"Mathematics is the supreme nostalgia of our time."
~Michael Marcus

Nature hates calculators.
~RW Emerson

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.
~e.e. cummings

Nature is a writer's best friend.
~Agavé Powers



Three Stories by Craig

There are four seeds of that summer in my mind and, perhaps, in fact, if I went back and could put my larger feet down over where I’d stepped before, four steps in a circle, and now: to my life—so that the shadows, the spaces, the stepoints themselves are still clear to me, despite the fuzz around the edges. Writing this now, I realize I’m still walking that round—an extreme case, maybe—of reliving.  My pitiful choice or not, we all do it a bit and so are all pitiful relivers.  I could turn around but still be in the same circle plot, just now, and then, grown up and old from the seeds of a hundred years ago.

Bark 2
Hard stuff can remake itself while it lives or can be remade if the pieces can be found when dead.  I’m thinking of skeletons.  I was not dismayed or disgusted by the Carmelite bones in the crypt chapel, the chandeliers made from femurs or the skull candle-holders.  I found it funny—but also sweet and practical.  After all, we might as well get some use out of the dead who outnumber us by scores. We don’t have to know which fingers wrote which prayers to use them to brush our own dead teeth.

Rose of Sharon Bud
In “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” the one from the 70s, Donald Sutherland shovel-smashes open the head of his plant double only to find receding head, a head like a Russian nesting doll.  And so like you, as there doesn’t seem to be any center to you at all—other than maybe smaller yous.  Or smallest, smallest, most little you.  You see, you always see my point, and take my part so calmly.  Is this what you were like before I loved you?  Jesus, you sleep there like a plant.  What is it I give off that keeps you fresh?

Leaf 3

Three Stories by Stephen

Two Leaves
The mother felt the waves of the ceiling fan hit her forehead as she held her child. She held him like she had held him every night, singing songs of concrete hope and absolution. He hummed them in the morning when she was not there. He sang them with her when she was. He knew that he was sick. He felt it. So she sang and he listened. He listened to the echoes of her voice as he traveled down the valley of her pale skin. He knew her every inch, and knew that every inch of her was true.


2 Pronged Leaf Fail
The smell of orange peels was in the air. He looked to the left. Darkness. Looked to the right. The setting sun seeped through thick forest shrubs. The smell of orange had reminded him of the slices of oranges his mother had always put on her orange gelatin molds. Orange filled the air as soft winds encompassed the wood. As the image of his crying mother flashed before him, orange flashes of pain seeped through his skin.

He continued walking as the blowing wind hardened, and the violent chirping of birds flew from his left to his right. Almost immediately, the image of a sculpture of an eagle feeding it's baby eagles a smaller bird was before him. He felt the pain of the small bird in the mouth of the eagle.


The spear entered his chest from behind. Firm legs bent under the pressure of his pain. He grasped the earth with his hands, and pushed himself toward the black sky. He saw nothing, but kept running. He let out a deep sigh as he tripped onto his side. He reached to touch the broken wood inside him, but felt nothing. His breathe weakened, and there was no more earth beneath him. He was not falling, but floating. Interspersed into blackness, all he could think of was the smell of rain. The heavy scent of crisp spring rain. Drop by drop, he felt it seep from the top of his head and down his spine.


Two by Sela

Hunger Pangs--Like a Room Where the Ceiling Keeps Receding
(taken from the spiraling sound of the screeching owl)

hug again.
kiss hug again.
hunger again kiss again.
hunger kiss hunger hug again.
kiss hug kiss hunger kiss again.
hug hug hug hug hug hug again.
again hug hug hug hug hug hug.
again kiss hunger kiss hug kiss.
again hug hunger kiss hunger.
again kiss again hunger.
again hug kiss.
again hug.


(taken from the leaf with three sections)

Brother 1
Bright boy. Mathematically minded. Rough around the edges and easily upset or angered. Fond of feeling the sun on his muscles. He knew just how to tie the knots.

Brother 2
Dreamy. Head in comics or helmets. Laughing, puddles tears in his dimples. Fond of love affairs and spicy food. He found her and did her up, drove them in his SUV and chose the music, kissed her glossy lips.

