In the 7th grade I invented
interstellar travel
via hydrogen ion propulsion.

Combined with giant sails
that would harness
the chaotic wind
from solar storms

we could go anywhere.

Even here.

I was in the library
where the sound and scent
of old books
were background to my life.

That was back when libraries knew how to be themselves.

They were quiet and sensitive.
I was quiet and sensitive.

Since then, I haven’t done much engineering. NASA, please forgive me.

Unless you count constructing façades,
adopting them as masks of belonging.

You see, earthstorms moved in
thrashing my branches
and I did the only thing I knew
how to do:

I deployed my earthworms
and became someone else.

Clearly, who I was wasn’t safe.

That was the wrong lesson.
But I knew not roots
and took to riot.

I learned to be noisy and insensitive.

I learned anger gets you things—Mostly the wrong things.

I learned, to my chagrin,
I couldn’t photosynthesize,
which led me to adopt some peculiar eating and moving habits.

I discovered walking and small talk.
I discovered cheese and liquor.
I discovered coffee and masturbation and chasing things.

Over time, I learned to need them.

Fantastic wounds and tornadoes refined me
and my feet walked it all together
into my torso.

This continued rather inelegantly
for decades

until one season
I gave myself the curse-gift
of walking with death
into the bottom of things.

How can I describe the down
and up of things
without mentioning love?

Oh fierce heart, I learned
to breathe, I learned
to eat
like it’s the first time.

I learned to honor the seasons

and all the splendid contours
of resistance
and its first mate, acceptance.

I guess what I’m saying is
at some level
I’ve always known
the value of silence

that sensitivity is a gift
and who I am is a sacred mystery

that storms are essential
to the journey

That being here is one thing

but really being here
is yet another way to love

and is the path
to all the holy things.

Sip the Season Darkly – Within the Cave Something Pulses

Solstice Blessings!

I. Sip the Season Darkly

Darkness has arrived
wrapping its inky cloak
across the season
of our lives

long shadows and owls stand tall and salute
autumn’s bright slow song
becoming winter’s march

asking us not skip too quickly
over the hour
with an eager eye
grasping towards cherry blossoms
awaiting on the other side

Drink deeply from the season,
they say, from the cup overflowing
with the sweetness of the fruitful darkness

Sip the season darkly
in its slow inward night embrace

Wisdom hidden from summer’s glare
may yet pass our lips
should we have the thirst for it

Until finally, the world becomes too much with us:

We go to the cave, the secret one
in the mountain of ourselves
seeking stillness, a retreat
an inward looking

and listen for it, our own voice amidst

The Silence – can you hear it?

heart sunII. Within the Cave Something Pulses

Within the cave something pulses.
We hear it even now
feel it even now

that which deepest dark cannot smother,
and even winter’s hands cannot touch

tender tendrils of our very own vine,
bearing the wine of our heart

A Remembering–Aha!

Some secret vial of our heart’s fuel
distilled for this very hour
to sip the season brightly

And the sun too misses its lover earth
and cannot too long stay away

The sun was meant for this: to shine

To not share the big love is a wounding

So in this darkest hour
the sun knocks on the nearest horizon
and announces The Return with a subtle beat:

“Dear Love, I’m Here.”

Which is exactly what we find
written on the walls of our cave

“Dear Love, I’m Here.”

And we open our new eyes of dawn
with a deep breath

and though it’s just a whisper now
it is enough to start it all again
and again…again….again…

Included in the new collection, Within the Cave Something Pulses, forthcoming 2020. 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. A book of mystery poems, Silence Begins Here, book of love and erotic poetry, Wild Rose Hips, and a celebration of the flow of rivers and souls, Riverever will also be out in 2020.


INTO THE CAVE Courses begin January 8. What emerges in the fruitful darkness?
Two groups—one All/No Genders Cohort and one Men Only Cohort.

DEEP BELONGING Courses begins January 9. Re-Belong yourself to Place and Purpose. Day and evening times.

