the nature of this place

Dearest Polly,

Thank you for the gift of the book, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California.

I am delighted to own this volume. It is enough that the pages are filled with words to live in, words that guide us and shape our wisdom about the earth and nature and the goodness of people. But this volume is especially dear to me because two of the published poems are written by you, poured from your heart, by pen to paper, written on bus rides, in cafés and book shops, on sneak-away days at Edgefield and shared in bits and pieces with those you love and trust with your work.

& I can remember still
the scent of those
rampant tomato vines
& the way the tapwater would flood
the white enamel sink
as the water ran down my sun-
browned arms
— Polly Hatfield

This is a book to keep by my side, to read in those small moments when I need quiet and peace and thoughtfulness.

And the sweet reminder to love and care for our common world.

Nature photography does not come easily to me. In the vast natural world there is so much beauty, it overwhelms me. I cannot see the picture in my mind.

Everywhere I turn, there is something of note. The perky Blue Jays swoop along the edge of the forest, feeding on acorns from tall Oaks. The sun warms my skin and I walk with only a long sleeve shirt and a vest. I settle in and raise the viewfinder to my eye and vow to just give it a try. Press the shutter. See what I can see.

Just as your words float to the page, the pictures are revealed to me, and we help each other to navigate life beneath this wide blue sky.

Wishing you well,