A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 2

[Return to Author List, Vol 2 ]

Bruce Ross


Shad Island

I was kayaking west down the Mississquoi River to its mouth as it enters Lake Champlain. Situated in the mouth is Shad Island, one of the largest great blue heron breeding colonies in the Northeast. The spring river was full of muted purple lily pads, their bright yellow stems visible just below the water’s surface. Then the heron began to appear, singly, standing motionless in the river shallows, as tall as the rushes they stood against, until I got too close and they slowly lifted up and flew further upriver or inland toward the trees with graceful wing beats. The intense smell of rotting fish, the unmistakable sign that the rookery was near, began. The island’s dense tree growth prevented my seeing too far into the island, which was posted because of the nesting. I kayaked into Lake Champlain and across a field of lake grass in the shallows to the south and stopped in a little inviting cove to observe the heron. The huge birds were flying into the stands of high trees not far from shore and disappearing. In a moment I realized that this was the place I was looking for:

Shad Island:
my kayak gently rocks
in the shallows

[Return to Author List, Vol 2 ]


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