October Stone Journal, by Evelyn Lang (Deerfield, N.H.: Turtle Pond Books, 2005). 60 pages, 8.5" x 5 .5", perfectbound. ISBN 0-9767298-TXT. $15 postpaid from the author at 111 Nottingham Road, Deerfield, NH 03037.
October Stone Journal is a book about "place” and what it means to immerse oneself in one — in Evelyn Lang’s case, the depth of the Vermont woods and years later a slightly more populous rural New Hampshire. The book is part Walden and part Kacian’s Six Directions, but where Kacian tried to reconcile himself to his woods, Lang takes hers as a blessing to be acknowledged but never taken … not even intellectually. She writes, "Unlike Emerson — we did ‘know what a bargain we were buying in the sublime mornings and sunsets.’ We already knew the sounds of the wind in the pines — the robin song — the red squirrel scolding — the smell of the sun on cedar trees — the red hawk soaring in a clear blue sky — and always, through every season, the companionable presence of Mt Mansfield to the west.”
in the clearing —
moose tracks tracking
yesterday’s boot prints
The book’s haiku are for the most part contained in haibun-like sketches where they echo the prose with feelings of awe. What is understood in the prose is felt in the poetry.
meadow to moon
and back again
rattle of sleet
iris pods still
holding their seed
Lang’s prose has a joyful quality like a child ever pointing out new discoveries, and her haiku are delightful. We are fortunate to be able to tag along.