Tree Shadows

Shadows and Footprints

As a shadow moves it leaves little behind except a slightly cooler temperature that lasts briefly, but it will be back.

I enter Chipilly Woods looking for trees and finding their sharp shadows crossing the trail. I see the muddied path ahead from recent spring rains and so I turn back. I don’t mind the wetness but by returning now I would leave no more than a faint footprint behind.

footprints on the path
water filters through spring soil
shadows turn with day


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Toni Spencer with the theme of “The Shadow Knows”.
Linked also to NaPoWriMo2017 Day 3. My Day 2 poem was a limerick posted yesterday on Madeleine Begun Kane’s Limerick-Off.
Photo: “Shadows and Footprints” by the author.

Author: Frank Hubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

53 thoughts on “Tree Shadows”

  1. Yes! Step lightly on the earth. I don’t blame you one bit. I like the photo of the shadows of the trees. And the haiku is excellent. I like that the shadow leaves but a faint cool spot where it has touched. I love that delicate touching.

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    1. Thanks! The trail is used by bicyclists as they go through the forest preserves. I didn’t want to make it any rougher than it was with my dried footprints later in the spring.

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      1. Frank, your sensitivity to so many things that most of us perhaps never think of is an inspiration to me. Thank you so much for sharing it!

        I used to spend much more time than I do now in nature. For example: Once, for a period of a few months, I almost never missed an evening spending two or three hours watching the day turn into night. I recall that time as a period during which I became much more sensitive to both nature and the people in my life. I’ve wondered whether there was a connection between spending so much in nature and becoming so much more sensitive to people?

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      2. Thanks, Paul! I generally walk a lot, sometimes hours at a time if I am free. I don’t know if there is a connection or not. Being in nature might be a way to avoid people. It might have more to do with the posture one uses when one walks (or sits at a computer). The back should be straight, shoulders back, and knees low for better breathing. I’m getting these ideas from Will Johnson’s “The Posture of Meditation”, and a yoga teacher who confirms it, but I also think they work when I put them into practice to make what I do more enjoyable. Hopefully that leads to more sensitivity to others.

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  2. I also walked during the weekend so I can relate to the mud from the rain and the bare trees making shadows on path. Enjoyed this one Frank and good luck on your April writing !

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    1. Thanks, Grace! It occurred to me if I count the limericks as poems I am already writing about five poems a week anyway. More than I would have done without these prompts. So getting up to seven a week for April should not be a problem.

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  3. Naming the woods makes this haibun so intimate. That was a nice touch! Once things have a name, everything changes. (Hmmmm… there’s a poem in that notion skittering around in my head…hmmm) 🙂

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    1. The name does make it personal. I do think of it by name. There are other trails which are paved in the forest preserve so I am not out much by waiting a few weeks until this one gets drier. Best wishes with that skittering poem!

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    1. If I were on a beach I would do that. I like the footprints in the sand and making sand castles. On these dirt wood trails the path becomes uneven for people (including myself when I return) later in the season. Thanks, Cara!

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  4. such mindful observations about the way the shadows turn with time, thoughts running deeper than the words they leave behind. love the words – “I would leave no more than a faint footprint behind.” – showing gentleness and care

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  5. You wrote a grand haibun, boyo–very nice; both metaphoric & literal–no need for rhymes with this form (*my favorite these days). Forests in parks, with heavy foot traffic, must be respected, but the forests along logging roads & animals trails can handle the few feet that venture there.

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    1. I used to walk an old logging road in Maine when I lived there. There was ledge coming out of the ground and so it was slippery, but I wasn’t worried about footsteps there and I probably didn’t need to be. These forest preserve trails need to be maintained. That logging road was working its way back into being forest. Thanks!

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    1. I may go by that woods this afternoon. It will probably still be too wet to take the trail, but there are other places to walk. It is also not fun to walk in mud. Thanks, Ava!

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