The Brainerd Levee is certainly not a wilderness area. It is, in fact, in the midst of a busy urban neighborhood. On a given day, the casual walker encounters bird watchers, joggers, cyclists, dog walkers, and a whole variety of other people using the space. My adventures there all began at the Moore Road entrance. This portion of the Levee has a private school and developed neighborhood on one side, a commercial trucking depot on another, an airport on the third, and more pond and wetlands on the fourth. It is a remnant place, with a few wild creatures. Sometimes rarities appear there. It has, nevertheless, delighted me when the opportunity to spend a morning there has come my way, It is, in some sense, urban wildlife habitat.
When I decided to write the first of the two previously published articles, it was on a whim. I had invited two friends to go bird watching with me and we recorded the list of birds we sighted there. A long journal entry for that March 1 day, many years ago, became “A Walk on the Levee.” I submitted the essay as a feature article to Hellbender Press of Knoxville and it was published through a fortunate accident. A Real Estate developer planned a building near the levee, and the editors published my article about the birds and the habitat next to an editorial condemning the planned development. I actually had no political intent when I submitted the essay. I then joined the group resisting this development and “The Levee Revisited” resulted from my desire to assist them.
The third and final portion is a later addition. I like it, because it is just me enjoying the natural world. No politics, just relaxing days on the levee. One fall season I spent several days out at the levee and recorded my observations. The final essay, including the description of the Kingfisher, is perhaps my favorite part of the whole story. I hope you enjoy reading these essays as much as I enjoyed gathering the experiences that generated my words.