The Password

BFBCDBBA-1CF2-43A0-9180-EE45F21394A0To where the windows are open,
or none at all, withdraw
but give up on all avoidable walls

to where fences are figments of imagination
rainbows more real than nations

cast out the keys to all kingdoms
and let your eyes find feet more near

where the slightest gesture of dawn
pricks your holy ears

eluding the noisy net
that daily casts to catch

the dragonfly duet
of your pitch perfect patch

to where the rhythms hard
and soft flood in
imprint them in your luscious blood again

and trace the long-journeyed tree
through the four gates for free

a delicate dance that cannot be seen
without committing to the seasons

Find yourself one day somehow
on the other side of an audacious vow

the secrets spilled, on display
by every gust and guest of the glade

and a cheek against the live oak skin
can tell you the password again.

-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, Link in bio 🙏😀🎄💚

That Skunk of a Raven

6391c0ca-5bbf-4cd5-bbe6-a26bdc66c124They say as long as it’s not a poem about Nature or god forbid,

Whether in its burning purity
Or complex unrequisitions

So don’t expect nightingales here
I’ve turned all my warblers to ravens
and put in an order for dread
or the heavy metals of a world bent on celebrating gross and dark red things
and punching at all the Others
it thinks lives out THERE

But it boomerangs back as a dark bird singing sonnets
summing up the kerneled heart
inside the fist

I climb down the tree
watered with freedom
seeding its uncompromising truths in the shade
shaking out eternities of tunes
from the raven-lit branches

The opposite of love isn’t hate
but indifference, it says
and there’s no room in these wings for that

That skunk of a Raven squawks something
about how every tune is a love poem
even the damned curses

Every word a wild word
and challenges me to defy him

How can I argue with someone like that?

Bright and Awful Symphony of Things

From an ancient spruce these poemlets float
like a black flock
writing sleet-soaked secrets
in the silvery winter sky

Faster than sound, they chirp
A slickening thunder woven
with a frightening light
so close even your cloven bones
run up a lucky tree seeking shelter
called love,
fearful of getting struck

But it’s no use—
The tree conspires with the throat of the birds
whose wild words
are wrapped in a destiny
in which there is no safety zone

So you might as well loose your copper raptor
into the moonlit night unknown
and soar beside them
stretching your thirsty ears on their lambent wings

And lend your glistening feathers
to the bright and awful symphony of things

Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs

4B0F37C3-A42C-481F-BD30-71C67019E8D6Yesterday I was called to do a spontaneous letting go ritual on the land with a friend.
It came to me suddenly at dawn when I was taking some questions out for a walk and I found myself drawn to a particular eucalyptus tree.

It reminded me of an experience a had last year with another eucalyptus. It was on the first weekend of my ecotherapy certification with Ariana Candell of the Earthbody Institute, & we were doing a south shield somatic exercise.

At that time, I had particular hang-ups around body & movement; it was one reason I chose to study with her. I had particular stories and beliefs around, such as “I’m not a mover or a dancer” or “my body is ____” “my sexuality is ____”.

As a result, I was having difficulty dropping into the experience, then I saw all these strips of eucalyptus bark at my feet, then looked up & saw them falling off the trunk, while the upper branches danced in the wind and the new flowers were emerging.

I was just moved viscerally and it was one of my first real conscious experiences of nature as mirror, nature and psyche as co-partners in expression.

Everything alive sheds the old to make room for growth and the new.

I knew I had to strip away beliefs and attitudes that I’d carried for too long and were no longer serving. It resulted in me being much more comfortable in my body, and in the poem ‘Peel Away the Bark Of Yesterday’.

But back to the present: I knew I wanted to do an intentional ceremony and my friend was up for it, so we created a circle with bark and limbs, then wrote out limiting beliefs on madrone leaves, read them one by one aloud to each other, crumbled them, and then threw them behind us.


This time the limiting ideas I stripped away had to with my relationship to money, family, that love meant I had to abandon myself, that I’m not good with kids, & and ideas about how I have to live my relationship with lover nature.

How liberating!!

We both felt energized by the experience by making room for expansion. This is a type of activity we use in Wild Nature Heart programs. But you can do them yourself—I highly recommend these sort of spontaneous self-ceremonies done with intention. Listen to your intuition, get out of your own way, and honor your soul by trusting it knows what it needs.

Just a Tree Trunk

tree trunkThe uses to which you can put the beautiful desiccated severed spine of an ancient tree on the shore of a dammed river:

1)Performance Stage:

Barefoot tap-dancing
cedar limb as air guitar–
a sunset concert


Reading Thoreau at dusk–
all the librarians here
are dressed up like ducks


Issuing edicts
across the calm blue waves
like a summer king

4)Meditation Hall:


5)Viewing Deck:

Hot breeze, hazy skies
fish performing somersaults
for a bearded man

6)Ecological Research Facility

Three red-tailed hawks
Twenty-two clouds or just one–
it really depends

Wiggle Through the Hues

IMG_1365Happy National Love a Tree Day!

Eagle worm eagle worm
What do you see?

I see just three leaves,
Just leaves of three

Mottle-dee-dum, Mottle-dee-dee
Tell me what you really see

The Raven is flapping his wings on the wind
Creating tsunamis in lovers and friends

You who Wiggle through all of the hues
Consult the Spectrum where you get all the news

The leaf is the front
and the back of the Game
The leaves are the feathers
of the big name

But tell me, dear Wiggle, what do you mean?
You who slide through colors like dreams

I say what I mean, and I mean what I say
The leaf is a path to its Opposite Day

But what is the opposite of red yellow green?

Follow the Spiral and you’ll see what I mean

The one on the left is rooting and red
The one on the right is wanting its bed
The one in the middle’s the clue to it all
East spirit ofSpring from west heart of Fall

And what of North, and what of south?

Feed your body, feed your mouth

The more the three are ripe and round
The more the fourth, the North, is found

The three are your fourth, and the fourth is your three,
when they are lived fully and free

Thank you Beloved
I’ll ponder your words
As I sit on this hill
with the musical birds