078423B7-B365-4E70-B78B-3931A5746861Here you can laugh in February
the unexpected is to be expected—
a midnight creature leaves
bay nuts for you
and the creek is singing for its supper

woodpeckers and owls
tell you what time it is
but what about the new birds
that weren’t here in dark December?

You might think that February
is dreaming spring,
the equinox on her mind.

It’s easy enough to do
but not to get ahead of ourselves
is a good morning task—
February is dreaming February.

The season is laughing
stinging nettles
and coughing up hail

The month is grinning meadow flowers as pink ox eyes at dawn

and yes, a yellow saluting
affirmation of the still slanting sun
inching higher in the sky
day by day by day
like a toddler learning to stand

urging the arroyo willow
and wild currants
to see who can bud best
by the end of the month.

No, I’m not opposed to opening
my sun-starved belly to it all
skin smiling wildly
with mild stone fruit
freely singing its scent
into the canyon breeze

like only this season can

so see it while you can:

a one-tree performance
of Pink Petal Extravaganza
as the western wind applauds
and kicks his heels up
to play the eucalyptus
like a harp
and runs his fingers through
Cedar’s long hair
when he really gets aroused

and they seem to like being tickled in that way
letting out a moan
now and again
as if stretching for the first time.

It gives one ideas
on a February morning
here in the Nearby Faraway
which is not unlike a thousand
other mornings
that have come before
and will come after.

But it is.

Things Are Flowing

D14C440D-5AA2-4F40-88D7-E434E5537362Thank you everybody who followed along during National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo18), as I wrote & shared snippets of #mywildnatureheartstory (soon-to-be a book ‘Vulnerable Mountain Heart’). It was a wild ride & I had a blast! It also really kicked me into gear getting my mountains of content organized. I think hanging out with rivers and creeks a lot helps everything flow better.

Vulnerable Mountain Heart is not a novel, but a mythopoetic story of my life and lessons, in particular over the last two years, as I transitioned from a non-aligned & unhealthy relationship, job, home, etc. to living an aligned life outside in the forest of the Nearby Faraway leaning into my powers and purpose, by way of soul descent & initiation during my summer vision quest, with plenty of adventure, stories of sacred wounds, self-abandonment, love affairs, and delicious poetry woven throughout!

I didn’t reach the 50,000 word count goal, (reached about half that), but more importantly I DID reach the goal of becoming clear about style, structure, and direction of it. I don’t know exactly what the final book will look like (these things have a life of their own), but I’m confident it will be beautiful, funny, and uplifting.

Through the next several months I’ll be jamming on it, getting it into shape. It’s one of my three winter writing projects, along with a new poetry collection called HEADWATERS & HEARTROCKS (aiming for release date of February 2019) and a semi-autobiographical mytho-poetic fantasy trilogy (for kids and adults) called THE RAINBOW 🌈 HOME CHRONICLES.

My non-writing projects include developing a Wild Nature Heart course curriculum, fleshing out the details of my 1-on-1 Nature-Based Soul Growth Coaching/Mentoring offering, and an Apprenticeship to Soulstice & Silence. More on these later. 😀🙏🦊💓🐢🐻🌈🦅🐛

(Photo: Canyon Creek, part of Trinity River watershed, Trinity Alps)

Autumn Otters

E069896C-85F8-4E8B-9D19-19D051235319For William Stafford–the poet, not the pirate. A fellow Midwesterner and embedded West Coaster, a quiet of the land, who also inhabited the edges, evoked the nearby faraway, whose ‘job it was to find out what the world is trying to be.’ He was at home on earth and was up in trees ‘til the day he died. He met the world well.

Otter people are on the hunt
fishing for the best playground

Whatever the day has swept downstream
the otter people accept
with open paws and a keen eye

Even-tailed in the evening
they regard it all with a river’s grace
knowing they belong to all that.

“Here,” one says to the other.

“There,” the other says,
“over those rocks
around the next bend.”

There’s always that someone who wants to peek
around the corner.

But the first scrambles upon the far bank,
whiskering, “But how could it be better than here, now
with all the alder leaves
and autumn giving her debut dusk?”

All is negotiation in this life
no different among the otter people.

A compromise is reached–
first a dancing on shore
then a slinking back into the silver water
around the next bend
floating like river clouds
whisker-faced and free

It is a world well-met.

Exploring the First Nearby Faraway

Greenville FarmI’m writing a book called The Nearby Faraway: My Year Living in the Threshold and recently the seed of this poem came to me while I was facilitating a Wild Nature Heart activity about childhood memories in nature. One of the memories that lives in my body is exploring the groves that were at both my grandparents’ farms in Iowa. There’s something about how we relate freely and physically and innocently with the world when we are young–and how that lives inside us still. What are some of your first nature memories? The google map image is of one of the farms as it exists today.

Grandfather said, “Look out
for rattlesnakes and rusted nails”

but we went in anyway
embarking on a bold adventure

without provisions of any kind
or shoes even

for what do they have to do
with an explorer’s heart?

not in defiance, mind you
but only because we couldn’t bare

not to let our bare feet
have an original conversation

with the soft duff of the pine grove
watching us…waiting for us…

we went in anyway, and later,
when we’d mapped all the new territories

when we’d squeezed a lifetime
from the rind of dawn to dusk

when the slant of the sun warns
of the docking of the day

when the reds and the browns
and the greens of the world

had covered us from shin
to shiny face

and the exhaustion of our vast
explorer bodies starts to buzz

we anointed ourselves in the cold creek
flowing through the inexhaustible wilderness

watching us…waiting for us…

where we were the First Builders
Masters of tree forts, architects of forest villages

The Original Hunters
chasing raccoons and ravens

Primordial shamans burying owl feathers and dog bones
to ward off those cursed rattlesnakes

that were just around the next tree
watching us….waiting for us…

We were the First Explorers
lost for days within a single day

adrift on an evergreen raft
fueled by wild nature hearts

because we went in anyway
charting endless bright lands

on a small Iowa farm—
the first nearby faraway

watching us…waiting for us…

Eyes of Dawn and Dew

dew drop eyesWho closed your morning eyes
your eyes of dawn and dew?
Irises once bold and bright
have lost their lustrous hue

Once you loved the rainbow show
and felt that windy song
then you drank the grey-blue sea
and your gaze drifted on

Was it that grey bird of prey, they say,
who feasted upon your sight?
Or was it she, the heavy, weary thing,
that rides you through the night?

I’ve heard a tale of fancy
I don’t know if it’s truth or lie
of water running pure and fine
that’ll heal such wounded eyes

It’s found beyond the rush and roar
in the Nearby Faraway
amidst a grove of sacred trees
it flows there every day

they say to dip your eyes right in,
wash your head in waters cold
and if you’re bold enough, get in
and dunk your dusty soul

You eyes of dawn and dew return
their colors will resurrect
your morning eyes will brightly burn
one of many effects

but most of all, what happens next
a mystery at its best,
behind the breastbone, beneath the eyes
a brilliance builds its nest

Can one believe such a fable?
it sounds too good to be true
but just in case, seek the place
perhaps it will be proved