Place Where You Live:

Madison, Wisconsin

It is a space to breathe in the morning while walking in the rhythm of flowers, and become every age I have ever been. For years I ambled the quiet north sector of Cherokee Marsh in the Yahara River Watershed. An address in Nature that includes trees that knew forests that negotiated territory with farms. This area gathers profuse voyaging species; white-tailed deer, and restored oak savannah with nesting red-headed woodpeckers. The throaty sentient calls of the Sandhill cranes precede their parachutes landing in secluded areas. It is in this place of a biblical “begats” list of wildflowers that I have sat on the dried ruins of a fallen hickory. The sighing of trees attracted feathered tribes who traded branches uneasily until the red-winged blackbirds raised their shriek level; the American goldfinches then paid attention to the red-tailed hawk instead. My memories of walking with the wind there include moving quickly in tall grasses up to my waist, when thunder preceded the rain. My khakis readily filled with sedge stalk debris, spider linen, and the smell of cut hay. Soon I detoured to another path guiding my older mahogany to settle for watching the sway properties of marsh tallows. The diminishing light fell on the haze of earth smoke reminding me that the marsh had evolved because people chose not to build their houses there. My wilderness findings instilled the belief that I am cobbled together with the earth’s eucharist in its abundance of life created by the ancient theme of diversity. In my seventy-first year, I felt the invitation to be a living text among the older trees. At dusk I sat in the wind on the boardwalk. A doe browsed in grass up to her belly. I settled into the beautiful decay as the wind passed through me – and I became an earth flute – then a hymn of the prairie filtered through me. The boardwalk became my front stoop where the call was accepted to remain a terrestrial; to stay and witness the earthrise making its way to morning, in a world order more ancient than myself.