Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Land Nurtures Generations of Dreamers, Doers, and Writers

When I was growing up we still put up hay by hand, rode horses, milked cows, butchered, gardened and put up our own food, and sewed up ruptured hogs. But, most of all, when I was growing up the land nurtured me as a dreamer. The land raised me as a poet and writer.

I came directly in contact this April with how the land nurtures a young girl’s inner life when I walked through the woods down to the ravine to the seasonal stream with my great niece. She told me the names for her lands here, and they were all beautiful, poetic names.

She showed me the fairy pool and we built a dam over it, in hopes of deepening it. I don’t think our dam will deepen the pool, but I know this place will deepen her. And, I know our walk deepened our bond. Each generation discovers the places on our land anew. For A., it is her place. For me, it was my place.

Land and my time on the land have shaped my life, my soul, my stories and poems. In my book “Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary” I included two sections for places that I’ve loved in my life and that have nurtured me—our homeplace and lakeside.

Back in Northern California, walking in the Clear Lake State Park this week, I felt how the turtles sunning themselves on the logs, the hawk flying overhead with prey clasped strongly in its claws, the lake, the mountains—how my nature friends in Lake County have sustained me during the time of transition since my sister’s death in 2004.

I’m moving back to the Midwest this summer, closer to the homeplace. But, I take the land and the lake with me in my heart and soul as I continue my journey as poet and woman, carrying the heritage of the land.

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  1. Nice piece about the land, Janet. It brought back memories of our country home along the Ottawa River and visits to Amby's farm, hidden spots in the woods where fairies live, and the names we give them. Magical times...


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