A Stroll in the Park with Luce

Haibun, Haiku, Travel Writing

Photo by Susan Joy Clark, bridge in Verona Park, Verona, NJ

I want to take you on a virtual walk with me, inspired by Restless Jo’s Monday Walk, with a little haibun (Japanese poetic prose,) haiku, park photography and a little down-to-earth information about our experience.

On Saturday, I walked with a new doggy client, Luce (pronounced Loochay,) a handsome dog, a Brittany spaniel and dachshund mix. We walked through Verona Park in Verona, New Jersey, and as it was a nice day, the park was busy with people doing everything possible to do in the park: fishing, cycling, walking dogs, playing tennis, paddleboating and using the playground and the exercise stations around the walking path.

Luce, (pronounced Loo-chay,) a Brittany spaniel and dachshund mix


We traipse along the paved path, Luce moving ahead of me, waving his tail like a feathery fan. We pull to the water’s edge where the sun glints against the smooth surface. The blurred reflection of the trees in the water resembles an impressionistic painting. A central fountain shoots its spray, creating a relaxing soundtrack, while distant swanboats glide through the pond.

Other swans dock at the shore, awaiting passengers, their beaks face to face, creating a heart in the negative space between them.

Intense pink dianthus greet us, lifting their frill-framed faces to the sun.

The shadows of the trees create lacy patterns on the wide stone path bordering the lake while a paddleboat floats under the arch of a stone bridge.

A cluster of irises grow at the water’s edge, their yellow teardrop petals drooping gracefully.

A weeping willow’s tendril-like branches sweep the water’s surface. They hang like a fairy maiden’s hair prepared for a wash. Its branches majestically arch and curl above the reflective water.

Luce, though placid, is drawn to the sight and smell of two ducks in the water.


A green-headed mallard

and his mate float together,

on a man-made raft.

© 2021 Susan Joy Clark


Luce and I had some refreshment at the Snack Shack at the boathouse after our walk. I had forgotten to bring water or a dog bowl, and as I was too distracted to notice the signs forbidding dogs on the dock, I carried Luce over to the Snack Shack order window. I bought a drink for myself and a bottled water and asked if they could give me a bowl for the dog. The kind employee at the window alerted me to the "no dogs" rule but provided a bowl for me. I thought they might have a disposable one, but he gave me a melamine plastic one. We sat at a nearby lakeside bench to refresh ourselves, but I didn't break the rules again in order to return the bowl, so I hope that they were able to retrieve it from where I left it. I appreciate the kindness of that employee. 

Hiking Haibun and Haiku

Today, after we’ve had some rain, I took a walk in Mills Reservation in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, inspired by Restless Jo’s Monday Walk. I am just discovering the Japanese haibun form of poetic prose, and it seems to fit perfectly with hiking explorations, my desire to exercise and blog. I used to go on solo hikes with a book of poetry in my backpack, and this time, I went with a notebook, pen and phone camera. (This is not the haibun, just a more straightforward introduction.) 🙂


The wet earth squelches beneath my feet as I walk. Birds greet each other with song, twitters and squawks as I walk beneath the trees, filtering sunlight. Tall, slender trees tower above me, the sun creating interesting patterns of chiaroscuro among their leaves. For a few moments, I sit, pen in hand, on a damp stone near the stream. The active water gurgles as it flows, and the air smells sweet and earthy.

I rise and continue along the path. The hollow-sounding tattoo of a woodpecker echoes through the forest. Nervous blackbirds scatter and take flight.

The ground is so wet in places that my gait is strange, as I stretch my foot across to a flat rock or a drier spot. When I reach a place where water runs across the path like a stream, I hop across on stones.

Fallen trees abound, the shapes of their branches weaving a tangled design.

Some are overgrown with moss or lichen or climbing plants. Even before I approach a fallen pine, I detect its aroma in the air.

Trees see their reflection in the still water, while, across the path, water trickles and falls over branches and stones, a waterfall in miniature.

Geese communicate,

staccato sonorous blats

piercing the air.

© 2021 Susan Joy Clark