From the book:

Instructions for the Hydrologic Cycle

Listen to the water

running in the kitchen sink

as your partner does the dishes.

Imagine its path

through pipes to the

treatment plant,

its release into Spring Creek,

Juniata River, Susquehanna,

its progress to the Chesapeake Bay.

Imagine oysters and crabs,

then the ocean, and the sun

pouring down

and vapors rising.

Imagine the formation of clouds,

changing shapes (you can make

a game of this), the winds

chasing clouds landward,

the ascent of mountain slopes

to cooler air,

the resulting condensation,

the snow drifting down,

the melt, the percolation

through soil, the uptake

through roots and the release

of transpiration through plant leaves.

The project is complete

when you take a drink

of water and taste it.

Go ahead—you can

do it now.

For free.

You might also help

with the dishes.

Ian Marshall is a professor of English and Environmental Studies at Penn State Altoona. A former president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, Ian is the author of four books: Story Line: Exploring the Literature of the Appalachian Trail (Virginia, 1998); Peak Experiences: Walking Meditations on Literature, Nature, and Need (Virginia, 2003); Walden by Haiku (Georgia, 2009); and Border Crossings: Walking the Haiku Path on the International Appalachian Trail (Hiraeth, 2012). These are hybrid works combining scholarly inquiry with either personal narrative or haiku. He is also the editor of an anthology of environmental writing called Reading Shaver’s Creek: Ecological Reflections from an Appalachian Forest. His poems, haiku, and haibun have been published in several journals, among them ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Terra Nova, Spirit, Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Frogpond, and White Lotus.  When he’s not busy playing at being a scholar, Ian spends his time playing guitar, writing songs, hiking, biking, or kayaking. And of course, reading—preferably about people playing guitar, writing songs, hiking, biking, kayaking, or otherwise engaging with the natural world.


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Ian Marshall