Tag Archives: nature writing

The Trees in River Country by Sarah Dunster

Maple leaves on grass by Rosendahl

The trees in river country know the wind,
and how to bend  in winter blasts. They hold
snow and take the water. They change color—
as the leaves of maples turn, so too
a sister to her brother.

There are deep roots in a certain field, grown up
on our name past—fed by ashes of Cedar.
What wounds we’ve had will bear true grain,
but you and I will not be felled
by spade or tractor chain.

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To read another LONNOL Month poem by Sarah Dunster, go here.

Kristalltag by Sy Roth

512px-Leonid_Meteor by Navicore via Wikimedia Commons

Space exhaled a puff of air.
Caught in its stream
pathless terrene thought it well
to cleave a fresh path
form a new road
unzip the miles-thin protective layer.

Aeriform meteoric hand punched through.
Glass jugs exploded in a cosmic grand plie
windows shattered
crystalline light show
creation’s crumble
celestial chaff in its random wind.
Chimes clinking in twenty-part dissonance.

Cataclysm in its whimsical wake until
the bagmen scavenge bits to sell on eBay.

__________________________________________________

Sy Roth bio picHe rides in and then canters out. Oftentimes, head bowed by reality; other times, proud to have said something noteworthy. Retired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, Sy Roth now resides in Mount Sinai, far from Moses and the tablets. This has led him to find solace in words.  He spends his time writing and playing his guitar. He has published in many online publications such as Red Ochre, Bong is Bard, Danse Macabre, Mel BrakE Press, Larks Fiction Magazine, Exercise Bowler, Otoliths, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, en brief. One of his poems, “Forsaken Man”, was selected for Best of 2012 poems in Storm Cycle.  Sy was also selected Poet of the Month in Poetry Super Highway, September 2012.  His work was also read at Palimpsest Poetry Festival in December 2012. He was named Poet of the Month for the month of February in BlogNostics. His work was also included in Poised in Flight anthology published by Kind of Hurricane Press, March 2013.

Path of the Veteran Deer by Lucas Shepherd

Whitetail deer buck  West Virginia by ForestWander

Through tangles of blackberry canes gallops a regal creature of the timber: Odocoileus virginianus, or the white-tailed deer. This one is a buck with cracked antlers, his coat birch brown. He sniffs the air before crossing the man-made paths. This veteran has survived so many hunting seasons because of his respect for orange vests and the pump of a twelve gauge shotgun. The whistle of a meadowlark shrills in a nearby gorge and the deer hops out of sight, perhaps to find an alternate path to the overflow creek where he can drink to his content.

No matter where I travel in the sprawling Sockum Ridge Woods in southeast Iowa, evidence of deer persists, whether in the form of flattened foxtail grass where a fawn hid from the strange newness of this world, a discarded antler on the winding path to Lookout Hill, or the beating sound of a herd moving through the hickory and oak trees to a safer location. At the turn of the 20th Century the white-tailed deer was hunted to devastatingly low numbers, but a regulated hunting system and conservation programs saw a steady proliferation in many sections of the United States. In Sockum Ridge, if you sit long enough in one spot and acclimate yourself to nature, you will surely see the white-tailed deer moving over the carpet of dead leaves, silent as Sunday School. If you are lucky enough, you will spot the patriarch of the royal family: the twelve point buck. Continue reading Path of the Veteran Deer by Lucas Shepherd

Ellen Meloy Grant for Desert Writers–Deadline, Jan. 15 2013

pictographs mountain bighorns3

I received my annual notice that the Ellen Meloy Grant for Desert Writers is seeking applicants. The deadline for grant applications is January 15. The grant funds only desert-themed, literary creative nonfiction. No fiction, children’s literature, or poetry will be considered.

To read the details, click here.You might want to take a look at past recipients to see if you recognize any names. The fund especially seeks applications from writers who can demonstrate they’re on a productive, desert-writing trajectory, on their way to charting a “deep map of place”.

Several years ago, I attended a writing workshop in Torrey, Utah, that Ellen led. Unlike some I’ve attended, this workshop ran on laughter and warmhearted guidance. Ellen was totally approachable and turned her wide-open attention to you and your writing at your slightest movement. I returned home from the workshop energized, comforted, and with a new poem in tote. I’ve posted it on WIZ before, but for anyone interested, here it is again.

Desert Gramarye*

(for Ellen Meloy)

It’s like the old Tarzan movies:
White hunters find their way barred
By skulls on sticks.

