dVerse Haibun Monday and earthweal weekly challenge — (river) bed’s graveyard

Algae in a water sample from the St. Croix River, magnified about 200x.
(Photo by Aiden T., student from Lee & Rose Warner Nature Center)

Just as a forest provides a specialized ecosystem that includes shelter for its inhabitants along the food chain, so too does a river. Having grown up and lived my life along them and other bodies and circuits of fresh water, they all represent symbols of life, movement, and shelter.

Although the bigger life forms get the most notice, those who are intimate with Mother Gaia’s circulatory and lymphatic systems know that the critters begin at a much smaller level. Years ago, during a field lab for biology, we took our nets and scooped up mud in a pond. We found dragonfly and caddis fly larvae and even a fresh water sponge. We took our test tubes of water back to the lab and put drops of it onto microscope slides. Life wiggled and whirled in it.

Are these curious whirligigs designed for our entertainment? Far from it; they are the tiniest links in the food chain, the links upon which the rest build upon. When the shelter of a river, a pond, a creek, a lake, dries up, so does the network of life collapse within and around it. Drinking the water and using it for industry, tourism, or other utilitarian purposes – for good or ill — for non-aquatic life forms is what the self-perceived apex predator of the global food chain focuses on, dishonoring all else.

Rain plops bed’s graveyard
dead salmon stink on delta
flies work as dark falls.

Important note: After writing this I went out to find more info on salmon and came across this very informative piece written by Zachariah Hughes in September of last year: “Amid an Unprecedented Collapse in Alaska Yukon River Salmon, No One Can Say for Certain Why There Are So Few Fish.” Please take a few minutes to read it here.

An excerpt that speaks to my haibun:

If salmon disappear, so do all the environmental benefits they confer on the local ecology. On a river system the size of the Yukon, those impacts will be massive, not only for humans and the other apex predators that survive off their meat, but for the health of the river itself. As their spawned out carcasses decompose, salmon seed all the sloughs, streams, creeks, ponds and puddles of the drainage system with the nutrients they spent years gathering from the ocean. Unlike hatchery fish, which return to the lone location of their release, wild stocks work their way into far more of the winding contours feeding the main river.

Mish is today’s host of dVerse’ Haibun Monday. Mish says:
Today, I’d like you to incorporate the theme of “shelter” into your haibun. If you are new to the form, a haibun is made up of no more than three tight paragraphs that are non-fiction/auto- biographical and usually written in present tense. The prose is followed by a haiku that makes reference to a season with an image of nature. Often the haiku adds another depth or layer to the prose.

I took a link from a submission from last week’s earthweal challenge and wrote to it, not realizing that challenge had ended and Mr. Linky expired.  I’m writing to last week’s challenge but linking up to this week’s challenge Mr. Linky (hope that is ok, Brendan??)  Last week, Brendan said:
For [last] week’s challenge, write something about rivers, their symbolic complexity, their vanishing and what depositions now coming to view tell us about what waters giveth and taketh away.

56 Comments Add yours

  1. In ecology every specie shelter the other in a weave that is too complicated to understand until it is too late.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      It’s like by the time you feel thirsty you’re already dehydrated. Mother Gaia is in distress 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Insightful haibun Lisa. Many times I find myself so thankful I am near the top. I cannot imagine knowing I am here only to feed someone else. Although, I do believe I am, on another level. Great post Lisa!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. msjadeli says:

        Thank you very much, Mary, for your thoughtful comment. If there were no humans on earth, I would like to be a tree. Maybe at some point in the future, I’ll get my wish.

        Like

        1. Joe March wished she was a horse before she knew she was a writer.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. msjadeli says:

            Not sure who Joe March is, but I’m sure there are a few of us out there. Now that I know what being a human is, I would prefer being a tree in a place with no humans.

            Like

            1. Little Women. Louisa May Alcott.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. msjadeli says:

                So she’s a fictional character. What a nice touch.

                Like

  2. merrildsmith says:

    Everything is interconnected. Many times we don’t realize it until it’s too late. Thank you for the important reminder, Lisa!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Merril, and you’re welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. merrildsmith says:

        Thanks and you’re welcome, too, Lisa. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. kim881 says:

    A fascinating haibun, Lisa, and I like the image that illustrates it and helps me to picture the river ecosystem, particularly as I live by the Norfolk Broads. When I was at school, I loved pond dipping and looking at life under a microscope.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kim, thank you and geeked you’ve had the pond lab experience also.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Great documentary titled Hooked that’s totally worth checking out to learn more about aquatic ecosystems and humans’ interference with them. Warning – may make you cry or rage!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Gillena Cox says:

    SO MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE. hUMBLE BOW TO OUR SCIENTISTS.

