Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Birds, Dissertation Proposal, Flowers, and Scarves!


Last week, I defended my dissertation proposal, “Exploring Stories at the Intersection of Landscape and Linguistic Literatures through Wildness, Beauty, and Imagination: A Scholarly Personal Narrative.” This review was delayed several months due to all happening in the past year and then the pandemic and all of the professional and family-moving-home dynamics.

The Zoom review reflected perfectly the essence of so many of our experiences in the past months—Zoom was just not playing well with others. One of us was suddenly bumped off and then the Screen Share button for my presentation wouldn’t work. I called Luke in the next room with a simple and loud, “Help!” Luke finagled a different way for me to share my presentation and we were off.

I am extraordinarily blessed in my Dissertation Committee: May Elawar, Jennifer Wells, Luci Tapahonso. Each phenomenal woman brings worlds of unique lived experiences, expertise in a spectrum of fields, and an engaged heart. Our time together was one of deep conversation about the ideas, clarifying questions, visions and potential possibilities for the unfolding of the dissertation itself. All tremendously exciting. My committee passed the proposal. Now, of course, must pass through the Dean and Provost for official acceptance to advance to PhD Candidacy. Many, many candles lit.

In essence, what I hope to do with my dissertation is convey the research and knowledge found within the fields of ecolinguistics/linguistic human rights and holistic resource management into the genre of landscape literature through creative prose, specifically through the lenses of wildness, beauty, and imagination.

This idea came to me many years ago and the ember has grown since. I am passionate about linguistic human rights and ecolinguistics. I am passionate about landscape literature. I am passionate about the ranch and the holistic, global methods of holistic resource management. I read widely within each of these fields and want to bring all together into an integrated whole with language as an element of landscape as the unifying theme. Now, the journey enters the next stage. I dive into my 25+ years of journals and why I write in my journal. Piles and piles of journals to identify and codify the themes of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

While discussing with Luke and Noé this next chapter of writing my dissertation, the following conversation took place:

Me: In my dissertation book, it says I need to get rid of the unessentials from my life to focus on writing.

Luke and Noé (look at each other): That’s us!

Me: Don’t worry, I already did that years ago. You two made the cut.

Luke and Noé (looking at each other): It could still happen. We better be useful! You make dinner. I’ll clean the yard.

Me (slow smile…): Excellent plan. Keep that thought.

Luke and I talk a lot about writing, words, books, ideas, life. We were talking about grammar the other day (as one does over coffee, while watching the birds in the birdbath), and Luke mentioned his delight of discovering the em dash (—).”The em dash, the sexy comma.” Yes!

Stained glass of Meadowlark cover by Marie Hooper.

The birdbath and tiny bird sanctuary that we’re creating in the backyard continues to bring exponential, crazy amounts of joy. Here is my view from my writing room.

I spend a lot of time looking at this view and thinking, planning, dreaming, organizing this next chapter of writing the dissertation and future book. Right now, a tiny hummingbird lifts from one hummingbird mint bloom to the next to sip nectar. Especially after the last year and the unanticipated delay of my proposal defense amidst all, I am very grateful to have completed.

I celebrated by laying down for a short rest afterward—(sexy comma) and fell asleep for a three hour, sleep-of-the-dead nap. Three hours! I woke and asked Luke if he wanted coffee. He looked at the clock, “How about dinner?” It was 5:00pm!

Best way I can think to celebrate.

In other events of the past few weeks, I share the following definition:

Parotidectomy (pa-RAH-ti-DECK-tomy) (n)/ An increased appreciation of colorful, bright scarves. (Reference also found under PRADA-dectomy).

This was a few weeks ago. All good.

Onward to write!

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores the beauty and tensions of language, culture, and place.

19 thoughts on “Birds, Dissertation Proposal, Flowers, and Scarves!

  1. Congratulations friend! Another step closer….. You are an inspiration! I love reading about your conversations with Noe and Luke!

  2. Congratulations Dawn! What a fascinating topic. I wish you all the best, I look forward to reading more about your creative endeavors 🎉🎉🎉

  3. Congratulations Dawn! You are now sprinting and about to cross the finish line in your academic journey. Defending you prospectus is a magnificent accomplishment! I wish you ALL the best!!!

