

At the end of the road are two Maasai manyattas where people live traditionally, driving their cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys into the forest and the grassy areas next to the cemetery daily then bringing them back home to their enclosures for the night.

Sheep and goats coming back to the Maasai manyatta

Sheep and goats coming back to the Maasai manyatta

When I am bored and tired of computer-based life, I walk to the manyatta and play with the children. Yesterday we played Skip to My Lou… skipping together in a long line, singing the song slowly, pausing, then speeding up. Everyone laughed. One tiny boy started crying because he couldn’t keep up with us. So I took his hand and we went at his pace.

Manyatta next to Cherryville apartments, Langata

Manyatta next to Cherryville apartments, Langata

Sketch of the Manyatta from balcony of the apartment building

Sketch of the manyatta from balcony of the apartment building, Langata

 

Last week, dirt and rubble were brought in by huge trucks, then graded to make a road through the area that is still not developed.

Yesterday a team was surveying the road. Soon houses and apartment buildings will fill up all empty space.

And the remnants of Ngong Forest?

Women carrying wood, trees chopped down in Ngong Forest

Women carrying wood, trees chopped down in Ngong Forest

Disappearing daily as people from Kibera, the nearby urban slum, cut down trees to sell for firewood, hollowing out the forest from the inside out.

Ngong Forest going...going..

Ngong Forest going…going..

Soon Ngong Forest will be no more.

Pile of cut trees Ngong Forest

gone…. trees cut down in Ngong Forest

Soon the Maasai manyattas will be no more.

All will be large houses, apartment buildings, concrete and cement.

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