Some 40 miles southwest of St. Louis is the Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Shaw Nature Reserve, more than 2,400 acres of forest, prairie, woodlands, and trails. It was first utilized in the 1930s, when air pollution became so bad in the city of St. Louis that the Botanical Gardens moved endangered plants out to “the arboretum,” which is what St. Louisans still call the reserve.
On most days, it’s difficult to find a crowd at the reserve. One can walk the trails and perhaps pass one or two or perhaps as many as three people. Many times, I’ve walked the five-mile-round-trip river trail and not seen a single person or head a single man-made noise other than the sound of my feet on the gravel path. The trail ends at the Meramec River, and one can walk out on the gravel sand bars and simply watch the river flow.
The reserve is a kind of natural sanctuary. It is that idea of natural sanctuary that permeates the 64 poems of Courseby Athena Kildegaard.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Top photograph: the gravel bar on the Meramec River at the Shaw Nature Reserve.