tree lawn, front lawn, home, backyard – in that order
One summer garden = zucchini abundance, asparagus dearth, too many tomatoes
I grew up seeing green from my window not realizing
how and when this would become a lifetime requirement.
trails, hills, woods, stony beaches
mountains, meadows, lakes, streams
Give me all of these
they belong to who I am.
feels like that’s always been me
but I’m not a hiker/ mountain biker/backpacker
I’m an attendee, if you will.
One who shows up in nature
I listen and look and pause
how I got here
AT A TIME LIKE THIS
There are not enough of the right words
why it matters and what it means to be Black and claim the outdoors, the great outdoors as one’s own, as part of one’s being, as central to one’s every breath and thought. Hanif Abdurraqib has 13 poems with the same title “How Can Black People Write Poems About Flowers At A Time Like This” and each one is so exquisitely distinct. Black people and flowers match up for funerals in the popular imagination maybe, or for Easter hats and brilliant attire. At A Time Like This which has become every time all the time, when, oh when, would Black folks ever have time for flowers? At A Time Like This when might we take pause to contemplate a flower’s beauty and complexity, meditate on flowers’ metaphorical bounty. Apparently that is not for us. There are not enough of the right words to explain. You wonder at this. Or you don’t. Maybe you’ve never seen Black folks striding out into the woods, along the river bank, up the mountain trail; sitting cross-legged around the campfire, as natural. Because our bodies in open, green and spectacularly floral spaces can so readily be misconstrued unless they are laboring on what you presume must be
someone else’s land.
What Outdoorsy Means & For Whom
Not everyone who spends time outdoors can be
Outdoorsy qualifies and codifies belonging:
read price tag
read middle class and up
No one calls the homeless outdoorsy
or migrant farm workers outdoorsy.
Outdoorsy is a fashion line,
Outdoorsy completes a dating profile;
Hot or not, it means what it means.
I love the outdoors and I am not outdoorsy.
Places I Have Seen With My Own Eyes That Have Also Seen Me (A Visual Poem)
A life that holds promise
like a delicate bouquet
requests the pleasure of your company
in a vision of nature
happening wherever you are/ I am/we be.
Claim it children,
chase it children,
be gentle children,
Let it be.
Let us be
This blog post is part of the #31DaysIBPOC Blog Challenge, a month-long movement to feature the voices of indigenous and teachers of color as writers and scholars. Parisa Mehran and Alison Collins have entries today as well. Please CLICK HERE to read yesterday’s blog post by Janelle W. Henderson (and be sure to check out the link at the end of each post to catch up on the rest of the blog circle).
All images belong to the author, Sherri Spelic, @edifiedlistener