Tag Archives: women and nature

Guest Post: “When Autumn’s Through,” by Karen Kelsay

I cannot kick a mound of maple leaves
or see a pumpkin peeking from the vine
before the frost and not remember hills
where summer laid her green. A distant line

of poplars gleams like curtains made of coins;
it shakes at passing clouds. And everywhere
the magpie hops, I see another sign
of hawthorns beckoning the winter air

to breathe upon the fields. It once was mine,
that sweet transition only autumn knows.
The one that holds the oak limbs silently,
embracing every chilly breeze that blows.

It leads me into mottled shadows of
a deeper hue, where nothing seems so true
as winter’s birth. Sometimes, I catch a glimpse
of it beneath the vines, when autumn’s through.

Field Notes #9: How I celebrated winter solstice

Warning!  Warning!  Long post.

Dec. 21st, a.m.  As I started out, temperatures bumped around in the low 20s.  A ragged ceiling of waxy yellow clouds sometimes let through bright sunlight.  Mostly, though, the cloud cover took the polish off the snow.  An unexpectedly cold breeze chilled the denim of my jeans and cut through my gloves, making my hands ache.  I pulled the overlong sleeves of my parka’s polar fleece liner over my gloves to better protect my hands. Continue reading Field Notes #9: How I celebrated winter solstice

Guest Post: “Field Notes from Pittsburgh,” by Lora

I live in the Pittsburgh area, in the suburbs. Several mornings ago I was up a little earlier than usual, and the sun seemed to be coming up later than usual. I had the opportunity to watch out my kitchen window as dawn came to my neighborhood. Looking one direction out my window gives me a westerly view of the neighborhood below the little hill where my house is situated. There are rows of 1950s houses surrounded by layers of tall bare trees. The trees wind into the distance over gently sloping Appalachian hills as far as the eye can see, probably three miles at most. The yards were covered with snow, which was pale grey in the beginning half-light. The sky was every shade of grey, from white grey to blue grey, wispy layers that would soon blend together. The sun began to rise behind my house. Before me a soft pink shade spread across the browns and greys. I could easily recognize the tree line behind my house superimposed across the trees and houses down the street in front of me. I watched as the sheen of pink flowed down the hills and the shadow of the eastern tree line receded. The neighborhood was waking up to the soft light of winter.  Continue reading Guest Post: “Field Notes from Pittsburgh,” by Lora

Guest Post: “Hymn of Autumn,” by Karen Kelsay

When the moon becomes a mellow pear
on twilight’s bough, and stars swirl up like maple leaves
before they’re swept into the dawn, I’ve often
walked this garden where the voice of whippoorwills

would carry remnant melodies across long, dusky
hours. At times I feel this eastern breeze has lifted
me, somehow, beyond the soft-lit sloping fields
and conifer lined hills. To lands where only goldenrod

has known me by my smile, and dampness soothes
the head of every yellow aster bloom. Tonight, before
the morning’s crest of ruby will extend through broken
clouds, I whisper prayers again to autumn:
take me there once more.


“Hymn to Autumn” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  It was published in Joyful!, an online Christian magazine, in October.

For Karen’s bio, go here.  (Scroll down to end.)


by Karen Kelsay

She is frail, her veil of happiness is
replaced in turn by fear, then bewilderment.
Today, she presents a branch before
garden lilies, like a child might coax a parakeet
to perch. Beside the magnolia, where shadows
meet white geraniums she once planted, the caregiver
settles her in a wooden lawn chair. Uneasy beneath
summer’s glare, she retreats to confines of her bedroom,
where lamps cannot illuminate rose buds
or reveal the sycamore’s aging bark.
Her cat, once draped on her lap, lingers on the lawn;
she no longer remembers her daughter.
Only her husband’s voice can pluck
her from herself, like the last yellow blossom
snipped from a stranger’s yard.


For more about Karen Kelsay, go here (scroll to end).

Among the Boughs

by Karen Kelsay

Tonight, a slow release of summer rain
sweeps through my pear tree. Gentle is the sound,
a metronomic lullaby that rolls
across each limb and patters on the ground.

Outside my room, traversing streamlets run
along the open pane–I try to count them all.
And leaves are soaked a darker green, while buds
appear to peek between the lattice wall.

The scent of blossoms filters through my screen.
I lie awake, yet, caught up in romance
among the boughs, where whispers hum to me,
and all my evening thoughts have learned to dance.

Karen Kelsay is a native Californian who grew up near the Pacific.  As a child, she spent most of her weekends on a boat. She has three children, two cats and extended family in England, where she loves to visit. Her poems have been widely published over the past few years in journals, including The Boston Literary Review, The New Formalist, The Christian Science Monitor and Willow’s Wept Review. Her first book, Collected Poems, was finished in 2008, and a chapbook, A Fist of Roots, was published by Pudding House Press in January 2009.  A second chapbook of children’s poetry, titled Song of the Bluebell Fairy, will be published later this year.  To visit her website, go here.  To read samples of her verse for children, go here.

Excerpt: The Pictograph Murders by P. G. Karamesines

Dave’s post here caused me to reflect more self-consciously on what it is I do when I go out in the desert.  Do I walk off pavement’s edge to get away from stresses or disappointments?  Do I go out to have adventures?  To think?  Dave’s post is about seeking God in nature.  Is that what I’m doing–looking for God out there, in the Great Not-Me?  This passage from my novel, The Pictograph Murders, surfaced in response to introspection that Dave’s post provoked.  I think it sums up well enough what I do some of the time I’m out in Nature.     

The wash broadened into a fan of moist sand.  The walls, too, widened to form a rounded chamber capped by an azure disc of sky.  Just a few yards away lay a shallow plunge pool.  Kit waded in and drank noisily.  In the talus slope behind the pool, water clittered around three moss-framed, stone-keyed seeps.  The wiry and crooked little streams stepped and ruffled down slope to empty into the pool. Continue reading Excerpt: The Pictograph Murders by P. G. Karamesines