Please help the Black Earth Institute continue to make art and grow community so needed for our time. Donate now »

a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 1: Earth/Body/Substance

Adum Gross

Harsh Winter to Cold Spring

Chicago’s vibrant nightlife, segregated neighborhoods, melting pot of cultures and unforgiven weather leaves the earth emotional. I see a worn-out woman sitting on her ass on the ground, squishing the mud on her hands, and looking peeved. The earth tries to hide her emotions, but the weather gets the best of her every time. This harsh winter followed by this slow, cold spring leaves the earth crying for attention, stressed out! The earth proposes a question to Mother Nature, “How much of this stress do you think I can withstand?” Mother Nature replies, “You wanted these beings, so you’ve got to straighten them out!” Pollution, global warming, or choosing oil over solar powered energy could all be considered viable reasons why the earth is in a state of turmoil. However, one thing remains constant: the earth is under stress.

Photograph by Adum Gross  About Place Journal Enlightened Visions Volume III Issue I June 2014

The emotions of the winter are in disarray, leaving the earth to fend for herself like a fatherless child. The heft of the snow is too much for one to withstand alone. The snow fell thick and wet, heavy to lift and walk through. The burning bush stands alone in the dismal weather, like a Japanese Macaque subdued in a hot spring, trying desperately to survive the harsh winter. Snowflakes hold on to the burning bush’s branches, like an infant primate clinging onto its mother’s fur hoping to keep the only place of warmth and comfort. The wind howls like a gray wolf searching for its soul mate. Snowflakes continue to fall with such grace and passion, similar to dance streamers, using gravity to break their fall. Bleary roads resemble gloomy corridors. I feel at times delighted and at times irritated, yet the winter remains cold and heartless.

Photograph by Adum Gross  About Place Journal Enlightened Visions Volume III Issue I June 2014

As snow melts, earth’s stress is revealed, and the slow, cold spring takes over. Clouds prevent the sunlight from passing through, making the streets and the whole city dim until the streetlights take over. We kept our heads down because the trees weren’t budding, even in April. Mist from the rain, moist air, and muddy grounds reminded me of a decaying wetland. One side of the road resembles triumph, surviving the winter. However, the other side resembles defeat, not knowing how much more it can withstand. Commuters pass by, oblivious to what the earth endured. Tires ride over damp concrete, hissing like banded water cobras. The concrete is folding under pressure, showing signs of fatigue, cracked. Pungent smells of gasoline, exhaust fumes, and decaying vegetation fill the atmosphere. The grass is fighting for survival.

The earth is constantly under stress. Could it be the harsh effects of the changing seasons and its unpredictable weather? What about the oil-based energy we choose to rely on? What’s the true cause of earth’s stress? How can we help? All of these are valid questions, but it’s up to the people to determine the causes of global warming, to choose what’s important and to make a difference.


Adum Gross was born on the Southside of Chicago. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While attending UW-Madison, he participated on the track & field team as well. When asked about what first drew him to prose he said, “writing is therapeutic and a form of meditation for me. It provides a platform for me to sort my thoughts and express how I feel. Life moves fast and it can get overwhelming at times. Through writing I am able to slow my world down and be in the moment.” Adum is an Online-Marketing Consultant for a digital advertising company in Chicago. He currently writes for his company’s internal newsletter and is working on his health & fitness blog. His goal is to get into Market Research, help companies with their reputation through content marketing, and publish a novel. He can be contacted at

Top of Page


©2024 Black Earth Institute. All rights reserved.  |  ISSN# 2327-784X  |  Site Admin