REST STOP ON THE ROAD TO SPRING

078423B7-B365-4E70-B78B-3931A5746861It’s midwinter and the cherry blossoms
rub their eyes in disbelief

Because the sky has greyed
its guts out
for a fortnight
and are shocked to see
so many noses on their porch steps.

But we noticed
and we took a little deeper breath.

Rather, I say the breath took us.

That some things fall
and others hurl themselves
toward the moon

That all must be seen
and all must be lost

is a long and hard truth.

But to arrive at this—
that even the mighty sky is attracted
to the finest forest duff
to learn humility
and sends it’s love letters
soaked with joy and longing.

While old limbs are devastated
by winter’s breath
in all the best ways
and the mushrooms take their cue.

That the breaking down
and growing out
slide simultaneously against one another
as the closest of friends
generates its own kind of heat.

While sometimes it seems
we’re all just trying to survive
out here
in the vast loneliness
looking for friends
and a rest stop on the road to spring
to warm our feet
and sooth our eyes

Stung from walking
so, so long
through the seasons

Saying, will you walk
with me
for a little while?

Advertisements

Mary Oliver’s Truancy

92cff834-82bb-42fc-a155-dfa5bb685638We lost a giant today. Rest In Poetry, Mary. Thank you for everything that you did in your one wild and precious life. This is my tribute to her.
____________________________________________________________

Only record she ever broke was
for skipping school
because the Ohio hills had more to teach her than her teachers
Or her broken home
red rage running
from her dark family of things
to which she didn’t belong

Wandering the forest with Whitman
in her knapsack
hunting fish and clams
berries and words

She traveled to the moon and back
with her pencil–
HER one wild and precious life

Giving the world 50,000 words
foraged from the landscape
lining the pockets of hungry souls

We now have a thousand mornings
of wild geese
and big-eyed grasshoppers
calling our soft animal bodies home
loving
on bright summer days
because of Mary Oliver’s truancy

[Image Credit: from an excellent New Yorker article from November called, ‘What Mary Oliver’s Critics Don’t Understand’]

Words In This Forest

176583C4-A3AB-430B-9B03-0487E47324ABThere are words in this forest
older than your grandfather
older than the grandmother tree on his farm

Words older than the soil
holding her roots
since before she was a seed

Words even older than water
that weaves through it all

They’re entangled together here
forming silent poems
called root and flow
change and be
here and now

You can’t pronounce them with your tongue

AT THE DAWN OF TIME

111B8BFC-EE21-4D35-A6B8-7E5D5AABCFB1National Writing Month DAY 30 (Final Day!!)
AT THE DAWN OF TIME
(Word Count: 1045)

In the distance looms Mt. Diablo. Not as shadow, but as guardian. Diablo–but that’s the colonizer word. The Chochenyo Ohlone call it Tuyshtak, which can mean ‘at the dawn of time.’ I learned this at the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival from Vincent Medina, a local Muwekma Ohlone poet. He is a leader in reviving the traditional language, & now a co-owner of the new Ohlone Cafe in so-called Berkeley.

What a difference in meaning of those two words: Devil and Dawn.

Tuyshtak is the roof of the East Bay and I can view it from the roof of my home, which is a madrone- and oak-lined ridge above a canyon full of bay laurel, horsetails, flowering currants, poison oak (I call it guardian oak), & redwoods, after which the park is named.

Perhaps we should start calling it by its pre-colonial name. Perhaps all names should be decolonized as we re-sacralize the land. As we re-dream our relationsip to the world-than-human world out of which we emerge.

How ironic I find a deeper connection to the land and indigenous history & a deeper commitment to decolonizing work as I squat illegally on the land in a local public park.

But aren’t we all settlers?

I feel we’ve lost something. Perhaps on some level we all know we’ve lost something. I am dreaming into living/doing/being a new-old way. I want to re-member. I want to re-connect to those ancient pulses in our bloods & bones. I want to re-wild & re-set. I yearn for something real. I want to breathe in & out the Deep Be-Longing.

Something in me is dawning. I don’t pretend I’m living some ancient lifestyle, w/ my REI gear and solar Luci lights. But I find that the more I befriend the trees & water & birds here, the more I greet the dawn, the more I slow down & LISTEN, the more that beautiful dream flows out of me/through me & becomes the real thing—the thing that doesn’t lie, more real than the bad dream of this dominant/dominator culture.

Perhaps this is the beginning of what is meant by right belonging & right relationship–and I find there’s a depth and peace in it. I vow to keep listening. (Vulnerable Mountain Heart)
—————————————————————————-

For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory

WILD HOUSE MEETING

0560E649-157E-4E43-BED0-70AAD23E52D8National Writing Month DAY 22:
WILD HOUSE MEETING
(Word Count: 789)

I held my first house meeting with my new roommates. The purpose was to get to know each other and discuss respective chores. In attendance: rabbit, deer, quail, fern, hawk, bay tree, redwood, madrone, spider, oak, snake, thistle, poison oak, wind, beetle, and walnut. Fox came late.

Absent: Owl, possum, raccoon. (being nocturnal, they have a tough time with morning meetings). I hope they’ll read the minutes.

Turns out moon was there the whole time, but I didn’t see her-she had her new moon coat on.

We opened with an ice breaker: What’s your favorite thing about autumn? And what’s the silliest thing you’ve done this year?

Decision by consensus: We will each be ourselves and allow the other to be themselves. This is by far the largest home I’ve lived in and by far the most housemates I’ve ever had. In fact, so many that I haven’t yet met them all. I hope to get to know them intimately in the coming months.
————————————————-

For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory

AN APPRENTICESHIP TO VULNERABILITY

C8C8741B-E991-4174-9454-4580A00C13A6National Writing Month DAY 17:
AN APPRENTICESHIP TO VULNERABILITY
(Word Count: 956)

“I began the new year with skin exposed to sheets of rain
and trust exposed to the elements—an apprenticeship to vulnerability.

A break up, a break out, a break down, a break in.

I suspected a master craftsman lived within me, soothing a tenderfoot’s tender heart, pierced with perceived ruin. One of those end-of-the-world moments. It’s often the end of the world as we know it. And then…the new one.

I pitched a tent under a semi-shelter of long redwood limbs. The rain and tears came in buckets for days and nights without end. Then colors returned.

For the moment, I was dry. But I found there’s no protection for my heart because there’s nothing to be protected from.

What did I know already that I didn’t want to know? That I was scared to know? At some point I knew my heart could hold it all and more. And much more. It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times since.

On day 3 my fear dissolved in the coming clouds, knowing once again that water rolls through a parched land as tears fall as rain. On day 4 and 5 my pain became a glorious lotus bloom.

I had forgotten—Love will always be bigger than fear—and then I remembered. And then forgot again and then remembered—this is the dance.

It’s the same trust that sees even the darkest shadows radiate like a beacon signaling home—My own and others.

On day 6 I vowed to keep cracking—to meet the lightning bolts hidden on the magenta horizon as my long-lost best friend.

Oh how we missed each other.

On day 7 I walked back to town, to the beat of my heart.”
——————————————————————————————
For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory