Hyde Park News
Memories by Harriegot itBuswell, Former Resident
...A Prairie Place
Prior to this - all those years of living in Iowa and then living ...elsewhere... I thought of Iowa and Greene County and Hyde Park as the home I came from. My identification of myself has always been that I come from Iowa. But this time it is different. This time I have the realization thrust on me that I come from the prairie. Never before this did I think of it in such manner. What changed this? What changed my thinking at this late date? The sunrise on an early May morning at Hyde Park.
The sun came rising on the sharp line of the prairie edge. There is no obstruction looking to the East from Hyde Park viewed from anywhere near the shelter house or much of the camping area. Where will it come...exactly ...I knew about where but not exactly ... the red glow begins to show the area...then a red spot answers the question ...exactly. And in less than five minutes the sun comes complete. At this point you can stare at it and it is huge...But as it rises it becomes more intense as the haze is left behind...it becomes smaller it seems and more intense. In fact as I avert my eyes a blue-green orb of an aftereffect stays in my vision; the complement of the sun. Compliments of the sun. I won’t be looking at the sun directly again, not this day. But maybe again tomorrow - just at sunrise. What a majestic sunrise!
The sunrises and sunsets are beautiful where we live in Kentucky...because of the horseshoe bend on the Ohio River where we live the sun both comes up and goes down over the river. But it has to negotiate hills and trees both east and west there. Here...it comes up ...breaking out over the edge of the prairie, truly breaking out over the horizon....watching it rise is watching the world turn. For a time during the rise it seems as if we are rushing to meet the sun at 1,000 miles per hour. Well, that is partly true. With the earth roughly 24,000 miles around turning once a day ...it is spinning here on the surface at 1,000 miles per hour. The sunsets at Hyde Park can be beautiful too, but much of that is due the condition of the sky. To the West anywhere you may be in Hyde Park, the sunset will be involved with trees in the landscape much as with the trees and hills where we live in Kentucky. But the sunrise, Oh! The sun rising up from a razor sharp line of horizon to the East. The line between sky and earth looking East cuts the distant scene into two clear distinctions. The coming of the sun bulges and breaks that line so dramatically it is like watching a special effects film; hard to believe it is even true. Such as it is. Such is ...Hyde Park!
Camping here is safe. Well, it is more than safe. Of course, having grown up here I feel so safe; protected by the familiar trees, the birds, and the animals of this place. Protected by the quiet of this place. Protected by the six pairs of eyes looking at me this morning from the clearing edge. Those beautiful large deer eyes that can see in the dark so much better than we can. And then those watchers are gone...the clearing left to an early morning rabbit casually nibbling here and there. That is safe feeling. Almost as if the wildlife are in charge of night safety.
Quiet. This night unbelievably quiet. And safe. Once again the quiet (oh, just before dark there was the distant sound of a jet going over...a tiny and distant link to the rush and crush of modernity). The quiet is not a constant. At certain times of the day there is the sound of crickets and tree frogs and all of the bird songs, well, at certain times there is a lot to hear ...here. But at other times it gets quiet. Really quiet. As if the whole world is at rest.
The crows are present and watching too. Quietly they move from one tree to another to get a better view, to keep watch. They, loud and raucous when they want to be, can be a part of the background when they so choose slipping from tree to tree, not even arousing a chase or clatter from the little birds. Not even from the blue jays (whose job it seems always to be to raise the alarm).
In Kentucky we see Eastern Towhees, Eastern Meadowlarks and Eastern Wrens. Here there are Jenny Wrens and Western Meadowlarks with their full-throated song. “Craziness will kill you” it seems the meadowlarks say, while in the southeast it is the abbreviated song that sounds more like “will kill you”. And in the south the Eastern Wren seems to occupy the niche of the Jenny Wren. It’s song too doesn’t seem as melodious as the Jenny.
But there are no Spatchies! As I walk around and observe, I see no English Sparrows sometimes called just “Spatchies”. They are actually quite pretty and have a pleasant and somewhat melodious call and song. Gosh, it seemed they are everywhere. They are at the parking lot at the store busy picking up tidbits from the macadam and picking bugs out of grills of the cars parked there. They are town birds, they sure are city birds, and are present at farmsteads. And they used to be plentiful here at this place. But I have seen none! Bank Swallows and Barn swallows, Indigo Buntings, Towhees, Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, Nuthatches, Finches, and a host of others. But no English Sparrows have I seen here now. Do they depend on people that much?
Back to the feeling that this is a safe place. Not only those surroundings and animals and location making it a safe place but more. There is the campground host. The campground host is a retired deputy sheriff coming from a host of law enforcement folks - claiming four generations of law enforcement in that family. Now I tell you that is safe!
Courtesy Scranton Journal