Finding poetry on the land

Writing group meets for inspiration in Fairfield’s largest nature park
By Samuel James Adams

October can be a bare month for Patwino Worrtla Kodoi Dihi Open Space Park, but signs of life abounded as the visiting poets contemplated the land’s still, quiet things.

People find inspiration in all seasons in the land you have protected. Karen Tollinger found it in a magical collaboration between fungus and algae happening here.

“Lichen clings, dried paste
Upon the stones where we perch…”

Poetry is a practice of appreciation and attention. On permanently conserved land, people like Karen develop their skills, find new insights, and connect to a thousand-year tradition of expressive language.

These writers are always looking for locales that serve their craft. They found one here. And many others will after the park opens fully to the public in 2023.
Karen joined a dozen other writers for an event organized by Suzanne Bruce, the current Poet Laureate of Fairfield. Billed as a Hike and Write, this hike helped carry out the mission to engage the public in the art of poetry by bringing poets into the company of ancient oaks and playful acorn woodpeckers.

"These trees,
in stillness, move me to humble veneration."

As a poetical war-up, members of the group pronounced the name of the park, then took turns reading Wordsworth’s “Daffodils” and poems by Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry. The teeming flowers of that poem weren’t in season, but as the sun rose, a Northern flicker provided a stunning show of color.

Docent Jim Hanser used an app to confirm its birdcalls. Identification has gotten easier since Wordsworth’s time, and it doesn’t hurt that the All People’s Trail offers a comprehensive tour of the some of the land’s most scenic points.

At the top of the trail, the group gathered under a large live oak and have a mindful moment before breaking to eat lunch and write.

"…the Live Oak
still carry the full burden of leaves.
Shadows over the picnic tables."
(Dawn Ramm)

The group wrote material they generously shared and discussed making another visit in spring for the wildflowers. They scribbled new species in their notebook, photographed new vistas, and experienced pleasures that poetry and the outdoors can bring: the joy of seeing something new or looking up and seeing something familiar differently.

"A patient moon seen high above brings grace to the day…"
(Mattie Peckenham0)

Here’s to many years of inspired daytime moon-watching on the lands you love!

We hope this is just the start of this park’s role in the creativity of your community. Do you have an artistic activity you would like to see pursued with a group on our open spaces? Are there activities or lessons you would like to see offered at Patwino Worrtla Kodoi Dihi Open Space Park or other Solano Land Trust Open Spaces? Please write for suggestions.