From July 2010 to December 2013, the two years following Mark’s stroke and brain surgery, he struggled to regain lost cognitive and physical ground. The hemorrhage occurred in the back of the right hemisphere of the cerebral cortex in an area of the brain that supports eyesight. During the stroke he lost more than half of his field of vision. On the day we figured out that something momentous had occurred and I rushed him to the hospital, he cocked his head to his left side, like a bird, to see the doctor and nurses. We caught the stroke too late so some of the vision loss became permanent. The change in his vision disturbed him most at night when the house turned foreign. Every little object on the floor or crease in a rug transformed into a confusing and dangerous obstacle. Continue reading The year of the fox by Patricia Karamesines
After a slow start to Wilderness Interface Zone’s Love of Nature Nature of Love Month, we’re opening our LONNOL haiku chain. It’s our hope that readers will join in this winter and post-Valentine’s Day celebration of the logic of the heart harnessed with images of nature’s splendors and subtleties.
A haiku is a classical Japanese poetical form, usually 17 syllables all in a single line in Japanese, but there are longer and shorter forms. In English, haiku often take the form of one short line of 5 syllables, a long line of 7 syllables, and a short line of 5 syllables, but there are many ways–all versions are welcome here.
There’s no deadline for this activity and the only requirement is that you focus your feeling in a nature-oriented haiku. You can link your haiku to an image in a preceding one or simply forge a link out of new images altogether. The chain runs as long as participants carry it along.
Traditionally considered a mindfulness practice, writing haiku brings perception and language together in a splash of imagery and aperçu. Can you distill you deepest feelings and sheerest insights to 17 syllables? Give it a go.
Here is my opening LONNOL haiku:
From plot twists in sea,
shore, savanna, city, this
departure, this love.
As I mentioned in my Facebook posts about the book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (published in 1976) is a wild ride, not at all for everyone. It could especially prove problematic for those espousing religious belief. Or, indeed, belief in the veracity of science. Or in any kind of certainty at all. Furthermore, at times, Origin goes speculative to what for some will be intolerable degrees, and Jaynes’s writing style can turn florid and irritating. I was in it for the idea that the human brain and the consciousness it houses have changed radically since early periods of civilization, an idea that bravely contradicts common belief that human consciousness bloomed suddenly full-flowered upon early man. Continue reading Review: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes
While I’ll take life in any season, the transition from summer to fall is bumpy for me. This year, the melancholy I often feel during these pre-winter months has been accented by various family crises. Still, as the song goes, How can I keep from singing? Continue reading Autumn 2014 haiku chain by Patricia K.
Polar fleece. One of the best. Inventions. Ever.
My admiration for this virtuous fabric prompted me to do a bit of research on it. On Wikipedia, I came across this: “Aaron Feuerstein [inventor] intentionally declined to patent polar fleece, allowing the material to be produced cheaply and widely by many vendors, leading to the material’s quick and wide acceptance.”
What a lovely man for doing this for us.
Until recently, my polar fleece jacket has been out of commission, in need of repair. I’ve been wearing an uncomfortable coat—the shell, actually, from my husband’s coat—made of polyester. The coat is much bigger, heavier, and longer than my fleece jacket but nowhere near as warm. Continue reading Field Notes #13 : Spider in the hand of a goodly snow
Glancing at Belle, I can tell she needs water, and soon. I lead her away from the beaver ponds before she’s tempted beyond her ability to resist to drink from its giardia-laced teapots. I hurry her to the shade of a big juniper, another of my stops, and sit down in the dirt beneath a broken branch that hangs across the trail. Obviously, Belle needs more water than I can provide by cupping my hand. I relent and pour her a drink in the canteen lid. She laps four or five lids full then lies down in the shade without my prompting, her shoulder pressing against my knee. She pants rapidly but seems to have gotten enough to drink, refusing another offered lid.
