Winterscape: Prairie by Jonathon Penny

Photo taken by Nasa's Aqua Satellite March 4, 2010

Fallow soil, windblown, is a rigid latticework
Pressed hard against patchwork fields etched with snow.

A river, drawn amblingly, God’s Hancock doodle,
Flows its cursive way across the whole.

Jealous of its motion, frozen lakes and ponds
Lie low and sullen in their teardrop bowls.


More from Jonathon here and here.

Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice 2010, Part Four

Part One.   Part Two.   Part Three.

As we’d searched for the incised grooves and then the tower, the archaeologist and I traded small details about our families.   He mentioned how, when he takes his kids for hikes, they’re always running up to him and asking, €œIs this an artifact, Dad? €   I told him how, when we first moved to the area, my two ambulatory kids would go out exploring and bring home rocks that struck their fancy.   A flashy array of jasper crops up from the ground here along with colorful cherts, etc. €”the stones Ancestral Puebloans flint-knapped into arrowheads and other tools.   Lithic flakes €”the waste and €œmisfires € of flint-knapping €”abound, as well as partial and whole arrowheads and cores, which are the rounded remains of rocks from which workable pieces have been flaked off €”a stone’s unusable €œpit. € I had to sort through the adopted rocks for lithic flakes then explain to my kids, €œThis is an artifact.   Take it back. € Finally, I went out with them and taught them how to recognize possible lithic flakes and related artifacts.   These, I told them, were to be left in situ. Continue reading “Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice 2010, Part Four”

The soil’s the earth’s best mother by Jonathon Penny

Soil4--Castelnuovo di Farfa, Italy resized (click into for larger view)

The soil’s the earth’s best mother;
Old songs its virile seed
Planted by wind and weather,
Each grown by craft and need.

The soil’s the earth’s best mother:
Each plant a green refrain
Written by a poet father,
And harvested again.


Photo by Jonathon Penny.

For more poetry by Jonathon and his bio click here.

Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice, Part Three

Part One here.   Part Two here.

The rain that earlier diluted a few thoughts in my journal failed to commit, but the overcast thickened. Light making it through the clouds fell flatly. Trees in the juniper forest through which we walked cast no shade that could be distinguished from cloud shadow. Below us on the creek’s banks, Fremont cottonwoods had lost most of their heart-shaped scales to autumn winds. Remaining leaves flapped on their stems, working free from the trees’ upper stories, winging back to their roots.   With the loss of the cottonwoods’ stands of verdure and the stalks of most of the other plants gone to straw, Crossfire’s green flames burned very low, deep inside the trees and in the ashes of the canyon’s seed-time. €œGrey € was the word for the day. I guessed temperatures were hovering around 38 degrees, but high humidity accompanying the storm front whetted the chill.   The archaeologist is a light, slim man.   He wore no gloves and not much of a coat.   He remarked that he felt cold. Continue reading “Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice, Part Three”