Brother 3
The late bloomer. Looks like Brother 1 but smaller in voice and frame. Fond of places of worship and coffee shops. Likes to take things from strangers. He’s the one who blessed her and pushed her in.

Rose of Sharon

Three by Lyle

Quick Stories based on ecosystemwriting.blogspot.com images

Story # 1 (Three Pointed Leaf)

Stan worked for a man who worked for a man, etc. who told this story.

He was out on his tractor one May morning when he ran over a rattlesnake. It’s fangs actually punctured a tire. A tractor tire! Get down to fix it and come to find just feet in front of the grill a baby crawling through the soy bean sprouts. The kid was covered in sores, blisters, but he was moving too fast to catch and him being scared of rattlesnakes. Come to find out later that there’s a man living in those woods just beyond the field, Stan said. Quicker than a rattlesnake.

We gazed out over the field and threw our beer cans into the bed of the pickup. After a few more beers we we were challenging each other to run barefoot through that field. The rattlesnake field. The baby field. In the pitch dark. Not a star in the sky. Two of ‘em disappeared, butt naked, crooning at each other in the dark. That’s when we heard howling. Not coyots, but a human-like cry — plaintive. Forlorn. Distant. Those two came screeching out of that field, peckers slapping against their thighs. They had to run down the road after us we were in the truck so fast. Drank at bars for a while after that.

But then we went back. And I feel sorry for that rattlesnake baby. Man. Nothing to do in this down but drink beer and tell stories.

Story #2 (Rose of Sharon)

The cocoon on the window sill seems forlorn, blue, if that’s possible. I’ve been home for two months as Dad dies in the bedroom upstairs. The house contains just the two of us, mummified in memories. I’d just cleaned him up when I came downstairs and saw the cocoon on the outside window sill. Could it just be a flower bulb instead? Reminds me of the tulips Sam and I planted up in Seattle. Is it dead, Mom? he asked me. No, sweetie, just sleeping. It’ll come back up in spring. That’s what I should have said. Maybe I did. I don’t remember. Just the tulip bulb so dead looking. I miss him. Miss my dad. My mom, a long time gone. Everything in life is pain or loss or being awy from someone you love. But still there is that cocoon at this moment. I can’t help but wonder if it’s dead too. I trace my index finger along the glass and then stoop closer. I feel so old. When did I start getting old? It’s wrinkled and brown, not purple — a trick of the light, but that too is life for you. Something always tricking you. I think I hear Dad on the baby monitor. He’s sleeping, though, when I go up. The window sill is empty when I come back.

Story #3 (Double Leaf)

Around the dog-eared corners of afternoon, when the heat was simmering and the humidity had built all day long, the time of day when he thought the most about drinking, he sat at the window facing north and thought also about writing a letter to her. They hadn’t been in touch for quite some time. Since she broke up with him, he supposed. Outside a hummingbird dipped its beak into the flowers on the Pride of Barbados. Magnificent, the stillness, though their wings beat beat beat, and the shock of orange and yellow of flowers. Paper, he mused. In his desk, underneath a sheaf a letter wedged into the seam of the drawer. The letter she had written all those years ago. He took it out and read:

“You’re a pompous ass, but I love you. Can’t you see that? Last night at the Liberty Bar, I was trying to tell you that, but you wouldn’t let me. I wanted to cram an asparagus spear right in your eye. “But what’s wrong with me?” you kept asking, over and over, incredulous. But you probably don’t remember that. Do you remember how many pints of Guinness you had? No? Sigh. I can’t be with you this way, love.”

He remembered it all so clearly: the white linen napkins and tablecloths, so clean, not even the stains of meals. He remembered the thick heady Guinness, the feeling of loneliness. He couldn’t remember what she looked like though. A terrible letter, he thought and laid the envelop back and put the sheaf of paper back and watched the sky darken. That was a long time ago. Then he got up to get himself a drink.

Bark 2

Peregrine Falcon calls by Stephen

They lay on park benches and stare at the night sky, moving constellations with their fingertips to build their own version of the galaxy. Lips touched lips for the first time that night. Touched foreheads. Necks. Mostly lips.