Looking around inside the juniper’s shadow, I notice a single penstemon blossom, looking like a wind sock on a pole, glowing red against the litter. Its color leaps to the eye from a backdrop of live blue-green and dead brown juniper stubble; last year’s curled, tawny oak leaves; green wisps of grass growing in a clump; spider webs clouded with dirt and other debris; and round, purplish-blue juniper berries dropped into grey-toned soil speckled with blacker grains, probably of decayed organic material. From somewhere up-canyon, a canyon wren’s laugh pipes its downward-falling scale. Continue reading Field Notes #12: Who Has Seen the Wind? (Pt.3) by Patricia Karamesines
The orchard offered fruit,
And I did eat.
The field imparted grain,
And I did graze.
The farm gave up the calf,
And I consumed.
Her mother furnished milk
To quench my thirst.
The market tendered goods
Both fair and fine,
To tempt my tongue
And fill my eyes and ears
With vague desires.
The bending world laid bait,
And I did eat.
Jonathon has taught literature on two continents, and has read, written, and conversed about it on three. He has published poetry, fiction, and reviews in Dialogue, Sunstone, Victorian Violet Press, Gangway Magazine, Mormon Artist, Mormon Midrashim, Mormon Review, Switchback, and WIZ, and was anthologized in Tyler Chadwick’s (Ed.) Fire in the Pasture.
Illustrating painting: Pieter Cornelisz van Rijck (1558?1628), Still Life with Two Figures (1622). Oil on canvas (123.8 cm × 148.6 cm).
He was the stream and she the underbrush,
The rain that fell upon his upturned face.
She was the shadowed glade in evening’s hush
That, blotting out the sun, absorbed its grace.
She was the sea, and he the wavering shore—
The harvest moon that hung above her door.
A thousand stars crowded to hold one thought
When similes, comparisons were all
That she was left with after she was taught
That streams dry up, butt up against a wall
Where tangled roots are tripped upon in haste.
Sweet woodruff, poison ivy, interlaced.
For more from Sally Cook, and a bio, go here.
The painting, “White Garden, Emily Dickinson,” was created by the poet while a Wilbur Fellow in 1986.
We are the Day Society:
See how we skirt surefooted as goats
the Crevasse of Desire.
God is in the well-placed step that bears us above Death,
while Beauty weeps for us beyond the goat paths.
By day, the way is clear, so complete,
the ground floor and ceiling blue.
We see where we are and name it alone and only.
On our tongue, world settles into a few words—
unanswered, unanswerable shouting.
Then sunset’s splinters—orange, mauve—
fade to night’s raw transparency
and the first call of a star.
Perfect, calling silence, star following star
like deer stepping from shadow or heavy forest
into the dark’s open, stream-curled meadows.
Now we’re in sterner metaphor,
the embrace of the abyss,
brought by goat paths
to the brink of wilderness.
Patricia Karamesines has won numerous awards for her poetry, essays, and fiction, including awards from the University of Arizona, the Utah Arts Council, and the Utah Wilderness Association. She is the author of The Pictograph Murders (Signature Books 2004), an award-winning mystery novel set in the Four Corners area. Her poetry appears in the anthology Fire in the Pasture (Peculiar Pages 2011). She writes for the Mormon arts and culture blog A Motley Vision and runs the nature writing blog Wilderness Interface Zone that advocates for the “greening of human language”. She has taught English classes at USU-Eastern off and on since 2006 and now tutors English students for the NASNTI Grant program–a job she dearly loves. She lives with her husband and three children a stone’s throw from beleaguered Recapture Canyon, has put in plenty of foot-time in the canyon, and is currently completing a work of creative nonfiction about her strange and wonderful experiences there.
The lavender sky turns. Soundless.
Its silvered breath falls,
sliding slowly over veined silk.
The tiny bud ruptures. Bending
backwards (in time) it beads
the ground with miniscule reflections,
iridescent images bursting the same ideal:
a perfect mirror of every dawn’s bloom.
A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com. She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for four online poetry journals published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. You can read more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work. Huffman has published with WIZ previously.
Photo by Audrey of Central Pennsylvania via Wikimedia Commons.