The Smell of Joy

IMG_0977Have you ever seen the color of the evening bird’s song?

It smells like joy.

It’s one of the things they rarely print in the park brochure.

It’s probably different for everybody
But for me it’s a spring breeze
floating an orange and turquoise shell
out of an ancient canyon

It’s a red and yellow whistle
petalling through me like bubbles splitting
and swallowing themselves
out on the limbs of twilight tree.

That’s the smell of joy.

The brochures don’t say that.

They do mention to stay on the trails
but they don’t mention that
when you walk the fallen log
stretching from shore to shore
of the red forest

strange things happen

with the birds
and the scents
and the hearts of the forest

They don’t say that when you see
the 7:30am rays interplay with the morning dew
hugging the gentle green arms of the old oak

you will have to change your life.

Sometimes the truth gets told
and they say “Enjoy the Park”

So you do.

And the creek jumps up to kiss your face
and the smell of joy
floods your cells

and you know you will never leave.

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A Meadow To Hold It All

IMG_0611There are no strangers here
any more

My heart has walked the seasons
with the rooted ones
conspiring to add a ring or two

I don’t have to ask what time it is
yet spring is nearly an unbearable
improbability

knocking on everybody’s door
a fragrant evangelist preaching
resurrection

I stumbled through the brambled wounds
of the world thick as blackberries
and sunk a falcon’s claw into the flurry

though my beard grows with each whisper
of the eastern wind and my robe
is well-worn from a winter apprenticeship

I fear I don’t have a meadow
within worthy enough to hold it all

this preposterous birth

tonight I’ll once again rest all our heads
under the inexhaustible moon
on a pillow of red dust
out-breath of the forest’s meditation
spinning itself through the seasons

and grow the edges of my booming
meadow and let the impossible rabbits feed

for not even the snowy plum
refuses to blossom
when the spring breeze
sends her strange invitations

‘Shroom Forest

IMG_7510If I were shrunk
and found myself
the size of a seed

I’d build a home among the ‘shrooms
in a village called Puhpowee*–
the Potawatomi word
for the force which causes mushrooms
to push up from the earth overnight

I’d wake and wash my face
in the dew drop
that collected on my mushroom cap roof
every morning

and would hold little gatherings
among the grandmother grove of mushrooms
bigger than all the rest (more than 3 inches tall!)
with an altar of spores
and even tinier seeds
of every stripe and hue

And we’d have a little fire
which we’d start
with a single redwood needle
twice my size
so I’d need to find
a nice ‘shroomy girl
to help me break it down
and light it

Then all us fungi villagers
would sing mushroom songs
around the tiny flame–

folksy songs about lichen and love
and what it would be like to
be big like a fern
among the giant redwood trees

and after the fire died down
some of us would stay behind
and tell stories
about our first time

and about sneaking into Mr. Psilo’s
big mushroom mansion
and how he was bald-headed by age 30
saying how we hope we never got that old
but if we did, well, we’d promise each other
we’d stay young at heart
and always caper about in the woods together

and never, ever get so old
that we wouldn’t stick our bare feet
in the cold creek
and on the soft ground
and put our arms around
each other and our
our mushroom tree homes.

That’s what I’d do
if I were the size of a seed.

*Puhpowee is from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s gorgeous and inspiring book, Braiding Sweetgrass. Potawatomi is a member of the Anishinaabe language family.

IMG_7564

 

Grand Ol’ Creek Time Jubilee

IMG_7211everybody’s hyper today
wet and excitable
after yesterday’s ocean drop
swept the forest clear and bright

jays and ravens–full of leaf love–
conduct their on-going argument
with glottic glee
but are yet to break into song

warblers swim the laurels
smacking nuts to the ground
whistle of the red tail
remains of the rabbit

squirrels ch ch chhhchchchc
chirp it up real good
down the leafless walnut
switchy bushy tail play
trying to get attention

mushrooms do pushups out of logs
intrepid composers
bands of banded doves
rip tarps off the treetops
making eucalyptus shake
melodies from her hair

everybody’s having a grand ol’ creek time jubilee

except for lonely duck lost
— he asks for directions

oak shrugs at the roots
grandmother redwood sighs her 20 ft. arms
to the duff
in a crash
surrendering to the season

only the moon hovering above
seems unperturbed
watching the whole scene

but even she, drowsy half-queen
evokes the coyotes’ best salutes
at dusk

Fall Away

c244ac380594f873912364f47ef5f1d7--autumn-leaves-autumn-fall (1)In a world struggling desperately to find some semblance of balance and to integrate the shadows, may we receive the blessings of the Fall Equinox.Β πŸƒπŸ‚

Hover here for a moment
feeling the balance
between darkness and light
between drawing within
and explosive expression

harvest your juicy
sun-soaked fruits
perhaps too easily procured

honor the growing shadow
it’s okay to grieve
the dry and dying

relish the transition
and let the leaves no longer needed
flitter to the floor
limbs to feel
all the more lighter

Trees Grow Out of My Body

nature heartTrees grow out of my body
I’m not sure if I planted them
or if they planted me
all I know is that
an oak tree grows behind my ears
soaking sunshine into my skull
a nut falls from my sternum
each time I take a breath
a sapling takes the space between my toes
sending roots earthward
drinking up autumn rain
into my belly
awfully cold
but refreshing
when the east wind blows
the canopy of my
my head sways gently
to the left
to the right
do you catch my drift?
buckeyes from my eyes
do you see what I’m saying?
madrones out my finger tips
do you feel me?
they must think I’m soil
and I haven’t tried to convince them otherwise