She had loved everything about him. The smell of his musky cologne. The way he sang songs he didn't know the words to. The way he sighed, eyes closed, as she brushed through his hair with her fingertips.

She told him she loved him during a basketball game. It was not romantic. It was not expected. She interrupted his screams at the tv. He glared at her, and then back at the tv, quietly replying, "me too."

He saw her in the produce aisle. His eyes were on her. Hers were on the rows of eggplant before her. Shy threads of emotion could be seen in her dark eyes. The violet bulbs had reminded her of her favorite nailpolish shade, purple rain. She had thought of this color as he approached her and pretended to compare eggplant sizes beside her. She knew what he wanted. He knew too.


She peeled my orange today, before I had even asked her to. She could have at least waited.

I didn't call her this morning. I wanted to see how she would take it, and I haven't talked to her all day. I miss her laugh.

When she asked me what I thought about marriage, I didn't know what to say. I played with the buttons on my shirt, and it was as if the cieling was receding. I told her that I didn't like the idea of marriage. Honesty is hard when it isn't what people don't want to hear.

I like this new order of things. We meet for lunch Mondays and Wednesdays. Eat dinner thursdays. I call her in the morning. She calls in the evening.

I think I've memorized the shape of her body. I'm trying to decide whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.


I just want to hold him again.

I realized I had stopped loving him in the middle of dinner. He was eating his pasta, the way he eats pasta, cutting it into bitesized pieces before devouring the plate in two minutes. I had thought about our entire relationship prior to that moment, and I laughed.

He's so helpless sometimes. I can't stand his puppy dog eyes when he doesn't have the balls to ask me for help.

I've been at his apartment for a week. We stopped taking turns cooking, mostly because he can't cook.

Leaf 4

Stories from Birdsong by Craig

Frank was wondering how many freckles he had when he was a baby—something he couldn’t know—as there were no exact extreme close-ups of his nose, say, to give him any facescape to extrapolate from. There was the knowledge that freckles increase with age, with exposure to the sun. With worry? No. But had there been few? And had they attracted or repelled? And when? Unlike wrinkles, they did nothing for the shape of his eyes and were not said to contribute anything to his character or relationships, unmaking him more unknowable. Even his choice of handkerchief said more. The freckles marked him but didn’t.

Tracy wondered how he might screw with people in the Treasurer’s Office men’s room without getting caught. It was a personal and serious project of his first summer of work.

The pencils in the office had a treasury logo embossed on them so the pencils whose points stuck in the ceiling came from the drug store, purchased at little but some expense. Specifically, Tracy but no one else knew that a pencil could not be snapped up into the ceiling until it had written a new and unique slang term for penis on the wall-side side of the third toilet stall from the sink.

Wet balled-up paper towels joined the pencils in flat smashed flowers, appearing somewhat like jellyfish heads. And, what with the pressure within the pathological to claim credit for their effulgences, Tracyoutlined his own ears on his reflection in the mirror so that what appeared to be widely-spaced parentheses of blankness were really a sort of signature and giveaway that could hang only one head.

The other clue lay hidden under his shirt on his belly, on which lay a strange W scar which Tracy liked to think meant Whack! or Weird or Whatever but had been meticulously, and at considerable pain, pinched in place to brand the first letter of his old girlfriend Wendy’s name above his guts.

Since this was a men’s room there was a delay in doing anything about Tracy’s project, which might have been thwarted sooner had women had to sit with it for any length of time. No, the project grew until visitors were forced to screw in loosened light bulbs to reveal new additions to the scene.

Since this light bulb screwing was the kind of work that couldn’t be reasonably deferred, the janitorial crew dismantled the whole enterprise in a fell swoop from five to seven p.m. on Wednesday, June eighth, nineteen eighty-three.

Grace had expected to be picking up trash by the roadside with a deadly spiked stick but when she arrived that morning a fat and sweaty parole officer handed her a cane with a lever the business end of which politely grasped each trashlet surprisingly gently but firmly toward it’s deposit point in a large black plastic bag. She was disappointed.



Leaf 2