The sky promised everything from brilliant sun to blizzards. Norma Funai, poet, long-time tour leader for the Land Trust and 2009 Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Volunteer, guided me, a Land Trust newcomer through Indian Ford Meadow Preserve. I knew as she spoke and I listened, as we stood quietly at the edge of the shining meadow, as neither of us had to translate our words and ideas for the other, that we were making something.
Later, we ate lunch and told stories about land and connection, about teaching and learning. Norma leads bird and nature tours for children with the Land Trust. She told me about loving rocks and how she teaches children about them. She brings rocks from her own collection, gives each child a rock to hold and learn, then takes the rocks back. She then asks the children to close their eyes and hold their hands behind their backs. She gives the first child standing in a line a rock and tells them to pass it along if it isn't their rock. “Each child always knows which rock is his or hers.” Norma’s eyes shine. “And, they get to keep their rock at the end of the game. They always want to keep them.”
The sky had darkened outside the little cafe window. Norma drove me back to my car and sent me on my way. Delicate snowflakes drifted across my windshield. The sun glowed through the clouds. I thought of Norma and Indian Ford Meadow and the wise children. I knew a poem was making itself in my mind.
When I returned home, I emailed Norma and suggested we collaborate on a poem. Here, for you to hold in the palms of your hands, is our poem.
Indian Ford Meadow
The shapes of the land bring our eyes and thoughts together
releasing the love we both feel for nature's gifts
sharing stories of life we follow a new path
anticipating what's around the next bend.
She leads the way into the dark trees. I follow.
We step out onto the edge of the meadow.
Storm on the mountains.
When she speaks, I see the doe and the bear; the nuthatches and the sanctuary.
Velvety green moss on an ancient chunk of basalt,
shares it's home with grey leathery lichen.
tiny holes in a tall snag, roosting spot for tiny birds
we ponder the wonder of nature
Small is exquisitely beautiful, large is magnificent.
Later we talk of the heart's home
of flowing water
of teaching children
how a little girl or boy can hold a stone in their hands
and learn about treasure
how a grown women or man can write