Losing the Wekiwa

by Willow Rose

Swamp still and stagnant,
a sudden ebb to its flow;
No shimmering in the sunlight,
just moving turgid and slow.
Our last time at the cabin,
primitive and unseen;
like the other cabin owners
we had painted it green,
kept the river clean and blended in.
Ours was the best of all I thought.
The reason I forgave the man
my daughter and I called “Mad Professor.”
He was patient and kind at the river;
and as we listened to the owl at night
and shined gators whose red ember eyes
surfaced amongst a blanket of lily pads;
there were so many in the water we swam in –
we were just a little happier in that quaint place;
I learned dainty white flowers were poison oak
and we went without showers and smelled like
wood smoke and he; he was a little less drunk.

Now the nocturnal symphony of gator-call, cricket-wing
hoot owl and cicada, along with the whip-or-will
was still. The cacophony of a bulldozer, sounding
far, then closer was above the rhythms of nature, sleepless
even at midnight; fueled by all that was green,
whether from deep pockets or a tender sapling.
The muddy river bank where raccoons; deer; possum
and sometimes panther or bear left their calling cards
for us to figure out, well, they were gone now
anyway. Soon the forest floor would be covered
with tile and grout. I sat on the porch remembering —
the first night and now and the six years in between.

All wild nature had fled its own rape. No shy turtles
sunning on algae-veined rocks; Shell Island where arrow-heads
and old pottery could be found; I didn’t want to know
if they razed it to the ground. Leaving, we saw what
the nights work was; gates to surround an exclusive enclave.
Whimsically named after what they didn’t bother to save.
“Deer Run;” “Riverbank Estates;” “Eagle Eyre;” and worse.
Only the wealthy could ever afford
the “Pristine, riverfront property.”
They would think themselves the privileged ones;
Enjoying concrete, glass, and the occasional tree.
Never knowing the real Wekiwa where we shined gators
and watched eagles; it belonged to no one,
it was the best when free.

© by Willow Rose 2012

3 thoughts on “Losing the Wekiwa by Willow Rose

  1. Humans being….like Willows in the wind….your poetry fills and completes….Willow becomes the wind….your vision flies and screams like the great bird of compassion….across the open skies….Willow struck by lightening heaved apart….rain filling the the wound of tears….into sacred waters flowing straight through to every Willow root….Willow spirit over flowing….with every leaf and sprout….inhaling….and then exhaling again….oxygen….Willow….by nature….by heart….by spirit….ever giving….ever love

    Namaste my dearest friend~

    Willow by any other name is still as sweet as any rose

    • Thank you Portia; this is a true story about a pristine river feeding Florida’s wetlands and a habitat for so many types of wildlife; as well as a week-end getaway; it is sad what greed can do.  “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”


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