The Conservation of Scenery

© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
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“Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land’s inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.”

– Wendell Berry

Sowing Lightning

© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
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“Seize
Bolts of lightning from the sky
And plant them in fields of life.

They will grow like tender sprouts of fire.
Charge somber thoughts
With unexpected flash,
You, my lightning in the soil!”

– Visar Zhiti, The Condemned Apple: Selected Poetry

A Profession of Hope

© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
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“Farming is a profession of hope”

– Brian Brett

Spring Planting

© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
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“I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility.
Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time.”

– Robert Browning

56/365 – Black & White

Via Flickr:
© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
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Snow-Bound

© 2013 Loren Zemlicka

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The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.

– Excerpt from “Snow-Bound” by John Greenleaf Whittier

Wishing There Was Only a Fence

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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Barbed wires on rusted nails can’t hold
lone bulls at home when they smell pasture.
They thrust their bone skulls under barbs,
tongues quivering for a taste of strange

and shove until the post gives way. Days later,
we find wires sagging, reset the post,
and tighten bent wires like a fiddle
and rope the worn-out bull,

wishing there was only a fence
between us and our heart’s desire.
But something with spurs and a rope
would find us, cursing and yelling on horseback,

cutting us from escape down arroyos,
dragging us frothing and wild-eyed
back to the sun-bleached yellow range,
the same whirlpool of buzzards.

– “Riding Herd” by Walter McDonald

Purpling Grapes and Sky

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold,
Like that which o’er Nineveh’s prophet once grew,
While he waited to know that his warning was true,
And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain
For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain.

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin, — our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

– Excerpt from “The Pumpkin” by John Greenleaf Whittier

Over Fields of Fruitless Corn

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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“Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,
They bow themselves and slumber
All night till light is born ;
And like a soul belated,
In hell and heaven unmated,
By cloud and mist abated
Comes out of darkness morn.”

– Exerpt from “The Garden of Proserpine” by Algernon Charles Swinburne