Sunday, November 20, 2011

Counting on the Woods: the words

post #62
      This week it occurred to me, finally, that the remaining sections of the essay will make a lot more sense if I share the words George Ella Lyon wrote for the book.  So today's post will lay out her 76 words, which includes the title, Counting on the Woods.  After getting the go-ahead to be the photo-illustrator (with a contract and an advance,) those words were what I was given, to do with what I thought I could.  Figuring that all out and actually doing it is what I write about in the essay.

       So, here's some perfect imagination time, folks.  What do you see in your mind's eye when you read the words?   What would you ponder were you handed this poem, spread over two typed pages?  What would you try to look for?  As for me, I was thinking "It's already the end of March", and "I have never done this before" and "Thank goodness I live where I do [in eastern Kentucky.]"  Just know that I was grateful the words were each one wonderful and that our editor, Dick Jackson, is skilled at expecting one's best work.  His instinct is to envision the possible.  

Counting on the Woods
                                                                               to the waterfall
                                                                          given for all
One path, 
     a stick for a staff.

Two birds, 
     daybreak's words.

Three bugs 
     in the moss rug.

Four worms, 

     how the earth turns.

Five nests

     where new ones rest.

Six tracks.

      Who's coming back?

Seven stones, 

     the little creek's home.

Eight flowers 

     fed on dirt and showers.

Nine vines,

     earth to sky they climb.

Ten trees

     whose innumerable leaves

    clean the air for everything that breathes.

     That's it.  Totally.  1997 did happen to have a cool, wet spring, which meant a longer awakening season than most other years, and I did decide to show a child in a few of the photos, though you may have noticed there is no mention of one.   Other such helpful things evolved as well.  But a lot of that is in the essay, which I will continue sharing next week.  All in all, an unusual way to become a photographer, but, hey, if it works, go for it!

to the waterfall given for all

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