Think…of the world you carry within you.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

 


Lists, by Sarah Elizabeth Burns


 

Green, Green, How I Crave You, Green

 

Green, green, how I crave you, green

new Sword Fern green

first press olive oil in Umbria green

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass green

Chinese jade bracelet green

Allium Gigante’s strong stem green

vert-gris park chairs in Jardin du Luxumbourg green

blackberry bud green

my husband’s green eyes green

watercress salad green

lichen dripping from the trees green

green-and-pink-striped tulip green

matcha tea whisked in Uji green

giant sea kelp undulating green

antique soda bottles lined up in San Telmo green

Coqui frog green

Ivy-covered house in St.Jacut-de-la-Mer green

Brittany’s Emerald Coast green

forest bathing green

Roman fried carcioffi green

swimming in Vieques phosphorescence green

green peppercorn in Hanoi markets green

chrysalis of Monarch Butterfly green

vinho verde with lunch in Ereceira green

British racing green

snorkeling with Green Sea Turtles in Akumal green

grasshopper eating cake in Mary Oliver’s hand green

salsa verde green

northern Lights glowing over Denali green

bamboo forest clacking in Maui breeze green

emeralds blazing next to diamonds green

Oympic Forest in rain green

stepping inside the Volunteer Park Conservatory in winter green

me green oh-so green just ripening green

 
 

 

 

Earth Day, A list of Praise

 

Walking barefoot in the garden in early morning dew

Quietly stepping into a grove of migrating monarch butterflies resting near Santa Barbara, California

Hiking in the Badlands, South Dakota

Peak fall colors near Quebec

Nesting Black-Browed Albatross in the Falkland Islands

Northern Lights over Denali, Alaska

Diving into a perfectly still Lake Okoboji in Iowa

Trekking Fitzroy, Argentina

Listening to Humpback whales breath as I kayak alongside

Assisting a hatchling sea turtle and its siblings in their first run into the ocean in Oaxaca, Mexico

Swimming in Fjords in Greenland

Eating fresh rhubarb pie, picked from my grandmother's garden

First backpacking trip up to Garibaldi Lake in British Columbia with the man who is now my husband

Snorkeling in the Great Barrior Reef

A week-long river rafting trip down the Rogue River in Oregon

Watching the Porcupine Caribou herd migration in the Yukon

Camping in Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite National Parks

Swimming in phosphorescence of Vieques, Puerto Rico

Staring up, up, up at the Sequoias in Muir Woods, California

Watching a lineup of Muskoxen break into a run in Nunavut, Canada

Soaking in Jerry Johnson Hotsprings, Montana in a snowfall with my entire family

Listening to the Loons on a lake in Minnesota

Eating oysters fresh out of the sea in Brittany, France

Eating oysters fresh out of the sea near my home in Washington State

Walking among 50,000 King Penguins on Salisbury Plain on South Georgia Island

Tramping around ferns in Olympic National Park

Taking in the vast sky over the Mongolian Steppe

Listening to Elks bugling in Jasper National Park

Walking at night through a snow-globe snowfall in Big Sky, Montana

Locking eyes with a lynx

Seeing the first magnolia blossom open in my garden.

 

 

 

 

Five Senses Travelogue of England

 

Colors of England

Suffolk’s pink cottages with thatched roofs

Bright yellow fields of rape seed

Honey-colored stone houses in the Cotswolds

Lavender and dark purple lilacs

Purple wisteria

White horse in a green, green field

Red-brown pointer dogs and spaniels

Ivory-colored sheep and the occasional black lamb

Painted pub signs

Green room in Chatsworth House with the hand-painted Chinese wall-paper of birds and vines

Plentiful and vibrantly-colored pheasants in the fields

Warm glow of lights from Dunsley Hall as we walked back in the dusk from Sandsend Beach

Red sky and full moon rising walking back to Easterside Farm from the Hawnby Inn Pub

 

Sounds of England

Tolling church bells

Boys choir at Evensong at King’s College in Cambridge

Lambs bleating in the pastures

Streams rushing through the countryside

Birdsong – so much more than at home

Horses neighing

The absence of traffic noise

Steam train whistle and train wheels on the track

Seagulls in Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Yorkshire coast

 

 

Smells of England

Lilacs

Rain

Grass

Wet lamb

Dung in the pastures

Honeysuckle

Sea air on the coast

Fish and Chips in Whitby

Bacon and eggs and full English Breakfast

Earl Grey or Yorkshire Tea steeping

 

Textures of England

Wind the Willows

Xavier blowing dandelions and tickling his face

Laying in the grass in the meadow by the River Cam after a Sunday lunch at the pub