    Peace and joy to you and your family,


  4. Dear Dawn, it is so delightful to be writing to you once again: I have kept reading as you journey, and writing a little too, and as we are both still here, scarves, beating hearts, petrichor and all, it seems the circles return full sphere. I hold you dear and congratulate you on pulling the PhD through the eye of the needle, as you keep weaving further your most magical craft:

    this summer, on my mediation walking, I found one dusty sock, which washed up quite well and reads ~


    … in that style, so as to fit down the leg part and not be stuck in the foot/heel shoe out of sight ~ ah important that, being observed, noticed, washed and cosseted once in a while, & I keep that sock around, filling it now and again with what’s important on a given day. Today, I emptied the sock to leave only a note, with the directions to a knoll, high in the foothills of the Sacramento Mountains down here, in the Lincoln National Forest, a place where the sage petrichor embraces the interface of eternity and the cactus mimic the roping and wheeling of not just the wind and weather, but life itself; and from that spot, to which I walked this morning, I sent and send to you best, most heartfelt congratulations, and feel a knowingness that the sock’s instruction to STAY MAGICAL will linger like the smell of sage at the end of this monsoon time, and the cactus figures roping the very essence of life on the desert’s edge.

    Here’s also a little Dawn poem, from quite recently, inspired by many a thing, including a re-read of the “the Little Round House” by Gladdys Lister, some old rhymes and ancestors, and of course our New Mexico, perhaps it had an inkling of this arriving dewdrop? It somehow seems apt, as you reach out to your next chapter, and I think of you in the morning light coming, candle lit and the open slit of the blank page calling you, amidst cool dew …


    i moved to the little ROUND house

    where cats no longer play the mouse

    because all the world IS bread and cheese

    and all the seas ARE ink

    and ALL world IS ifs and ands

    and in the desert ALL seek to drink

    over the mountains in all four directions the beauty way we’re always walking

    listening to the land and air talking,

    and our ancestor stones

    have left bare bones

    as compass for these our pirates feet so fleet

    and peter pan

    fought the big and the wan

    and uncle Jack

    had our back

    and Sally, fought off the boogie man, and came through in the end;

    there is always surprise

    beyond what lies

    upon the rise

    of the dawn of wise

    in the still and quiet of the dark night’s moon

    I wonder if am in for a snuggle-wake-up soon?

    and I creep out of bed

    and crush the beans

    before dawn’s hue arises

    full of surprises:

    I make coffee to check my compass

    and wobble some, and slip

    as sleepy I climb the ladder up

    to check

    who’s on the deck

    of the friendship

    it is dawn

  5. You are amazing, Dawn, and such an inspiration to us all! You find joy and beauty, even in the darkest moments. Congratulations on the approval
    of your dissertation proposal! Your work is so
    exciting, interesting, and unique. Thanks for
    sharing your journey with us! Love, Janet

    • Dear Janet, so very wonderful to hear from you! Thank you so very much for taking the time to connect. You know this feeling! Whew… Much love to your beautiful kids and grands! XOXO Dawn

  6. Thank you for sharing your heart, soul, thoughts, and images with the world and most importantly reminding us of the value of writing. I used to teach writing, but I never do personal writing any more now that I do so much technical writing and research. You inspire me to go back to the notebooks of the mind to learn more about the world and myself. Nature has never been more important to me in this time of upheaval. I also recommend most of the poems that are in this collection. Stay safe and thank you for healing the world and shedding your light with teachers who in turn can share it with their students. Best to you, dearest Dawn. Meredith

    She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems
    by Caroline Kennedy, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8747308-she-walks-in-beauty

    • Meredith, thank you ever so much for taking the time to connect. Wonderful to hear form you. Yes, your notebooks! Isn’t nature such a healer and balm for the soul. I am grateful to know that you are finding solace. We’ll share that together in spirit. XOXO Dawn

  7. Congratulations on achieving this important milestone! Best wishes for a smooth road ahead…you are hot dogging skate boarding now!

  8. OMG — congrats on getting over the one hump and moving on to the next one prior to fulfilling your Ph.D!! And another OMG — I love to talk about grammar, so perhaps one of these days I could join you and Luke in a discussion. My favorite thing: the gerundive, and how sad it is that it is being lost in the current vernacular. XOXO

  9. Oh Dawn, how very amazing you are. Congratulations! I didn’t know you were working on this, but of course am not surprised, you are capable of so much. You are such a bright, colorful, positive and brilliant source of light ✨✨ I love all your updates–Congrats again!


    • Terri! Oh, thanks ever so much for taking the time to touch base on this! I am so grateful for our shared journeys and love, love, love seeing your beautiful family grow with such joy and love. Much love to you! XOXO

  10. So grateful to read these words, to see your healing, to watch your intellectual curiosity —(sexy comma) and see it happen, bird by bird.

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