Monday, May 22, 2023

Closing a circle

 Forty-some years ago I was lucky enough to stumble my way into a lifetime adventure born in a graduate studies literature workshop that has, not to overstate the case, taught me some important truths that, well, changed my life.

Truth is, I have a hard time imagining what my life would even be now without having made a couple risky decisions when I was pushing thirty.  By then I figured Life’s tail was there for the grabbing, and if I played it safe and didn’t, as usual for the seventh grade English teacher with a wife & two kids at home that I was, I would come to not like myself as much as the result.  

Saying yes to Life then put me on the first steps of a learning & writing journey that has Emily Dickinson’s beating heart at the center of it all. 

What started in a Dickinson graduate workshop at Wright State back then morphed into a full blown research project that continued innocently enough at the Audubon Ecology Workshop in Maine. Little did I know at the time how Ms. Dickinson and Hog Island would combine to set the stage for that life change.

So much of that story is told in the introduction to my book, Nature’s People: The Hog Island story from Mabel Loomis Todd to Audubon. I do hope you’ll take some time with that amazing story.  About $10 at Apple Books and Kindle, about $20 at Amazon, other on-line book sellers, and your local bookstore after ordering. 

Thinking back on the personal journey, I have to say the most prescient thing I learned is that “things take time.”  Sure, I’ve heard that expression lots and I assumed it true.  But in my case, getting things researched and organized in a pace all my own, there were many days I bitched at myself for not getting more done. Though one delay ran into another, through it all I never doubted the journey.

After starting this narrative blog a couple days ago, I came to think maybe it would be best to put how things feel right now into verse.  With book published, here you go:  

Nature’s People 


closes a circle

opened decades ago

in the time of pursuit

of the Belle of Amherst

where an island in Maine

confirmed occult connections

spanning generations

not yet understanding

the dynamic of self-imposed solitude

with heartfelt affiliation with flowers, 

Sunday morning choristers, 

little children below her window,

and snakes that scared her

to the bone as a little boy in verse, 

communicating the Truth

of the connection of Beings.

Tom Schaefer

on Hog Island

20 May 2023