APPRENTICE TO THE ARCHER’S ART

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I pull back the string of me
and take aim.

Honing my energy into a field-point
I practice shooting the arrows of me.

The target is your heart.
The target is my heart.
The target is the sacred wound
where the true treasure’s found.

I’m Hunting Wholeness and Wild Purpose.
I’m Stalking Shadows and Deep Belongings.

The wind made a quiver of me
Full of fletchéd arrows

The wisdom of my wayward feet
Bent a bow from all my errors

My apprenticeship has started up
Patient practice plays its part, but
the heart of the archer’s art
is Love and Wild Eros.

POSTED: Who Owns the River?

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POSTED: No Trespassing. POSTED: Private Property. POSTED: Violators will be prosecuted. POSTED: This property is monitored by digital surveillance. POSTED: Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again. POSTED: Violators will be strung up by their toes and electrocuted. Under penalty of law. POSTED: Smile. You are on camera. POSTED: Your slow death may or may not be videotaped. POSTED: The river and all the fish and frogs therein and rocks alongside it are mine, not yours. POSTED: The forest and all the dirt, wild irises, and rotting logs therein as well as the owls and quail and even the feathers falling from the sky are mine. POSTED: The lullabies of thrushes and lilt of spring breezes, the scent of mugwort, the taste of salmonberry are mine. POSTED: Violators will prostrate themselves toward the law. POSTED: Violators will suffer immense pain. POSTED: Private Property. POSTED: No Trespassing.

BLESSINGS OF THE MORNING MET (for Mom)

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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.

LOYAL TO THE EARTH

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🌏LOYAL TO THE EARTH

I want my words to be loyal
to the earth

a celebration
like the spots on a fawn
prancing through young pine

or new dawn dancing
past the night

I want my words to be soft
as a bunny’s butt
and feather grass

smooth as madrone skin
or a woman’s inner thigh

Yet also, I want them to be hard as wild walnuts
tough as granite
breaking feet
and ego

deadly serious
like lightning strikes
splitting spruce

Like climate chaos
and corona crisis
carrying away the normal
on waves beyond control

as prickly as a yellow jacket
or poison oak,
that’ll leave you itching
for weeks

Words that wake you up
like a cold splash
of mountain creek
on your morning face

I want them to lead you
gently into the arms
of your DreamGiver
or an owl’s hoot
under impossibly dark skies

But also startle the rut mind
like a buck launching
from the brush

Or a bright red snow plant popping up among ice cups
in the fir forest

an eager invitation
to all of Spring’s erections

or a surprise double rainbow
after the thunder storms

I want my words
to be stained purple
from picking wild blackberries
and juicy plums

Or sexy like a peach rose unfolding
and borage bringing all the bees
to the yard

I want them to allow the wind
to blow through
like invisible currents
carrying secret scents

tickling the hair on your forearms
that you only notice
once it’s gone

above all, I want them to grow
from the soil, telling truth,
loyal to the earth

#ryanvanlenning
#happyearthday
#shelteringrace

Photos: Scenes of magical trillium and kin from today’s rainy walk in the redwoods. Ancestral Wiyot Territory

HOUSELIFE DAY #6: THE LIVING ROOM CHRONICLES

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😋HOUSELIFE DAY #6: THE LIVING ROOM CHRONICLES

Dear Diary,

I made my peace with the floor. Finally. Afterall, it’s not the worst thing in the world to have a solid, flat surface to walk on. As I walk through the house I rarely trip on roots and am rarely scanning the scene for rocks or creatures. Who can argue with that?

Though at what cost? I ask myself.

After a few days, I realized that the crumbs and carrot tops I tossed on the floor haven’t been eaten or composted in any way. I sweep them up.

So far nothing living is communicating up through my feet. I either have extraordinarily dumb feet or this floor is not the living earth.

Furthermore, I fear that the natural rolling landscape that typically lends itself to the muscular flexibility of my feet and legs is now reduced to such uniform flatness, that now my body is slowly deteriorating.

I haven’t quite yet made my peace with the walls and ceiling, though.

I admit, there’s something to be said for a solid roof, trustworthily keeping the rain out, especially in Humboldt County. And hanging posters is a lot easier on a wall than on a salmonberry bush.

It’s just…it’s also a little harder to see through walls and I can’t help but have the sensation that my psychic and sense walls are also being subtly sewn up.

I now have a place to store Ryan’s belt, but search the heavens of the ceiling in vain for Orion’s Belt, and the full moon which was the largest super moon of 2020. I look towards the east out the win-doe and find an ecosystem of houses, wires, concrete, and towers as a landscape. Little barking dogs and gas powdered leaf blowers provide a charming soundscape.

Honestly, most of the time I don’t know if it’s raining or not, or what is on the tip of the tongue of the day, because I am bereft of the subtle cues and the geological gossip the fresh air ally brings to my skin and to my lungs.

HOUSELIFE DAY 1: THE KITCHEN CHRONICLES

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😋#Houselife Day 1: The Kitchen Chronicles

Dear diary,

It is the first day living in a house after more than 2 1/2 years living houseless. A short-term 1 month experiment. I know living inside can be extremely dangerous, but you know me, I’ll try almost anything once.

I have installed some of my food items and spices on two slabs sticking out horizontally from the wall. They appear to be made of a tree-like material, though the roots, branches, bark are nowhere to be seen. It has been very useful in organizing my stock.

Also in the room there is a large white box with doors. Inside the air is cold like winter or like the microclimate in the shade of a large oak tree, except light is emitted from a sun-like bulb, the size of a soaproot. But the little sun is cold, not hot like fire. I’ve decided to put some of my forage inside as an experiment. If it turns out to be evil and devour it, I’ll have to stick to the old ways.

Finally, there is a silver stick extending over a white box elevated a few feet off the ground (which is covered with a very strange substance, no leaf litter, and completely flat!!). At first I thought the silver branch was for hanging my hat on. But then I turned the little levers to either side and found water just pouring out!! (My hat got soaked). When I pull the right lever, hot water streams out. How is that even possible?! The creek and river never do that, except in very few and isolated instances. I have to admit, I do like it.

However, no birds or beetles or caterpillars have appeared. Not a single deer, fox, or bobcat has commuted through the room. No green neighbor lives in this room. So weird!! And when I look up it’s just plain flat white, no clouds, no stars, no breeze. It make me a little lonely.

But Nothing terrible has happened, and I’ll continue to monitor the environment (both outer and inner) and report back. It is National Burrito Day, so a celebration may be in order later. You know, as an experiment. But first: popcorn with nutritional yeast and coconut oil🍿