About My First Book Horizons and How to Order

Introducing My First Poetry Book, "Horizons"

  My first poetry book, Horizons (Atmosphere Press)  AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND AUDIOBOOK NOW!! SEE BELOW TO ORDER!!!! Embark on a captivat...

Thursday, August 24, 2017


It is an evening in late June, and I am restless.  E is lazing on the couch, enjoying his immobility and the cacophony on the television; he is soon to be snoring.  I am too agitated to read, and the weather just happens to be beautiful.  So I drive to the local park, where the Cowboy Trail begins, a recreational route that reaches over 300 miles westward to the Nebraska panhandle.  Of course, I mean only to walk a couple of miles; perhaps one mile out and then back again.  I lock everything in the trunk of my car, including my mobile phone, and stuff my car key in the only place a woman can when she has no pocket.
            There aren’t many people on the trail, but most of them are friendly, and smile or say “hi” as we pass each other.  In this small city, people are usually in such a hurry they barely notice others are even around; in the small town where I moved from, we wave at each vehicle and person who crosses our paths.  The reactions of people on this trail prompt a nostalgia for my old neighborhood.  I am soon lost in my own thoughts. 
            I begin studying my surroundings.  I am an agronomist.  I have the responsibility of scouting almost 2,000 acres of crop ground spread over 100 miles for critters, pests, diseases, weeds, dry soil; anything out of the ordinary.  I am trained to observe the nuances in plant growth.  I have just established a herbicide-management plan for various soybean fields, and weeds are on my mind.  I begin identifying the plants along the side of the path.  Giant ragweed.  Lamb’s ear.  Curly doc.  Ditch weed.  I realize I have walked past the first mile, past the wooded area, past the meadow, past the wetlands.  My view expands out to the corn and soybean fields now in my midst.  I’ve walked 3 miles already, and I turn to go back. 
            I think it curious that we value a plant when it is where we want it, and endeavor to extinguish it when it grows out of our boundaries.  We call them weeds.  We pull them, spray them, mow them.  We curse their little leaves when they peek through the soil somewhere we just quite frankly don’t want them to be.  A corn plant in a corn field growing aggressively is a good thing, but put that same plant in a soybean field, and we bring out the corn knife.  An amethyst colored, trumpet shaped flower blossoming on a vine that climbs up a garden wall is a welcome ornament for a horticulturist designing landscaping or someone who wishes to appreciate color and languish on an adjacent bench, but name it morning glory to a farmer and watch it curl around the crops, choking and suffocating his livelihood, and we speak of chemicals and tillage—we want to burn it or rip it out.  Kill it.  Remove it.  Stifle growth. 
            Is it not humankind that makes plants this way?  Nature will create her own soil, leaving the plants to grow as they may, their seeds to wander about and happen to land on fertile earth.  Nature plans for diversity; a prairie has many species growing within.  WE create the weeds.  One kind of a plant was not meant to completely dominate a single area of land.  WE decide plants do not belong wherever they grow, and decide to kill them.  Which is fine for plants.  We need to eat, and we eat what they grow.  We need to cultivate the soil, borrow it from Mother Nature for a while, in order to civilize ourselves and settle down.
            Not so with people. 
            Why do we treat people as weeds?  We categorize each other, create borders and boundaries, group each other and stick to those just like us.  We are fields—a monoculture of fellow “plants” that we grow with.  Anyone different, that doesn’t fit in, we “weed” out.  We chastise them, push them away, encourage them to move on and find their own group.  Our hatred and dissention are our herbicides, the chemicals we use on one another. 
            Variety is scary.  Differences are strange.  Learning how we grow and how “our kind” are taken care of is quite enough, thank you.  Leave those who don’t fit in our mold on the side of the road to fend for themselves already.  Just look at the average high school—jocks with jocks, nerds with nerds, the outcast to cluster with each other, the popular cheerleaders clique only with the chosen ones.  You don’t see the grease monkey dating a model, or a poet languishing over a football player.  The thespian doesn’t join the math club, and the chess club president doesn’t engage in wrestling. 
            What if we were to grow as a prairie does; celebrate that Mother Nature is creative and artistic and easily bored with the same thing?  Let’s mix our bunch grasses and daisies and wildflowers, our strawberry stolons and annuals and biennials and perennials.  See where that takes us.  Why do we need such gated boundaries, such permanent lines in the earth?   This is not to say we need to accept the noxious weeds; the ones that parasitize and dominate and feed on others.  But if we expand our understandings beyond our front doors, start tolerating our differences, appreciating our personal nuances, we night just find a more beautiful world.  Take “weed” out of the human dictionary, and we all can be a part of the landscape. 
            I found in my musings that the corn and soybean fields had turned back into the wetlands, the meadow, the wooded area.  The trail’s ecosystems transitioned well into one another, and I am once again at the trail head.  I have come full circle, as it may; or gone out and come back again.  But perhaps I’m not precisely in the same place I was before.  Perhaps the world has changed, if just that little enough to create a new perspective. 

Julie SE Paschold

August 23, 2017