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February 03, 2007


The following is a list of words (with help from Barry Lopez' Home Ground) that I associate with my home. I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of Central New York State. This is a beautiful rolling countryside that was shaped by glacial forces. I am still deeply connected with the region and my time there continues to influence my creative output. These are all words that I use when describing or talking about my home region. They are intimately embedded in the geography of the land and of my memories. There is a bit of a poem at the end about a particular kind of ice I have not seen anywhere else. 


Hanging valley, terminal moraine, drumlin, oxbow, slough, ripple, eddy, rapid, falls, pool, hole, bend, sluice, gulf, gorge, glen, creek, pond, lake, inlet, swamp, hollow, ledge, pothole, pasture, hedgerow, woods, trail, field dump, bottomland, riparian, oak, maple, beech, ash, poplar, willow, spruce, hemlock), hill, ridge, point, rim, dog-leg, run (monkey, rabbit), keyhole, brook (Lick), flashflood, snag, patch, stand, wetland, ditch, swimming hole (Halseyville, gentleman’s lunch, Potter’s falls, double secret, triple secret), spring, woodlot, fork, bog, cut, cutback and point bar, cut-off, oxbow, neck, meander, swale, meander scar, whitewater, flatwater, bank, till, drift, glacial erratic, grade, runoff, seep, sill, bowl, artesian, cone of the falls, shelf, “…eroding a cutoff across the neck of a meander, it leaves behind…a meander scar.” William DeBuys,  nick point, nook, outcrop, plunge pool, quarry, race, scarpfoot spring, scree, talus, shore, stream, woodland, grove, windbreak, ditch, gully, cutback, hairpin, wetland, dale, tree tip pit, till (glacial), back forty, lower forty, acre, beaver dam, beaver pond, log jam, beaver trail, deer trail, bedrock, berm, blow down, chute, falls and plunge pool, spathe and spadex, cut bank and point bar, sticks, boonies, east bum fuck, boondocks, Podunk, root wad and tree tip pit, gulch, levee, sandstone, shale, slate, granite, schist, gneiss, quartz, basalt,

blue-green-red-brown-black ice, the ice that forms when the falls freezes before it reaches the plunge pool, the ice that flows over the cone at the base of the falls, that meanders, and bends with tiny cutbacks and point bars, ice jams and breakthroughs, flash floods, oxbows, fast freezing and damming, backing up, flooding forming new micro flows that repeat the process in infinite variation a microcosmic re-iteration of creation as the cone grows higher and wider reaching for the nick point through confounding mist in the dead of winter.

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