A Rehearsal of Wind

A December sky
left ducks to shiver
and take refuge
in the swamp grass
of September.
I walked backwards
on my journey
around the lake today,
feeling my sojourn
was one of rewind.

No amount of huddling
could bring summer back.
As a child of warmth,
I could not return to August sun.
It had faded into hiding,
where worms measure daylight
by the segment.

By Harding Stedler

ducks sheltering in grass on a winter pond


After graduating valedictorian of his high school graduating class, Harding Stedler went on to earn his B.S. in Ed., M.S in English Education, and his Ph.D. in English Education as well. He taught writing courses under the umbrella of the English Department in universities where he taught. In 1995, he retired from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, with 34 years of service. He now makes his home in Maumelle, Arkansas, and is an active member of the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas as well as the River Market Poets in Little Rock.

Photo by Ben Thomasian

Snowstorm Stella

staring out the window
in the noontide of
a Winter snowstorm,
I watch the trees
whip back and forth,
losing a fight
against the wind

By Rebeca Perez

woman watching snow at window


Rebeca Perez author photoRebeca is a mother, wife, and poet. She loves being out in nature. In love with all things art-related, obsessed with birds and flowers. She loves to collaborate with other creatives and poets.

Visit her website blendmylove.com

Photo by Oleksandra Borsuk

Suburban Journal: The Remnant

neighborhood road in snowy winterFebruary had been a strange month for weather. It was like the weather couldn’t make up its mind on whether it was going to be warm or cold, changing every few days like hypomania, never going the full extreme into full-blown mania. Yesterday it had been 70 degrees, a taste of what late spring would bring, but today the temperature dropped, and the day was cold in the 40s, the north wind blowing with a bitter chill that told its true nature.

My parents and I had just finished watching Circus Soleil, and walking out of the big top, the wind blew across our faces like a straight razor. Standing for a moment in the parking lot, where 500 yards away stood an immense mega church, I turned my face straight north and let the wind hit my brow, rubbing across as it were barber ready to give me a shave. The wind had come hundreds of miles down the long plains, hurtling down Kansas and Oklahoma that unfurled in North Texas, a winter remnant reminding that spring was not here yet.

Overhead, the night was clear, stars shining eons away as we walked in the cold toward our car. A few hundred yards away, I could see some trees and the incline of a hill, and I thought about what this area must have looked like a hundred years ago. It was probably prairie, a small farming community, all of that gone now, progress moving forward with urbanization, remorseless in its precision and expansiveness. All that remained native was the wind, the North Wind from the plains.

It had blown cold and hard each winter, each gust crossing the years as change came in the way of a booming economy. The land would change, people would die, but the wind would be the witness to it all, for now until the end of time. Getting into our car, the wind lingering on my hoodie’s shoulders, I know it would be with me until I passed. With that, Nature ran its course in one way or another, even with so much change. And that thought gave me comfort. We drove on home through the night, and the wind kept his company all the way home and into Morpheus’ sleep.


This is an article in my Subdivision Journal series. I am trying to use mindfulness to observe nature in my neighborhood. Other articles in the series:
The Tree Blossoms
The Dead Bird
A Budding Tree
An Encounter With a Falcon
The Carrying of Sounds
The View from My Window


Author PhotoCarl Wade Thompson is a poet, essayist, and the graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. He has published poetry and memoir essays in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, One in Four, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, Piker Press, The Eunoia Review, Blue Minaret, Nebo Literary Magazine, Alphelion Literary Webzine, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. He lives on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. His poems explore the link between the urban and the rural.

Photo by Pavel Cheiko

Touched by the Spirit of Life

plants, pond and cat in backyardNo matter how small, nature is everywhere, and no matter how large, nature can always find a special corner in our hearts. The prevailing concept of nature is vast acres of untouched, Earth-made land that stretches beyond the horizon’s end. Yet, we often overlook the smallest, yet most apparent essences that create the natural world that envelops us. In the grand scheme of the biosphere, or an ecosystem, or even my backyard, it seems queer to adore something like a lowly bush. In our surroundings, however, a bush is anything but lowly.

Soft tabby paws pad through the stretch of open, yellow-grassed yard, making their way into the undergrowth near the bush. Inside, four mewling kittens squirm restlessly, revealing their off-white undersides as their mother strokes them. Hazel-green eyes gaze around at the shadows of the dense brush, and sometimes I can observe little flashes of brown with black stripes darting around while I pry a bough aside to peer inside. One kitten, however, bears a jet-black pelt with bright peridot eyes, tantamount to the dark night and shimmering stars that we can no longer appreciate.