Walking through the steam from the engine on the train station platform

Sunlight through the ruins of Rieveleaux Abbey

Fine misty rain interspersed with slants of late afternoon sunlight, mud, dripping grand old trees,

Lambs among the sculptures at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Running through a hedge maze at Chatsworth House

Dogs lying at their masters’ feet next to the fire in the pubs

Tweed-clad men of all ages walking with walking sticks and hunting dogs

 

Flavors of England

Cucumber Sandwiches

Welsh Rarebit (glorified cheese on toast)

Scottish Smoked Salmon with scrambled eggs

Chelsea Buns

Wensleydale Cheese

Marmalade

Oatcakes and shortbread cookies

Stinking Bishop cheese

Scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam

Local crisp asparagus

Aspel Cider

Hooky Ale (A “real” ale)

Black Pudding

Wild garlic soup and Lamb shops at the Hawnby Inn

Kippers for breakfast

Toast soldiers with Dippy eggs

Black Sheep Yorkshire Cask Ale

Sautéed samphire (known in America as sea beans)

Brown crab salad and England’s “best fish and chips” at the Magpie in Whitby

Steak and Ale Pie

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Steak and Yorkshire Pudding

 
 

 

Curriculum Vitae

~ With a nod to Lisel Mueller

 

1) I was born on the plains. A city girl from Dakota, I say, laughing. 

2) Second of four children, I had a noisy childhood building forts, swinging from trees, sleeping in a yellow canopy bed and reading stacks of books. 

3) We spent honey-colored summers at a lake cabin, swimming off the dock and having boat picnics.  

4) At Catholic school I was earnest and liked tests. I played well with others. There weren't enough hours in the day to read. 

5) Ballet, tennis, soccer, cheerleading, skiing, French class, editing the newspaper kept me busy sampling personas. I didn't rebel too much, but I dreamt of being reckless.  

6) First love, or what I thought was love. 

7) At eighteen, I went abroad to live in Istanbul. Just as I was gaining confidence I was treated as a fragile princess. 

8) At university, I become more me. Loved and was loved by a good man, but I left him to go love the world. 

9) My education continued on the Grand Tour. I then worked at a London off-license learning the wine trade. I lived on smoked salmon sandwiches, champagne, tea. My friends hung in the Royal Portrait Museum. 

10) Wound up in San Francisco. Heady, serious love affair. Three years of gleeful, careless melee during the internet boom. Rode the wave and, all too predictably, crashed on the shore. 

11) After reading about heartbreak in novels, I suddenly understood personally, physically, to be torn asunder. 

12) Napa Valley interlude. 

13) Ten nomadic years, stepping up for adventures of any kind. Peered around many corners to find me again.  

14) Love walks in the door. A new chapter began involving a lot of time in Canada, a surprisingly beautiful place. O Canada, I was happy to be embraced. 

15) More travels, more poetry, love grows. 

16) South American explorations. Sailed to Antarctica to reinvent myself yet again. Oh Walt Whitman you were right, I do contain multitudes. 

17) Elopement and then proper wedding to a man worth the wait. Life continues to live up to my optimism. 

18) Nine months to experience the wonder of pregnancy and then the awe of birth. A perfect tiny person, a little boy, grew inexplicably underneath my heart. Said heart expands a hundredfold. 

19) Crystallized moments of daily family life, a new home, the joys of writing.  

20) The wide world beckons, Come, come, you have seen nothing yet.

 
 
 

Inventory of Candy, our VW Sportwagon (named for her official manufacturer color "candy white") on a Summer Roadtrip through Washington, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota:

 

1. Camping tent, sleeping bags, pillows, chairs, cook set and my beloved enamel camping mugs.

2. Cold and dry foods including wine, beer and leftover bison from the wedding.

3. Clothes for a variety of occasions:  Wedding parties, hiking, camping, hot days and cool nights. Bathing suits and towels at the ready so we can jump in any swimming hole we pass. Best so far include Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park and Cascade Falls outside Hot Springs.

4. Cheerios, magnetic blocks and books for Xavier's enjoyment, including our favorite "Let's Go For a Drive" by the brilliant Mo Williams. We often sing one of the lines as we go: "Drivey-drive, drivey-drive-drive-drive!"

5. Farm Animal Sound Puzzle which goes off randomly by itself. Xavi says "mmmmm" when we ask him what a cow says. When we ask him what any other farm animal says, be it duck, rooster, pig or horse, he roars like a lion.

