Cool Spice: Dan Godston

In the Garden & at the Table (for Rachel Carson) by Cheryl Parry


Imaginary Meetings with Rachel Carson

Jacques Cousteau and Rachel Carson meet for dinner. They talk about oceans—coral reefs, currents and temperatures, sharks, marine ecosystems. Rachel tells Jacques about birds by her home in Maine—plovers, nesting terns, laughing gulls, ospreys, black ducks, redstarts, chestnut-sided warblers, cliff swallows, cedar waxwings, snow geese, hermit thrushes… She invites him to visit her, and they make plans to do so. She tells him about exploring the shore by her home, her nephew, her friendships with Dorothy Freeman and Bob Hines.

Zora Neale Hurston and Rachel meet in Cross City, Florida. Zora has been meeting with African American workers at turpentine camps, listening to their stories. Zora and Rachel talk about their experiences working for the federal government—Zora for the Works Progress Administration, Rachel for the Fish and Wildlife Service. How their research brings to the surface multifarious facets of the American experience, folklore and natural treasures that a sliver of the public knows about (at the time of their meeting). The challenges that face them—as women at that time, illuminating obscure facets of America’s people and natural bounty for the general public. Gifts to make those facets sing in people’s imagination.

John Cage and Rachel go mushroom hunting together in the Catskills. Autumn leaves and twigs crackle and snap underfoot. They spot a cluster of morels poking through pine needles. She reaches down to pull one up.

Theodor Geisel and Rachel meet at a restaurant near Theodor’s home in La Jolla. They talk about their love of children. Rachel tells Theodor about a book she’s working on, the focus of which is to invite parents and adults to inspire children with a sense of wonder. Theodor tells Rachel he has an idea for a book—to use his gifts as a storyteller and illustrator to get kids to think about how important trees and the environment are. Sense of wonder & mischief.


Dan Godston teaches and lives in Chicago. His chapbooks include Splice Poems (Argotist Ebooks) and Sonic Textures Triptypch (Linguiscope Books), and his writings have appeared in Chase Park, After Hours, Beard of Bees, Drunken Boat, Horse Less Review, Requited Journal, Sentinel Poetry and other publications. He also directs the Borderbend Arts Collective, which is presenting, Celebrating Silent Spring at 50.

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