on Geophagy and being penned in

The following post was written Sunday in a warm house. In lieu of NightLight this week, I’m leaving you with this, and I’ll return some time next week having caught my breath. This will explain everything or nothing at all. It’s according to who you are.


on geophagy and being pinned in

All the daffodils in NW Arkansas have given up the ghost. They sleep beneath 12 inches of snow. Just this week I wore a tank top and bought potted flowers in every color I could handle. Now they sleep on the glassed-in porch, like caged bobcats, lethargic and thirsty.

I miss you, Backwoods, in this season change, always.

I used to walk trails in the woods, some of deer, some of the native Alabamians. My body would sweat, but my lungs would be cold, heaving in the air as I used roots and branches to climb and descend mountain crannies. The leaves would be dry and piled, the soil beneath logs only just beginning to make itself black perfume, every kind of small brown bird excited. I would happen on the dogwoods,  where in the deep of property lines they unfurled, and I would know that soon the wind would blow, and the petals would weaken their grip, and they would cover the ground like summer snow – a new season.

Later on, I would happen on the mountain laurels, opening quietly together, as if sitting naked in the woods just for secret’s sake. What glory.

I miss you. I miss you, and I pack again to see you. If one were to eat the earth where I was born, she would recognize me. She would know something of the field people before me, how we don’t know how to separate ourselves. We see the work under our nails, and we leave it there. It’s in us anyway. We taste tomatoes and say, “only here. Only here do we know how.”

The ground is being turned, and seeds rupture. I want to go home and eat. So I scribble over everything this week in my planner, and I go,

because everything here is busy and out in the open,

and I wasn’t made for that, not made for any charts, except the one of the moon in an almanac, hanging on a kitchen penny nail.


for these writer brothers: Hamster and Donn

and for my Seth.

About me


Reply March 26, 2010

Hello. I get this. Your words filled with desire vibrate deep inside me in that way that tells me I will carry them, that I own them too. I live in AL. Transplanted from IL over 10 years ago. This time of year I long for turned black earth in parallel ruts. Lilac bushes gently blooming and humming with bees by houses. To be wrapped in that aroma - glory.
God's speed.

Reply March 26, 2010

Just beautiful Amber. Enjoy some rest!

Elizabeth (@claritychaos)
Reply March 26, 2010

Oh, woman. You make me wish I was Southern. You know Natalie Goldberg claims you Southern writers have a special gift - in your makeup, born of your roots. I believe it.

Reply March 26, 2010

According to my almanac, my tomato seedlings are going in the ground on April 15, 16, and 17--when the moon is waxing and in the fruitful sign of Taurus.

I dream they might bridge some deep connection between the earth and sky, that I might participate in that sacrament.

Many thanks and much love, Amber.

Reply March 26, 2010

Shucks. Went and misspelled my own blog address.

Reply March 26, 2010

grazing through my reader during lunch ... today in class we talked Thoreau's Walden Pond.

i've never been to Massachusetts, but the Walden you speak of, that deep south land of dogwoods, is in me, too. thank you for writing this.

Reply March 26, 2010

Exactly what Elizabeth said. You make me wish I was southern, and that ain't no small thing. Love you.

Reply March 26, 2010

Amber, dear Amber, where is your adoption timeline?

Reply March 27, 2010

I'll be travelling back to AL in the next few days from across the world. A short trip. But so thankful its for the spring time.

Soak it up. Breathe it in. Feel its warmth around you.
I know I will.

Reply March 29, 2010

I would love to see it. Smell it, and taste it.

I lived in Arkansas for a while and miss it there.

My heart is in Central Texas, though - no matter where I live. I wrote a post about it when we moved back here (not quite as much poetry and imagery, but some of the same thought behind it...)


Reply March 29, 2010

this is my favorite thing. "We see the work under our nails, and we leave it there"...what I was trying to say when I was talking about dirty nails after a gardening session, you captured the feeling. I love it. I love it. I love it FOREVER!

Kelly Langner Sauer
Reply April 2, 2010

I would just like to cry now...

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