Content direct from notebooks
by Merri Johnson
In the company of friends on an early summer day,
I walked among the green and growing things –
moss and lichens, shrub and flower, wood and meadow.
Cool and moist, the air, like silk, slipped over our skin,
as if we, too, were leaves or grass or petals.
We stopped to admire a milkweed leaf – its many veins and subtle hues –
a mosaic more sublime than any human-made design.
We tuned our ears to field sparrow, grosbeak, and indigo bunting,
to wood thrush, towhee and whip-poor-will and wren –
voices more pure than any owned by men.
Cottonwood down floated about our heads,
Silent clouds of divinity
So much was seen and marveled at in that brief hour.
The “What?” and “How?” made known
but the puzzle: “Why?”
Merri has always been an outdoors kind of person in the way that many people are. You know the type: open windows as much as possible; not afraid to get dirty; more interested in visiting a National Park than a Museum; collector of small artifacts that end up in dishes on shelves around my home; watcher and feeder of birds. After retiring in 2013, she heard of Nebraska’s Master Naturalist program and took the training in 2014. Since then, Merri’s connection to the natural world has evolved into more thoughtful and intentional observation and curiosity.
by Mike Keller-Wilson
I dive into the surface of the world.
Godlike and distant
Sizzle and buzz in return
Clamber and crouch draw near
Slalom through the dangling be sated
Ooze and release
Fractalling into verdant
Even motorized and gravelling belongs to
Sudden fleshy and dull
Hooked and caught
The world crouches, a gathering of legs. Leaping, dives deeper, deeper into me, into world, into me.
Mike Keller-Wilson is studying writing through the MFA program at University of Nebraska Omaha. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa. He currently teaches 7th grade in Iowa City, where he lives with his partner, Jordan, and their two cats.