6. Radio tuned to country music stations. Best line we've heard so far is "There ain't enough bourbon in Kentucky for me to forget you."

7. Snacks at hand:  dried tart cherries, almonds, Theo dark chocolate, apples, bell peppers. We fill up our thermos and brew jasmine tea at gas stations.

8. Assorted maps, iPad, National Parks guidebook, passport, and brochures I've gathered along the way. Pile of novels and books on cd have not been touched and are taking up valuable space. Two issues of American Cowboy Magazine, which are quite interesting.

9. Instead of two cell phones, now only one - I think I left mine on the top of the car in Deadwood a week ago. Haven't missed it.

10. Three bundles of firewood.

11. Camera.

12. Binoculars.

13. Journal with running lists of a. wildlife seen so far (Black bear, pronghorns, bison, prairie dogs, Big horn sheep) and b. characters to wikipedia when we have cell service (Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickock, Sitting Bull, Black Elk, Crazy Horse, John Bozeman) and details of trip.

14. Cribbage board and deck of cards.

15. Two cowboy hats, a Junior Ranger hat and three pairs of cowboy boots.

16. Flask, at the moment filled with Knob Creek.

17. Wildflower bouquet picked in the Badlands drying on the dash.

18. Souvenirs collected so far:  Lakota Sioux Parfleche box from Crazy Horse Memorial made of bison hide (we are celebrating our third anniversary during this trip and the traditional gift is fittingly leather), Patchwork quilt from the Buffalo Gap Trading Post, Marshall South Dakota badge and derringer cap gun, beaded earrings and three porcupine quills.  It was a struggle to resist, but in the end I did not buy the stuffed porcupine as he was a bit mangy and Christian was a wee bit skeptical about taxidermy fitting in with our decor.  I also declined the cowhide rug when I realized it was shipped in from Brazil.

19. A thin layer of dust from all the dirt roads.

20.  Three very happy people.

 

 
 
 

Be Here Now

A Dakota Epithalamion for Matthew & Rebecca

Prairie

Prairie

Prairie sky

 

Morning

Meadowlark

White rocking chairs

Porch

Trapper’s Cabin

Rebecca, wearing a white cotton nightgown with lace and blue ribbon, reads “I Marry Adventure” in a zebra-bound cover

Matthew, sporting a beard, sips coffee

Cheyenne River

Sun

Wild horses, running

Dust

Wild horses, stopping to turn their faces as one

Tipi

Sundance

Wind

Flyaway Cabin

Women’s Circle

Comet

Men’s Circle

Comet

Stories

Gratitude

Laughter

Flask

Campfire

Stars

Moon rising

Love

Morning

 

Prairie

Prairie

Prairie falcon

 

Sweat lodge

Fire

Prayer

Pine Ridge, where grandmother worked

Horses descended from Crazy Horse’s very own mount

Buffalo Gap Trading Post

Cascade Falls

Swim

Laughter

Sage

Family

Feast

Music

Campfire

Stars

Moon rising

Love

Morning

 

Prairie

Prairie

Prairie dog

 

Magpie

Pronghorn, running

Pronghorn, still

Wind Cave

Bison

Bison calf

Bison herd

Rehearsal

Laughter

Champagne

Shep’s Canyon Cabin

Family

Feast

Campfire

Stars

Northern Lights

Moon rising

Love

Morning

 

Prairie

Prairie

Prairie wind

 

Western Tanager

Foot washing

Ancestors

Prayer for health, vitality, fertility

Antler

Wildflowers

“Be here now,” said the girl at the co-op, looking directly into your eyes

Sun

Shade

Laughter

Gratitude

Cascade Falls

Swim

Wild horses, waiting

Cheyenne River

Sundance

Tree of Life

Waistcoat

Cuff links

Drum

Eagle Feathers

Dance

Ivory Lace

Veil, blowing in the Wind

Old beaded rose garter belt

New Calfskin Boots

Borrowed Necklace

Blue Sapphire earrings

Sixpence

Wildflowers

Call to prayer

Smudging

Water blessing

Freedom

Bison skull

Bison hide blanket

Poem

Song

Blessing

Two Pillars

Vows

Wasna, homemade

Slender gold mobius strip rings

"I marry you for the good of my soul"

Kiss

Ululation

Laughter

Champagne

Champagne Saber

Toasts

Crescent table for 140 guests

Feast

Dancing

"I Want to Be With You Always"

Bunting, homemade

Salsa called Wild Mustang

More toasts

Dancing

Campfire

Poetry

Stars

Moon rising

Love

Morning

 

Prairie

Prairie

Prairie sky