September 21, 2013
Platte River State Park
by Jeff Grinvalds
Platte River State Park was alive with writers on Saturday. Seventeen Nebraska Writing Project members and friends of NeWP joined together to explore nature and write.
From the heights of the wooden tower to the depths of the mighty Platte River, writers were inspired by the natural and unnatural sights of the state park. They began their journey at the dock of Owen Lake watching the paddle boats and feeling the glorious sunshine while sharing conversation.
They then divided into groups traversing the trails of the park and nearby areas of interest.
Jeff Grinvalds and fellow writers, Maija, Alan and Kristi traveled outside of the park to Soaring Winds Vineyard and Schramm State Park. At the rock wall in Schramm which is home to fossils and millions of years of sediment, Jeff wrote this poem:
Children climb the wall
just above a sign that reads, “No Digging.”
They arrive in search of dinosaurs,
and mammoths, hoping to be the one to uncover
the next new species
the next Sue,
Instead they scratch the surface
never delving below last year’s dust
never reaching the sediment
that would reveal themselves
to the world.
Inside the Platte River State Park, Robert Brooke, Director of the Nebraska Writing Project, tried once again to overcome his fear of heights by climbing the smaller of two towers in the park.
His wife, Kate Brooke, dedicated her writing to the moment:
by Kate Brooke
Alone up here I feel the heat from Robert’s footprints, see nail dents in the evaporating sweaty patches where he gripped the banister; I smell the dissipation of fear and the galvanization of Courage. He made it: Robert reached the top. Four flag poles celebrate his victory, though through years of windy waiting only tatters of two banners proclaim his success. To a waning chorus of cicadas I gaze across the treetops at the Platte, and my heart swells with pride.
Robert wrote this sonnet about his experience in the Peace Garden:
Peace Garden, Scott Lodge, Platte River State Park
by Robert Brooke
Within the limestone rings, the seedpods of mountain ash
swath the autumn blooms and grey-green ferns
in a duff of yellow, brown, and silver flash
by perches where the yearling robins learn.
We rest on benches by the curving gravel arc
our backs to fountains, our face to late day sun;
we read the signs “to honor peach throughout the park”
and dream of times beyond the sound of guns,
When “POW,” across the corn-husked ridge of Turkey Hill
the blast of the new firing range resounds,
a sonic hymn to rifle, war, and flack,
and camo’d ROTC warriors step and crack
(our dog’s a panting mess of quaking hound)
and peace, I fear, remains a mere dream still.
All in all, it was another splendid day ending in a read-around at Chokecherry Cabin and a Potluck celebration feast which followed.