When the sun hits its body, it shimmers with glee,
And reflections of beauty abound.
All the trees so majestic stand tall in its mirrors,
While the leaves float in circles around.
The ducks quack hello to its welcoming arms,
While the fish swim where no one can see.
It ripples and waves to all passers-by,
Just as glorious and proud as can be.
It carries the boats in its strong steady current,
They glide on its surface like glass.
It splashes so playfully against the boats sides,
Then generously lets them all pass.
And in the heat of the day when we come to get cool,
It willingly offers relief.
It cocoons and caresses while we float in its lap,
As it helps us make fine memories.
But in the storms of the winter when it’s lonely and mean,
It rages against the gloom of the day.
It reaches with fury beyond its strong banks,
Frightening all nature and people away.
But no matter its mood, its beauty remains,
And it’s flowed through my life without end.
I love that great river with all of my heart,
My Comfort, my Constant, my Friend.
By Patricia Fleming
Photo by the author
Overcast January morning
Flurries at dawn
One to two inches
Driveway, sidewalk covered
Shoveled off porch and steps
Footprints quickly vanished
Three to four inches
Like a down feather pillow fight
Five to six inches
Laden branches bent
Under the weight
Tree limbs moaned
Seven to eight inches
Fallen tree limbs
Nine to ten inches
By Suzanne Cottrell
Suzanne Cottrell, an Ohio buckeye by birth, lives with her husband and three rescue dogs in rural Piedmont North Carolina. An outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, she enjoys hiking, biking, gardening, and Pilates. She loves nature and its sensory stimuli and particularly enjoys writing and experimenting with poetry and flash fiction. Her poetry has appeared in numerous online and print journals including North Carolina’s Best Emerging Poets: An Anthology, The Avocet, The Remembered Arts Journal, Plum Tree Tavern, Haiku Journal, Cagibi Literary, and Poetry Quarterly.
Photo by the author
Deep furrowed bark, gray and moss-
covered, reminds me of my own
marks, namely the lines showing up
now on my forehead, signs of my age,
and a product of grief, stress and deep
Like the oak, my exterior is thickened
by time, circumstance, and the extreme
I place both hands on the trunk, pushing
with all of my weight against the tree,
as if — as if I could push the tree over.
Looking straight up, the curvature of the
spine, a twisted trunk forced to grow
in this manner by nature and by chance.
By Joshua Lanier
On my daily walks, I often make my way to the creek bottom that I explored as a boy. These waters have healing properties, and I draw from them in my work, no matter what the subject. This creek is a point of reflection for me.The natural world is always the centerpiece of my work, whether it be fiction, essays, or poetry. My blog can be found at Wildcat Creek Journal.
Photo of oak tree in park by Andy Kazie
I live deep within
That cradle sparkling creeks,
Where trees and bushes
Garment the hillsides
In a million shades of green.
When I walk the ridge
Early in the day
I keep company
With squirrel, fox and deer.
Osprey call down the canyon
As the morning sun
Turns the treetops silver.
As I stand high above Elk Creek
A song teases itself
Into my awareness.
Far down the canyon
A sound like rushing water.
From miles away,
It begins to build.
It starts at the mouth
Of Elk Creek,
Where it joins the Klamath River.
The sound holds me.
Far in the distance
The trees begin to dance.
That’s the sound,
The song I hear.
Here it comes
Up the canyon.
Sweeping along ,
Swaying the trees,
Sight and sound merging.
Plays just for me.
Loud the song of wind and trees
Swirling around and through me,
Coming up the canyon.
I am in awe.
For long moments
I am the chorale,
And then it passed
Moving up the Canyon.
Fading into the distance.
I stand alone
Humbled by the gift
Of these precious moments;
To be awake and aware,
The Canyon’s Song.
By Judi Brannan Armbruster
Judi Brannan Armbruster, is a direct descendant of Ah Ish Ka’a, Full Blood Karuk of northern California. In the mid 90’s she returned to ancestral territory, and found the threads of her poetic voice. She is 69 years old, separated, and the mother of one daughter. Her poetry is found on the Internet, in literary magazines and anthologies. Judi’s poetry covers the journey out of an abusive home, through two abusive relationships, and finally to healing as she connected with her ancestral roots and grounded herself in Nature. The journey continues.
Photo by lzflzf
A trusting doe and half-grown fawn
oversee my exodus from warm cabin
to chilly trail curling through
oak forest, ending at ocean.
They calmly browse dewy grass
as frenetic gray squirrels
chatter, chase one another
up and down tree trunks.
Deer emerge from morning mist,
forage among meadows and canyons.
To them, I am nothing to fear,
just another meandering mammal.
By Jennifer Lagier
Jennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle), Forthcoming: Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press, 2018).Click here to visit her website. Photo by the author.