The Park Service has erected
A pavilion on the rim.
Beware, it says.
Quicksand.  Flash floods.
How to Resuscitate Lightning Strike Victims
One warning tells.
It pretends helpful information,
But it is another white skull. Continue reading Ellen Meloy Grant for Desert Writers–Deadline, Jan. 15 2013

Thank you, 2012 LONNOL participants!

Valentine_Antique image woman bird cupids

Wilderness Interface Zone would like to thank participants who put their hearts in our Love of Nature Nature of Love Month.  The list includes:

Elizabeth Pinborough
Kathryn Knight
Gail White
Ashley Suzanne Musick
Sarah Dunster
Chanel Earl
Sarah Dunster
Mark Penny
Laura Craner
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Jonathon Penny

You all helped WIZ celebrate love and nature with fair fond tokens of well-worded affection.  Thank you!

Thanks also go to our readers and commenters.  There’s still plenty of room open (until March 24) on our LONNOL month giveaway of Typhoon, starring Dorothy Lamour and Robert Preston.  If you’d like one, please go to that post and leave a comment.  I’ll contact you for shipping information.  WIZ offers these DVDs free to readers in appreciation for your presence here and for your support of WIZ’s mission to create a rhetorically-diverse space for Mormon nature literature (though, of course, all nature writers are welcome–see submissions guidelines here).

Also, WIZ’s 4th Annual Spring Poetry Runoff Contest and Celebration will open on the vernal equinox, March 20, with categories for both competition and non-competition, an open-invitation spring haiku chain, another Retro Review, and other revelry.  Please make a note of the Runoff’s pending arrival and watch for announcements detailing this year’s activities and prizes.

Again, deepest affection to you, contributors, and to you, readers and followers of WIZ, for your continued presence here.

Come in Under the Shadow of this Red Rock by Chanel Earl

Calf Creek 2-1

As we walk—side by side—down the long sloping trail, we pass gray trees and black igneous boulders peppering the otherwise white, sedimentary landscape. The earth is a mirror reflecting the hot yellow sun that has so recently removed winter’s snow. I point out traces of vanished streams; you find lizard footprints delicately decorating their sandy banks. We continue on.

I thirst and walk and imagine living forty days in this forsaken place. The nights are cold, the days are sweltering. My mouth dries and I see only sand, sun. The blue skies taunt and laugh with derision.

If there were water and no rock.

I imagine this land as sea, sediment settling onto the ocean floor as the waves rise and fall. I swim and fall to the bottom of the deep.

If there were rock and also water, and water—a spring—a pool among the rock.

I imagine Elijah, sliding into his cave among the rocks to find a saving pool. He drinks and prays.  And sleeps.

If there were the sound of water only—the sound of water over the rock.

As I continue to dream I hear the water. It falls through the canyon. It seeps through the rocks and splashes onto the sand.

I take your hand.  We hear snowmelt careening down the canyon. The rocks echo the sounds of thunderous falls as we arrive at our destination. Too cold to swim, I sit and drink and feel the cool mist on my hot face. You lie, relaxed, in the warm sun.

If I were living in this rock’s shadow, I would live with you. The ravens would bring us grapes and melon. Every morning we would wake to the life of the desert.

On our return you find green buds sprouting from the tips of each gray tree, trees that grow out of living rock. A black bird soars above us.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Chanel Earl grew up in Utah and currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to reading and writing, her hobbies include teaching, gardening, knitting, quilting, watching way too much television, parenting and housework. Her work has appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, The Wasatch Journal and Revolution House Magazine. Her short story collection, What to Say to Someone Who’s Dying, is available online. Chanel is a Mormon. You can find out more about Chanel and her writing at www.chanelstory.blogspot.com.

WIZ announcements and link bric-a-brac

Frequent WIZ contributor Karen Kelsay’s new book of poetry, Lavender Song, is out and available for sale here.   Karen’s formalist poetry is a well-kept garden of lovely sensibilities.  For samples of her work published on WIZ, go here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Writers: The deadline for Torrey House Press’s creative non-fiction contest is coming faster than you might think: September 30th.  Entries can run pretty long, 2,000 to 10,000 words, and first place prize is $1,000.  An entry fee of $25 is required, but that’s a standard amount for this kind of competition.

