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Posts Tagged ‘nature’


            for Jay
 
 
We stepped into cool autumnal air
ripe with the red scent of tiny crab apples
and charged with the darkling promise of storm.
 
We were well-armed with studies and stories
on why we might want to choose awe—
but awe chose us the way gold chooses aspen,
 
the way love chooses friends,
the way shorter days choose fall,
the way beauty chooses what will die.
 
And aspen leaves whirled all around us
and caught in our hair, and we knew ourselves
as small essential beings in a wide, astonishing world.
 
 
*Hey, friends, just saying that the Original Thinkers Festival program on the Power of Awe was AMAZING!!! If you have never checked out Original Thinkers in Telluride, well, it is great for people who are curious and like to engage in conversations about paradox, science, emotion, the natural world and community. 

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An hour means nothing
to this rivulet
unbraided from the stream.
To the towering spruce,
what’s a day?
What know these red cliffs
of a week? A month?
To the deep meadow,
what’s a year?
But for those who give themselves over
to the wind-kissed field,
the quiver of grass,
the great rise of Mount Abrams
and the quieting,
for those who linger on this timeless land,
a moment could mean everything.

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Ridgway, Colorado


On a day when the human world feels like a fist—
when it clenches and squeezes,
fierce and relentless—
I leave the four walls and sit
on an old fallen cottonwood tree,
long and silver and smooth.
There, in the center of a wide river valley,
I sit. And sit. And sit.
And the tall green grasses
and the graceful white yarrow don’t refuse me.
And the murmur of waves
and the musk-yellow scent of sweet clover
replace any thoughts, save being here.
The ring of red mesas
with their vast crowns of spruce
form a vase great enough to hold it all—
and I am gathered into spaciousness
along with dark green sedges and white butterflies,
with the tantrums of brambles
and the tangled flight patterns
of thousands on thousands of dark tiny flies.
A flock of birds rise all at once from the river
and my heart and my eyes rise, too.
A long time passes before I am quiet enough
to hear the chorus in the willows,
the bright clicking of insect wings,
the silence that weaves through everything.
Then the flickers come close
and the dragonflies draw nearer in.
And I current. I cloud. I leaf. I wing.
I leave unwalled, un-selved.
The spaciousness comes with me.

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The mother walked
in a deep river gorge
forged by water and time.
She knew herself alone.
She moved with no urgency.
She stepped as if she’d forgotten
what time was.
She paused at the wild currants
and pulled the small red fruits
into her mouth.
She paused on the bridge
and watched the water
continue its forging.
She paused on a flat rock,
removed her shoes
and slipped her feet
into the cold water.
She did not mind
the hem of her black dress
spilling into the stream.
She sat.
She didn’t weep until she did.
She wept until she didn’t.
She sat until she forgot
she was sitting.
She sat until
there was a clearing in her
the way the river will eventually clear
after it’s been muddied by the rain.
There’s no magic number
for how many minutes
or hours or years
it takes to clear.
It is, perhaps, sufficient to know
clearing happens.
At some point, she rose
and walked toward home.
She was not alone.
There was nothing that was not beautiful.

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Nearing the Time When



Even without a calendar,
I would know it is nearly a year
since you left this world.
I know by the angle
of sun in the trees.
Know by the way
I need a sweater at night.
Know by the peas ripe on the vine
and the carrots just now long enough to pull.
I know by the scent
of afternoon monsoons
and the daily threat of mudslides
and the regreening of the field before the gold.
The whole world seems to remember
what it was doing the day you died.
The hummingbirds were swarming
the sweet water in the feeder.
The blue dragonflies were landing
on reeds near the pond.
And the sunflowers in the garden
had just begun to open.
I am pierced by an awareness
of what is not the same,
how the rhythms of the heart
have wildly changed,
even as the river sings red and low
as it always does in August,
even as the mushrooms push through the duff
as they do, as they do, as they always do.



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Small Stuff




It can be so small, what saves me.
   Like the crow that arrives every day
     in the same green spot in the yard.
Like the baby bunny that lives
   beneath our porch who locks eyes
     with me every morning.
Like skinny dipping with Corinne
   in a frigid alpine lake. Bite of radish
     just picked from the garden.
Scent of wild roses on the trail.
   It does not make sense that pleasures
     so small could somehow stand up
to a ransacked heart, and yet
   when I hear the whir of hummingbird wings
     or see the tiny purple of a Lady Slipper
rising out of the dirt,
   I notice the dogged joy in me,
     how it glimmers against the dark
like the shooting star I saw tonight,
   long and brilliant and red,
     or like the owl in the spruce trees
that with only a handful
   of low and sonorous notes,
     redefines the night with song.

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Eight Months Later




Sometimes when I’m buying glue
at the hardware store or looking at books
in the library, someone will come and,
with so much love, invite me to dive with them
into the eddies of articulate grief. Or sometimes,
also with love, they’ll say something neutral, like,
“Nice weather,” and I’ll nod, though meanwhile
we wade in thick currents of all that goes unspoken.  
Every day, I leave for a time the world of language.
I walk in the woods or along the red cliffs
where the only conversationalists
are the creek and the squirrel, the crow
and the magpie, the sharp scent of spruce,
and the burgeoning leaves.
I let myself speak only in listening.
The grief listens with me. Hours go by.
Words find us soon enough.

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On a Clear Day


The way the field holds
   the shadow of the cottonwood,
      this is how life holds me.
 
Holds me, no matter my shape.
   Holds me with no effort.
      Holds my darkness and knows it
 
as weightless, as transient,
   as something that will shift,
      disappear, return, and shift again.
 
It never says no to me.
   I am still learning to trust life, to trust
      no matter how I show up, I will be held.
 
Trust that my life is not a problem.
   Trust that as much as I am the shadow,
      I am also the field.

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with a line from “After the Japanese” by Jack Granath
 
 
A warm March day
and the blue sky
slips itself
into the list
of things to do,
and I would have to be
deaf or just plain stubborn
to not hear the call
to play outside—
and damn, but
I’m stubborn,
so the world
sends a bobcat,
a red-tailed hawk
and a whole herd of elk
to the yard.
What’s a busy woman
to do
but surrender?
I don’t.
Head down, I get
the work done.
I put on the blinders
of responsibility
until a poem says to me,
You do the right thing,
citizen, and my chest pounds
in urgent code:
that. means. you.
and I put down
the work and walk
into the day
to do my duty,
which is to meet the world
that will never
send an email,
the world
that will never knock,
will never call,
but will always
say welcome,
citizen, welcome.

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Home


 
 
Even after all these years
of wandering this twisting path of self,
how is it I am still surprised
to find a new home inside the rush of river,
as if I haven’t been here
in this song of melting many times before?
How is it I forgot my home
inside the brittle brown grass of March,
home in the sweet moldering scent of spring,
home in the sun soaked day—
as if the great star of beginnings
is saying again to me, Come, friend.
 
How is it I sometimes forget to arrive
exactly where I am, especially in these days
when forgiveness arrives like the cranes
on great wings that charge the air.
These days when love comes crashing in
like western wind, breaking branches
and rearranging the yard, as if to say
it is here to change everything.
Sometimes I forget the world will find me
wherever I am and insist in the language
of willow and trunk and hawk and noon,
home, home, you are home.

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