Trekking through meters of 5-inch snow, the mother and her train of four kittens brave the harsh weather outside the bush, which has been masked in a blanket of white. Pursuing them would lead me to the barren woods behind my neighborhood lake, where these feral cats have nestled near the felled logs and deemed this their summer home.kitten walks in grass

However, the late February snow and departure of the cats could only remind me that spring is right around the corner. The snow melts, and flowers take root in the fertile soil around the bushes. A robin couple chirp as they collect twigs and other scattered miscellanea to rebuild the nest that had been destroyed by the cold and the inquisitive kittens. Soon the female will lay eggs and tend their three peeping fledglings, watching them grow up within a short 13 days. Sometimes, I cautiously hoist a bough to explore the ten different species of flowers, twenty species of insects, the robin family, and occasionally a fleeing rabbit or a flitting blue jay.

As I pull open the shades to take a peek at the bush outside my window, I can’t help but smile at how much diversity and wildlife a mere unprotected shrub can behold. My bush has its very own calendar, its circadian rhythms, and its circle of life. Every day, we rush to school, extracurriculars, and other places, paying no mind to these beautiful beings. Once a while when we pause and observe nature, we can always be surprisingly touched by the spirit of life. The bush is one of nature’s finest keepsakes; it always reminds us of how wonderful life is.

I watch my cats depart in the chilly February morning, thinking about the new season just beginning.


Top photo by tlorna

Suburban Journal: Natural Boundaries

neighborhood sidewalk leading to treesWe took the kids to the park yesterday, letting them ride on their new scooters along the sidewalks as we closely followed behind. The day was filled with sunshine, the moisture from the previous night’s rain quickly dissipating in the warm afternoon sun. We had just returned from my parents’ home in Oklahoma after putting my grandmother to rest, and though exhausted, we enjoyed being outside in the unusual weather for this time of year.

Watching my kids play, my eyes turned south to the periphery of the park. Surrounding the park is a large tract of undeveloped land, natural prairie filled with brush, mesquite, and ornamental pear trees. There is no fence enclosing the park; the land is defined by what is mowed, a natural boundary along the edge unkempt and wild. Staring at the boundary, I wondered what the park would be like if no one mowed? Would the prairie reclaim what was rightfully its own by growing up through the carefully manicured grounds, stunted saplings springing up in a wave of protest? Who decided this boundary? Why did they not mow it all down, clearing away the last vestige of the land that once was and would never be again? To the west, I saw the bulldozed land that would soon be another part of the subdivision of the quickly encroaching phenomenon known as suburban sprawl. In five years, would the still undeveloped pastureland be all gone, the park boundary replaced with cookie-cutter houses, board fences, and sidewalks?

I thought about the natural boundaries in both nature and people, the boundary that separates life and death, something never thought of until it comes crashing home. My grandmother was a person who bridged those boundaries when I was a child, showing me the wonders of nature, of trees, woods, brush, and mountains, whether it be the back pasture behind her house or the Kiamichi mountains where she was born. She introduced me to nature, to the love I have of land not yet tamed by sprawl.

Now, as I stared at the park boundary, I thought of how she had crossed the final barrier, one in which she could not come back. Death is a condition no one can escape, and though it may claim the living, I do not think it is the end. As the Wheel turns, so the lives we share with others, until it all runs like a stream without beginning or end. I can believe in this kind of melting of boundaries as I watch my kids play, knowing love and hope moves on with the rolling of time. For that, I believe, as I run to catch up with my kids as they transform into adults before my watchful eyes.


This is an article in my Subdivision Journal series. I am trying to use mindfulness to observe nature in my neighborhood. Other articles in the series:

The Tree Blossoms
The Dead Bird

A Budding Tree

An Encounter With a Falcon

The Carrying of Sounds
The View from My Window


Author PhotoCarl Wade Thompson is a poet, essayist, and the graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. He has published poetry and memoir essays in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, One in Four, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, Piker Press, The Eunoia Review, Blue Minaret, Nebo Literary Magazine, Alphelion Literary Webzine, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. He lives on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. His poems explore the link between the urban and the rural.

Photo by Susan Leggett