Over at Our Mother’s Keeper, Jason Brown has a wonderful piece on the Sacred Grove that I think qualifies as recommended reading.  Jason’s  writing demonstrates depth of perception.  But more than that, he seems to have a sense for the dynamism and sensitivity of language’s teeming environment and engages well in it.  I appreciate the care his words show.

This story is just so cool I had to link to it.  I have a (very very) soft spot in my heart for chelonians.

A fascinating and thought-provoking story out of India with stunning photos of an enraged leopard waging war against a village.   I hope more information comes out about this incident.  I’m sure there’s more to the story than shows through in print.

WIZ call for submissions

While WIZ loves poetry and heartily encourages poets to continue sending their nature-romancing verse, it’s perhaps time to follow nature’s own example of protean morphologies and bring more rhetorical diversity to the site.  Hence, WIZ is issuing a call for short, creative non-fiction and fiction pieces.   If you have a nature-oriented essay or field notes that run between 500 and 1300 words, please consider sending them to WIZ.  Longer essays are welcome if they can be divided into parts.

Nature-based flash fiction or short stories running between 100 and 1300 words are also welcome.  Excerpts from longer stories or novels up to 1300 words are encouraged–though pieces may run longer if they can be broken into multiple parts.

Please read WIZ’s submissions guide before sending your work.  Then electronically submit your work either to wilderness@motleyvision.org or to pk.wizadmin@gmail.com.

How to free a hummingbird from a skylight

Male black-chinned hummingbird

Like most folks, my husband, kids, and I greet spring’s arrival with relief.  The relaxing of winter’s grip, the first crack of color between sepals clutching flower buds, the sun’s liberating warmth all lighten the load my family balances gingerly as we carry it through winter’s dimly-lit cellars.  But as daylight’s gold, pink or orange borders stretch from their winter proportions to become a mazy, five in the morning ‘til nine-thirty at night field of shimmer and electrical storms, we pay particularly close attention to a tweak in light that occurs around April’s third week.  At a certain change of pitch in the sunshine’s angle and intensity, hummingbirds return to traditional nesting sites in our southeastern Utah neighborhood from snowbird resorts in Mexico. Continue reading How to free a hummingbird from a skylight

Dialogue Summer 2011 issue has some WIZards

Coming soon to a mailbox (or computer) near you: Dialogue’s environmental issue.  Several Wilderness Interface Zone contributors are included therein–congratulations, friends! Frequent WIZ contributor Steven Peck guest edited this issue.

Table of contents:

Page     Author     Title
Mary Toscano     Front Cover
Inside Cover, Title Page
v     Edwin Firmage, Jr.     Letters
1     Steven L. Peck     Why Nature Matters: A Special Issue of Dialogue on Mormonism and the Environment
6     George B. Handley     Faith and the Ethics of Climate Change
36     Craig D. Galli     Enoch’s Vision and Gaia: An LDS Perspective on Environmental Stewardship
57     Bryan V. Wallis     Flexibility in the Ecology of Ideas: Revelatory Religion and the Environment
67     Jason M. Brown     Whither Environmental Theology
87     Bart H. Welling     “The Blood of Every Beast”: Mormonism and the Question of the Animal
118     Mary Toscano     A Perch, A Foothold, A Float
119     Patricia Gunter Karamesines     Why Joseph Went to the Woods: Rootstock for LDS Literary Nature Writers
134     Adam S. Miller     Recompense
143     Ron Madson     Grandpa’s Hat
148     Sarah Dunster     Gaius
150     Harlow Soderborg Clark     Easter Sermons
152     Jon Ogden     Seasonal Ritual
153     Jonathon Penny     Winterscape: Prairie
154     Karen Kelsay     Mother Willow
155     Sandra Skouson     Girl Without a Mother to Her Big Brother
156     Mary Toscano     The Tightrope Walker
157     Hugo Olaiz     The Birth of Tragedy
161     David G. Pace     American Trinity
177     Benjamin E. Park     Image and Reality in the Utah Zion
180     Polly Aird     Not Just Buchanan’s Blunder
190     Rob Fergus     Scry Me a River
196     Mary Toscano     Wherever He May Go
197     Peter L. McMurray     This Little Light of Ours: Ecologies of Revelation

Can’t wait to get my copy.   I’m very happy to see so many WIZards’ work appearing in the issue, including poems from WIZ’s 2010 Spring Poetry Runoff.

Only complaint: The cover girl or boy polar bear is cute, but I would have put hummingbirds up front.

Just sayin’.