Early this morning the first thing on my commute through the forest was a chirpy herd of quail. I then heard and saw warblers, jays, ravens and robins, and countless other birds I don’t yet know. I’m got most excited about the thrushes, who have returned, and whose enchanting melody fills me with peace and joy.

I say this all because it was from my mom that I got a model for meeting the morning and its many gathering things with presence. I inherit much of my love and observation of nature from my mom, who is a photographer, naturalist, artist, and craftswoman. She also got me started on the blessing that is gardening. She’s not afraid of the dirt or to see things from a unique perspective. These are gifts that can’t be repaid, only received with gratitude and wonder. Thanks mom!

This poem is for her.

Those were the days I slept in.
Past when the day had swept in
and grinned. But then
I found what had commenced and gone,
past retrieval, past the dawn.

The many-gathering things had fled
while still I slept in my bed, but

The image of her sitting sits
in my bones and sitting yet–
the woman from whom I came
at door of dawn and garden met.

Not doing, but the resting in the being with beings best
at day break bring their
radiant zest

First dew before warmth fell in
the inchèd crawl of light begins
the lavender, approaching thin
tumbled through distant cloud, now became
persimmon, pink, and rose-filled same

Among the marvels I had missed, she said
amidst the meandered mist, ahead

were many feathered friends in flight
or simply perched to sing the light
ten and five by her own eyes
different types, from land and skies:

Robin, warbler, cardinal, jay,
hummingbird, thrush, bushbird greys,
common corvid, hawk, and owl,
woodpecker, wren, and water fowl
but one that brought such joy to soul,
the black and orangèd Oriole

She penned them in her notebook list
that in which she keeps them all
gathered in as dreams persist
that might be lost, not seen at all
unless one sits and in sitting gets
the blessings of the morning met

Those were the days I slept in.
and missed the things that dawn had sent.

But now I greet the light and flight
and fog and song and scent and sight
and have within that image bold
of her awake in morning’s fold

inviting all the sounds that sing,
the rhythms of the bells that ring,
with the light that brings
the many-gathering things.


And you have the rest
of the day
to fit in

and make your face do the things
that other faces do

and your mouth utter
all the things
that aren’t your own

so why not take this
silent blue moment
with the heron

to wake up the day together
with your true face of delight?

The stale masks will still be there
hanging on the wall at noon

alongside the others, judgment
and disappointment

in the afternoon you can follow
the story of the others

who are following someone else’s story
and in the evening you can join

the others in the ritual
of draining the light from your eyes

But for now,
put in your eyes
of dawn and dew

and let your bright peace
unveil itself as the fog recedes

your bones and what holds them up
have been waiting
so long for it

the long night’s last star
doesn’t seem to mind

and the day’s star might even join you


A734AF83-F07A-4E9C-B26B-68319F83E42EPain not as pain felt
but lack
is why the mourners worship More

and stack the filling, stocking stores
and in all the filling’s wicked spell
do not quite feel well

Do not the mourners know
that all their Nows are lost
and stuffed
all the Here’s dearly departed
and in the filling spill the hurt
into spaces sick and rough
burning nests of Whyless Hearts?

But there’s no lack of Heartful Whys
of morning meaning’s wild worth
the sun’s why yet sets and rises
the moon yet opens her eye
spinning us through the west and north

But why must we eat others’ Whys?
Why oh why to die in life?

When within the spaces well within
The Well
we might as well Why our lives
with the Whys that we own
All the Whys in which we dwell

and therefore become well as well
as the moon as she sings and swells
and pours forth her monthly spell



The old way of holding things
sank into the sea
with the diving god

and sprouted dawnwings
as an owl flying out of one hand

gentle dawnfingers
caressing the earth with the other

with my mycelium strung between
finding nutrients in every thing
for the Fruiting Body of the HeartKing

I barely had a chance to say goodbye
to the old way

Before the way to say goodbye
became the treasure
at the bottom of each breath and day
the bottom of each moment’s play

Which was also how to pray hello
and mean it

like one of the great lovers
of the world

Without fists or fortresses
and only a cosmos to call home

—Ryan Van Lenning


51F2D59B-7AC1-4AA8-8D80-D9CC913A65A9You’re not getting out
until the truth forms a dawn in you.

I’ll gather up the finest moon
and lather colors on the edge

I’ll blow a new wind through the dunes
through all your sunset silhouettes

I’ll scatter several shooting stars
among your pretty confused heads.

But truth be told
you’ll not get out
until the final truth can shout.

The gate is locked, the gate is closed!
It won’t open until all’s disclosed.
The gate is closed, the gate is locked!
it won’t open until all’s unblocked—

the inner chamber where waters start
the ears to hear the healer’s art
the hands to hold the truest friend
the eyes to see the patterns end.

This is the Tsunami zone
where the taste of love,
the very pulse of life
carries the threat of drowning

You’ll want to flee to higher ground
where everything seems safe and sound

You’ll want to keep one foot out
the moment’s door, to feed the doubt

The secret’s there, you know its truth
For so long we’ve been telling you:

To stay in you and ride the wave
to blessed be and boldly brave
and flip that mighty mermaid’s flip
until shapes of love form your lips

the waves still crash upon your shore
but not the conflict any more.

You can get RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul. and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound, Link in bio. My book of mystical poems, Silence Begins Here, and book of love and erotic poetry, Wild Rose Hips, and Book of Rivers: Headwaters and Heartrocks will be out later this year. Follow me for mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work. 🙏🌍🤠🦊🌲💚


A5951042-2FCA-4B2A-9B04-DFF3FDFB46CBI finally stood in the lush truth of it.

I never walked so slow, never ate
so many trees
savored so many stars.

Dawn hung around my neck
like a sigil
the river stones emblems of belonging.

Some I in me had said, I can’t live
like this…but an owl replied, Yes.
Yes you can—an archetype
is breathing through you.

They just kept letting me in.

Everywhere I didn’t knock.
No keys.
No doors.
Ears as windows.

The living sky my heart-home roof.

Only the silent here of things
on the back of the map
where all the real places are.

–Ryan Van Lenning
You can get my books RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul, and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore or on Amazon or Indiebound. My book of mystical poems, Silence Begins Here, and book of love and erotic poems, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me and @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & inner/outer wilderness work.