Descent to Wroclaw

I don’t like getting to and from airports, the hanging around, the waiting in queues and the scrutiny of airport officials, but I do enjoy flying. I like switching off and ignoring other passengers, immersing myself in a book with nothing else to distract me – no telephone or door to answer, no appointments to worry about.  For a couple of hours or so it’s just me and the book, until the descent, my favourite part of a flight. I love to look out of the window at cloud formations and the first signs of foreign landscapes, such as a mountain peeking through the strata or sun glinting off windows.

On a recent trip, as the plane descended, I wasn’t disappointed by the gorgeous geometry of Polish fields laid out like art nouveau patchworks, mushrooming here and there with houses and villages, and a river worming its way across the landscape towards lumps of mountains, molten metal in the distance. The plane finally hurtled along a runway flanked with lines of tall, black trees dotted with giant balls, which I thought at first were crows nests. As other passengers shifted in their seats, retrieved jackets and bags long before the seat-belt light was extinguished, I returned to my book, M Train by Patti Smith, to the following coincidence of a sentence: ‘Plane trees with pom-poms, dried brown seed pods, swinging ghosts of Christmas ornaments.’ Later, as we walked through the city, we saw more of these trees. I have looked them up and discovered that they are not plane trees but haven’t been able to identify them as yet.

trees flank the runway
bony charcoal cheerleaders
greeting arrivals

Kim M. Russell, 2016


Photograph taken by David Russell

My response to dVerse Poetics Pub Haibun Monday – Free for All

The prompt this week is from Toni, a freebie, on any subject we like except:  it must be non-fiction, must have happened directly to us and it must be in the classic form, with one or two paragraphs and one nature based haiku. 

44 thoughts on “Descent to Wroclaw

  1. That was so good Kim…..that period on a long flight where there is just you and book is so good interrupted I have found by airline staff wanting to feed you…..but it was good to share your journey…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely not horse chestnuts, Brian – conkers fit in your hand. The globes I saw were made of leaves and bigger than my head – maybe even twice the size. Lime/linden trees don’t seem to have them either. Thanks for the suggestions. I’m stumped but I’ll keep looking!


  2. SMiLes..
    my FriEnd..
    never done a
    plane but a monthly
    tour bus to casinos while
    my wife plays with one armed
    bandits just
    with free
    buckS hehe..
    and i dance
    the beaches
    free and focus
    is alWays better
    oN board bus
    wiTh just
    A hum of diesel
    MoVinG art oF words plUs..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to admit, I prefer trains journeys – more room to move and you can see more out of the window! I also like the sound of a train – these days not quite so musical as the old cllickety-clack – but still soothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Achkkkk! I fly and I am so nervous now. Used to not be so. I was right there, Kim, with your looking out the window. I, too…love the appearing landscape, the quilt patch fields….such lovely descriptions!!!

    Enjoyed this very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Toni! Do you know, I’ve looked up so many trees and still can’t find anything like the ones I saw. The first time I noticed them was when we landed and I honestly thought they were covered in nests! But then, when we were walking around the city, I saw them pretty much everywhere; close up you could see they were globes of dried leaves. I checked out linden/lime trees but can’t see those balls anywhere! I even checked out plane trees, thanks to Patti Smith, but those seed pods are smaller, more like big conkers, so Frank’s suggestion of horse chestnut goes out the window too. I’m on a mission to find those trees!


      1. Brian has come up with the answer – it’s mistletoe! I checked it out and it seems that mistletoe is the answer. It looks different to the plant that I know ! I agree that roasted chestnuts would be a treat, especially now it’s got so icy here! 🙂


  4. I think this haibun was just waiting to happen! I took many flights to see my husband(b/f at the time) and I always liked the window view of clouds, mountains and strange “crop circles”. I love how your book became mysteriously woven into the scene of your descent.

    Liked by 1 person

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