Song of the Nature Wander Lust

By Dave Hanks

Once there lived a man and woman - Lived upon a sagebrush desert - A desert now plowed into farmland - Lived a half mile from a river - A mighty force across that desert - Giving water to land and wildlife.

The land was peopled, with old and young ones- All putting demands upon that river. Some wanted economy, but others wildlife - Wanted nature pure and simple - Wanted the creatures to continue always. But the entrepreneurs, outnumbered the others- Raised their voices in government chambers - And the wild things were diminished - Crowded into obscure places.

But that man and woman loved them - Sought them out in every corner - Searched at every free-time moment - Watched for them at every instance. Pursued with notebook and with "glasses" - Pursued with tripod and with camera - Pursued to satisfy with wanderings - A lust that's fed by inner feelings - A longing, ever wanting - To taste just one more special moment - Of those inner feelings sated - Stimulated by, a wanderlust.

Searching went they ever onward - Onward in their truck and camper - Onward on the diverse byways - Graveled road or well paved highways. Followed the mighty river backward - To the headwaters of it's origins. Sought them in the hills or lowlands - Sought them in the marsh or brushland - Sought them in every habitat available - Whether close, or far off.

Sought the terrible, Ursus arctos - Looking for that one respected - One that's now so scarce and numbered - In remote, secluded pockets. Sought the canine in every instance - Varied carnivore of coats and colors. Searched for Lupis, Latranus, Fulva - Looked for those hunters, so beleaguered.

Always searching, always hunting - From the sunrise in the morning - To the setting sun in evening. Alert to birdsong in the meadow - Of the Rail, the Blackbird, Heron; Of the Quail, the Grouse, or Pheasant. Hunted o'er the willowed bottoms - Hoping to surprise the big one - One with antlers wide and palmate - Stepping through the squishy bogland - Always King and never challenged.

Climbed upon the rising mountains - Hillsides covered with Pine and Aspen - Trees for Woodpecker and for Tree Squirrel. Sat upon the rocks at topside - Tasted the wind and smelled the flowers - Watched the Ground Squirrel in his routine - Gathering in the buds and blossoms. Pondered there the ways of nature - As they watched the scurrying Pika - Cheeks so full of summer foliage - Stuffing grass in, depressions rocky - Making little haystacks in them - Food to survive the coming winter.

But it was the majestic Bighorn - That made them climb up to the summit. Panting hard as they struggled upward - Hurrying along in anticipation - To see that ungulate of oft told legend. Looked at horns so curled and massive - Quickening the heart and the emotions - Emotions already stirred by others - Creatures observed along the pathway. Hawk and Falcon ride the updrafts - Porcupine and Nutcracker invade the Pine trees - Chickadee and Towhee scour the bushes - Scratch the leaf litter for errant insects. Across the canyon, they saw a whiteness - White ghosts along the cliffsides - Agile ones who traverse the rockslides - Adding completeness to that setting.

Along the streams so crisp and winding - The lifeblood from the forest proper - Lifeblood for the large or small there. Lifeblood for the chunky Beaver - Furry one with tail so flat - Engineer and molder of the riparian sector. His pools find use by Duck and Goose - To wile away the many hours - So wary in their rest and feedings - Always alert to the presence - Of the man and woman, in their searchings.

In the forest dark and mystic - Stepping along the shaded pathways - Listened to the many voices - Voices projected through tree and shrubbery. Heard the Sparrow in melodious concert - Heard the trill of the Dark-Eyed Junco - Heard the whistling of the Titmouse. Saw Black Bear scat, fresh and steaming - It's mist rising in the early morning - Giving evidence of a beast around them - One so wary of being discovered. But every now and then, the pathway - Opened into forest clearingss. Opened up to sudden vistas - Of other animals not so wary. Saw the Grosbeaks of brilliant colors - The soft red and silver of the Pine one - Saw the Black-Headed, and the Evening - One of orange and black/white 'mingled - The other's burn't yellow, just as compelling. Saw the Elk and the burly Bison - Large ones intent about their feeding. Ones that add tranquility to the vision - Vision of the surrounding landscapes - Perfect beauty by the Creator: God our Father, kind and giving - Of those great treasures to his children.

Not to forget, drylands and deserts - Incomplete would be their travels - Without searching those familiar landforms - Juniper tree and Tall Sage kingdoms. Mule Deer and Pronghorn did abide there - Running between each bush and flower - Scattered o'er the arid country. Ran between the mounds of Badgers - A fierce mustelid - The master digger - Natural selector of those rodents - That abound so freely, in great number. Many birds added song and color - To complete the mystique of that picture.

What was the purpose of those wanderings? Wanderings made in all conditions: Whether blizzard or the heat of summer - Or fled the tornado of the heartlands - And braved the rainstorms in every sector. Man and woman searched the continent - Searched the states, of the Eagle - Searched the vast land, of the Maple. Always searching to build those memoirs - That would last their lifetime over - And to satisfy that hunger - For nature, and to always wander.