ICYMI #009: The growing season.


The growing season.
ICYMI no. 009  |  March 2021

Welcome to ICYMI Monthly. Every month, we feature four essays and two craft pieces handpicked by our editors.

In our 25+ years, Creative Nonfiction has published hundreds of original works, most of which have never been available online. Now we're sharing some of our best writing with you. Happy reading!

ESSAY  |  CNF #51, Sustainability (2014)

A resourceful group of farmers outside of Chicago is trying to transform one of the poorest parts of the country into a new Garden of Eden 

“Johari Cole-Kweli points to a line diagonally bisecting her five-acre field—a line only someone who knows the field intimately can see. On one side of the line, the soil is almost pure sand; on the other, it’s rich black loam, a unique mix. ‘Something about that mix made this ridge of soil more fertile,’ she says. She wants to find out why.” Read →

ON CRAFT  |  CNF #65, Science & Religion (2017)

Looking up from our screens and going for a walk may be our salvation

“Our faces are buried, and I don’t mean in the sand. They’re snuggled into our machines these days as we scroll and click and finger type away. We travel into virtual lands, disconnecting from the three-dimensional one around us. I worry that we’re no longer able to walk in this world and communicate with each other one-on-one.” Read →

ESSAY  |  CNF #70, Home (2019)

IMMORTAL OGALLALA  |  Mallory Barnes
In the Texas Panhandle, every season is drought season

“The Ogallala Aquifer feeds over 12 million acres of land across 174,000 square miles, which stretch from Texas to South Dakota. Perhaps it was the grandeur of the aquifer that originally led to an idea of immortality; there had always been water, so there would always be more water.

The truth, though, is that natural rain recharge cannot keep up with withdrawal demand in the Great Plains’ semiarid climate. In recent years, severe drought has exacerbated the depletion and forced farmers and homeowners in the panhandle region to pull up their well pipes and drill a little deeper into the ground in search of water.” Read →

ESSAY  |  CNF #7, Points of View (1996)

TWO JUNES  |  Maxine Kumin
A garden is one way to measure time

“June was approaching and with it, my seventieth birthday. They wanted to give me a party, the grown children. I was horrified. At three score and ten, who needs a big party full of one’s progressively enfeebled contemporaries raising their glasses to propose sloppy toasts?

Well, what do you want, they said rather crossly.

What I really wanted—I had known this for several increasingly arthritic years—was a new garden.” Read →

ON CRAFT |  CNF #65, Science & Religion (2017)

Just going through the motions can be a rich source of inspiration

“The power of ritual is what drew me back, more than anything, to practicing a traditional faith. I’d tried other ways of being spiritual and religious, but it wasn’t until I stepped back into a Catholic church where schoolchildren were walking the Way of the Cross that I felt I had entered a space where I could worship. Hearing all their young voices enunciating Scripture in unison, I felt something that I had long forgotten in my years outside of the Church, a feeling that was something like home and a little tribal. But it wasn’t only nostalgia.” Read →

ESSAY  |  CNF #61, Learning from Nature (2016)

Our changing environment poses numerous threats. Some, like too many sunny days, are deceptively pleasant

“On a warm morning last March, my friend Sally showed me how a post at her gate had been torn up, as if gouged with a screwdriver. Four feet of pressure treated wood, now splintered, that I chipped at with a fingernail. Sally didn’t have to explain what had happened. I knew right away that mountain lions had used the post in the middle of the night to sharpen their claws. Meaning that, only hours earlier, mountain lions, also called cougars, had been right there, nearly to the door of Sally’s house on the McKenzie River in Oregon, a couple of miles from my own.” Read →

#cnftweet  |  Twitter Daily Contest

@ohhsusannah: “When was the last time an external factor brought me joy?” I said to the mild air that brushed my bare wrists as I walked to the store. No deep work, no exercise, no controlled substances, no effort. Just a bloom of good. I took a clipping and carried it home.
11:55 AM · Mar 9, 2021

@KTGanfield: A day of rain reveals all that hid under the snows: masks bleached palest blue, one pink clog, a polka dot sock, tufts of synthetic turf. Far too early for flowers here, so my eyes accept these bits of color, greedy as they are for growing things.
9:57 AM · Mar 11, 2021

@shuniahwriter: In Oklahoma, we measured Spring vertically: the green shoots of crocus and daffodils poking through dirt. In Ontario near Lake Superior, I measure Spring horizontally: the accumulating area of deck boards exposed between snowstorms.
11:28 AM · Mar 11, 2021

Thanks for reading!

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