OF Poems and Rocks

Most mornings, coffee in hand, I open Emily Gibson’s essays and nature photography in Barnstorming: Seeking Sanctuary in the Seasons of a Rural Life. I’ve followed and enjoyed her beautiful, reflective blog for years. So when I heard that she and Whidbey Island poet Lois Parker Edstrom had recently collaborated on a book of ekphrastic poetry, I ordered it before my next meal.

The book arrived a few days ago, and I’ve been keeping company with Almanac of Quiet Days ever since.

It’s a tender book. A peaceful one. And if the term “ekphrastic poetry,” has you scratching your head, let me add that, true to form, these ekphrastic poems draw from literal elements in Emily’s photos and then muse about them, expanding each photo’s potential interpretation. In these pieces, poet Lois comments on time and personal history; rural life and the natural world; relationships, beauty, awe—subjects photographer Emily regularly considers. A perfect poetry form to bring this photographer and this poet together.

You’ll find no dense, cryptic language here. Ms. Edstrom’s straightforward observations make her poems accessible and thought-provoking, even for those who typically dodge other forms of poetry. Their wide appeal, I suspect, led Garrison Keillor to read some of her earlier work on The Writer’s Almanac. Her poems are simple without being simplistic, and they’re peppered with turns of phrase that I found myself repeating and savoring:

“. . . the twine of possibilities. Tug a frayed edge, your life tumbles out.”

“. . . birds tuck their songs into the case of a wing.”

” . . . a filigree of dewdrops. . .”

“. . . black-tipped wings played chromatic scales in octaves of sky. . .”

“. . . wind will page through a catalog of leaves.”

If you’ve ever considered dipping your toes in poetry, spend some time with this book. The water’s warm.


And now for the rocks . . . pics posted earlier this week, most of the craggy Snake River canyon, taken from offshore.

Family outing.

(Rocky Mt bighorn sheep – Hells Canyon)

“He enables me to tread on the heights.”

—Habakkuk 3:19


Lost in translation.

(Petroglyphs, Hells Canyon, ID).”

You are a letter from Christ . . . written . . . with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

—2 Corinthians 3:3


Volcano Art . . . or a music box drum.

(Snake River basalt).

“Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these [people] keep silent, the stones will cry out [in praise]!”

—Luke 19:40 AMP


Waiting for goslings.



And coming your way August 3 . . .

Welcome friends. So glad you’re here!


Watching Nature, Seeing Life: Through His Creation, God Speaks

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Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

8 thoughts on “OF Poems and Rocks

  1. I am so looking forward to picking my Sugar Birds up!! I loved your photos & verses you used showing off the Snake river basin & rock walls. Thank you sweet Cheryl.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Almanac of Quiet Days” looks very interesting. Reminds me
    of another writer I know. Love the rock photos. Are Scott and Penny getting your posts? If not, I would love to forward to them. The family geologist would enjoy these photo’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. . . . the twine of possibilities. Tug a frayed edge, your life tumbles out.” She writes beautifully like you do, Cheryl! Such a memorable turn of phrase. It takes time and a quiet heart and listening ear to paint word pictures like this,

    Liked by 1 person

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