    Much 💖 love

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Gillena, the increase in scientists and their study of nature is one of the reasons why I wish all higher education would be free. We need the data to support the creation of non-destroying ways of living.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous says:

    So apt and touching. We all want to save the forests, forgetting the ponds and even mud puddles. Life, like the universe, can be complex beyond our attempts at understanding them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      So true. We’ve been blessed with a homeostatic, self-regulating shelter called Earth. Why we have to f**k with it continues to mystify, pain, and enrage me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mish says:

    It is the tiniest beings of nature that have always intrigued me as much as why others can just walk by without a glance. We must start here and it is heartbreaking to see how the selfishness of society and “progress” continues to jeopardize our world as we’ve known it. It seems it takes material gains to be lost before we give a hoot. I admire you for using the haibun as a vessel of information on this topic, so well presented.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Well-said, Mish. Brendan is to blame for the “vessel of information” thank you ❤

      Like

  7. Said so well LiSA.. NICE JOB!
    💖💖👏👏👏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Cindy!

      Like

  8. Carol anne says:

    Nice haibun Li! I enjoyed it very much! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Carole Anne!

      Like

  9. Rob Kistner says:

    I love where you went with his Lisa! A fascinating and wonderful bit of writing. Such a world of life in a drop of water. Great share my friend. 👍🏼🙂✌🏼❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Rob thank you very much ❤

      Like

  10. Nitin Lalit says:

    It’s definitely a tragic state of affairs. But with commercialism, materialism and other madness growing, things seem to be getting worse. A wonderful haibun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Nitin, I believe you’re right. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Barbara S says:

    thank you for hosting Mish and the subject, close to my heart. I could go on…

    Like

  12. memadtwo says:

    The largest are dependent on the smallest. A good reminder that every part of the ecosystem provides shelter for life. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kerfe, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. rothpoetry says:

    Very well done, Lisa… Shelter is more than just a roof over out heads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Dwight, thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rothpoetry says:

        You are welcome, Lisa!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Sadje says:

    We are a great threat to the ecosystem. Humans need to reform their ways.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. earthweal says:

    The closer we examine the world’s great presences (like rivers), the less we see we are masters of them. Great look into the tiny magnitudes which master us in the end (or their end)… Brendan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Brendan the arrogance of humans will be our ending. We will be insisting on our supremacy as we gasp our last.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. seanatbogie says:

    You speak truth Lisa. There is so much to conserve.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I wish it wasn’t true, Sean. I have been reading about the development of desalinating salt water. Why every nation that can isn’t investing in it is a mystery to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. K.Hartless says:

    Such a vivid haibun that brings attention to a tragedy. Thank you, Lisa. The haiku on the end is evokes my sympathy and senses.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      K, thank you for reading. I think that when Jesus said, “Forgive them, father for they know not what they do,” it was applicable to the situation. What makes what we do unforgivable today is that we know what we are doing and feel no urgency to stop.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Sherry Marr says:

    A very informative haibun. Such important information. Our dependence on fresh water will soon become headline news, I’m afraid. We have been blessed with such generous supplies, it is hard to fathom how badly we have cared for our lakes and rivers. Here on the West Coast of Canada, the salmon are decreasing, to the consternation of those who depend on it – not only humans but whales and wolves and bears. Sigh. It is like watching a movie coming to a bad end, hoping a hero will arrive in time to turn the tide. None in sight, I’m afraid.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Sherry, Enbridge (from Canada) is doing their best to build another huge oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. WHY?! would anyone OK threatening the largest supply of fresh water on earth with an oil pipeline operated by a company with a horrible record. Even if the company had an impeccable record, the Great Lakes are well-known for giant storms that can tear that pipeline open.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I fear the world as we know it is on the brink of ecological destruction. Your haibun illustrates this horror in great detail.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I wish it wasn’t so 😦 Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know. Me too. All we have is hope. ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

  20. subversopus says:

    Stark reality…and very discouraging to see the salmon populations dwindle! Very nice write, thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Tigress thank you very much. If you read Brendan’s poem for today you’ll see the attack on salmon has been going on for a long time 😦

      Liked by 2 people

  21. Truedessa says:

    Everything is connective and you conveyed that wonderfully. I had read that about the salmon. I feel the earth is changing quickly and time is running out to
    save some species. Who will shelter us in the end?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      With what’s been happening I think it’s pretty clear Mother Gaia is sick of scratching us fleas and will be either frying us or drowning us pretty soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. When the shelter of a river, a pond, a creek, a lake, dries up, so does the network of life collapse within and around it… the self-perceived apex predator… dishonoring all else.

    This is spot on and devastating 😦

    ~David

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, David. It is! It’s an ongoing shock to the system — hers and ours.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Thought provoking poem and seems a lot of river distress everywhere. Our underground rivers in the mountains are running lower but still some springs emerging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      You’re right, it’s global. Happy you have some springs still emerging ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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