Take the self-paced WILD NATURE HEART CHALLENGE at anytime, from anywhere.



Poem-share for sinking into the season & Befriending the dark, slowness, silence, & shadows.

Sometimes when light takes a turn
you want it even brighter

But when dark wraps itself
around you like a cocoon

you want it deeper
than the Mariana Trench

For to hear any true thing
requires a rare silence

one that flees
from sun’s boisterous embrace
and even autumn eyes see too boldly

The hibernaculum is the school
of the unseen and undone

without which nothing
is seen or done

a temple of the night
where your stone vessel cracks

but your heartbody grows smooth
with sacred slugs and seeds

and light is far too loud
for a bear on the perimeter

when things are settling in
for the cold knowing

-Ryan Van Lenning
Included in the new collection ‘Within the Cave Something Pulses,’ forthcoming 2020.

INTO THE CAVE Courses begin January 8. What emerges in the fruitful darkness?
Two groups—one All/No Genders Cohort and one Men Only Cohort.

DEEP BELONGING Courses begins January 9. Re-Belong yourself to Place and Purpose. Day and evening times.

Take the self-paced WILD NATURE HEART CHALLENGE at anytime, from anywhere.


73E95A87-9780-48F6-A917-E0B8F3732A5FBEFRIENDING THE DARK

In these darkest days and longest nights approaching the winter solstice, I am participating in an apprenticeship to dark, silence, slowness, solitude, shadow, and soulstice.

The season contracts, things slow down, energies withdraw, go underground, and the earth releases and composts the old in order to recharge for new life. We honor the season and ourselves by doing the same.

Now the dominant culture sure as hell doesn’t necessarily abide by these energies. In this culture dedicated to light and production, business and speed, wasteful consumption, the notion of valuing and celebrating the darkness, slowness, stillness, spaciousness for rest, poetry and dreaming, the unconsciousness, cocoon and cave and womb energy, is a radical notion.

Yet life and creativity are born in these spaces. The natural cycle and balance of seasons both external and within exists for a reason.. We can dedicate ourselves to syncing our body, energy, psyche to the season by honoring the darkness, shadow, stillness, slowing down, withdrawing in. We can say no to things. We can let go of things. We can take sacred pauses to simply BE, not do.

It is not unusual to resist these downward descent energies (and I myself in the past resisted), but one can find a vitality & wisdom in befriending the dark, sinking into the slowness, and owning the shadows.

I’ll be sharing poems, images, and inspiration that honor the season of dark and shadow and slowness, Using the #BefriendingtheDark.

How are you honoring the season?
INTO THE CAVE Courses begin January 8. What awaits in the fruitful darkness?
Two groups—one All/No Genders Cohort and one Men Only Cohort.

DEEP BELONGING Courses begins January 9. Re-Belong yourself to Place and Purpose.
Day and evening times.

Take the self-paced WILD NATURE HEART CHALLENGE at anytime, from anywhere.



D6EF0AF5-D8CC-448F-977A-D9EF4C13ACC7A mystery larger than the Milky Way
lies at the heart of your secret longing

That sacred stalk born in you
from the cup of night
drinks daily from the moist
and merry met

Make no argument with dawn,
for it is your own stubborn face
writ with play at any cost

If you turn it all over and find
that you were merely a mirage
on the old coin,
don’t fret

Merely open your heartpockets
to find true wealth
and give it all away

When the great buzz
of the metal sky is Unheard
the kill machines are Unlearnt
and the great shine of the techno-veil is Unseen

the moon’s melody will lap
at your ear-shore

and you will remember your name rooted in Mystery

the low hum of lover-earth
will begin seeding in you
the original song

rhyming with every bloom
and authentically crooked flow

This poem is included in the new collection ‘Silence Begins Here.’ That and my collection of love and erotic poetry, ‘Wild Rose Hips’, and my polyRiverous celebration of rivers, mountains, and souls ‘Riverever’ will be out later this year.

In the meantime, 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. Follow me for mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work. 🙏🌍🤠🦊🌲💚