By Sarah Welch, HLT Community Engagement Coordinator and TerraCorps service member
On a cold October morning last year, I met local poet JuPong Lin for the first time at the Conwell trailhead in Worthington. We spent the next two hours in deep conversation as we traversed the public trails, observing the signs of the season. A tiny mushroom here, the brilliant autumn sun reflected in the pond there. Stories about her family and my former students interwove with moments of noticing the land and all its beings.
I was deeply touched when I read the first poem JuPong produced for our chapter in the upcoming Writing the Land: Windblown I anthology. In “This Hilltown Pond,” she wrote about our walk from a place of such tender care and curiosity. She even mentioned the smallest mushroom we oohed and aahed over on the trail! When JuPong read “This Hilltown Pond” aloud at HLT’s Volunteer Celebration this past April, I could tell how much her words also resonated with our volunteer community, as they stood listening next to the titular pond while a light snow fell.
One year since our first meeting, we are thrilled to announce the upcoming launch of Writing the Land: Windblown I. In addition to “This Hilltown Pond” [scroll down to read the full poem], our chapter in this anthology contains two more stunning poems by JuPong, richly illustrated writings about the Conwell Property. The volume also contains contributions from other poets and conservation organizations across the country.
I had so much fun writing, drawing, and collaborating with JuPong to honor a beloved place. I hope you enjoy what we created!
HLT Engagement Manager Katie Carr adds, “Sarah is not one to boast, so I wanted to note how spectacular her contributions are to this project. The lovely pen-and-ink illustrations, descriptions, and hand-drawn map perfectly complement JuPong’s moving poetry.”
Please join us in celebrating the launch of Writing the Land: Windblown I on Saturday, November 19th at 2 pm. Spaces are limited! Register now on our website to reserve your spot.
You can purchase your copy of Writing the Land: Windblown I on our website as well for $20. Local pickup available or we can ship for an additional cost.
This Hilltown Pond
By JuPong Lin
In the shade of fungus festooned
hemlock and pine
foxfire blued twigs and tender
trickling of a stream
melting mysteriously into moist
leafy soil hushes
our happy chatter
a wooden stool
perched at the edge of a
so inviting our feet slow to
breathe in sweet mycelial air
reflected at our toes
A stone wall calls us off trail—built
by Pocumtuc or Nipmuc?
or white settlers? We listen for the
I read that people of the
wore sacred Haploporus odorus beads
mushroom medicine in this place
near the Kwinitekw?
Who’s harmed by overharvest of
this good medicine?
Bright orange globs of witch’s butter
tiny white buttons
dusty puff balls, all manner of mushrooms
everywhere. We walk around
a decaying tree hosting
patches of jelly and bracket
fungi. My companion
earth lover and teacher
points to a dying tree.
“If I were a porcupine I’d be all
over that nook”
she says, stepping over the
“You have to let go of any ego
walking with kids.”
Mushroom Matt knows more at
old than her at 27.
I spy a tiny, lone,
mushroom. We gasp in awe, smiles
wide as skyworld.
When I return let’s walk
remember these new fungi friends
vow to listen
more deeply to them and their land.