Posts Tagged ‘nature’



Come, she says, let me show you

my secret place in the woods,

and she grabs my hand


and walks me past the pond through

the forest and along a ditch

until we arrive in a small clearing


rung with birch and old spruce.

It’s secret, she says, but not

too far away. Will you help me


get it ready? We return with

loppers and a small hand saw

and clear away what is dead. The sun


discovers new ways to touch the ground.

When we leave, the clearing

comes with us. All day, I feel it,


the light as it finds its way in.


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One Way to Walk




the old road to the mine—

getting lost without making

a single turn

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Arriving at the starting line

I think of the marathon to come—

somewhere there’s a man


with a gun and a timer.

Somewhere there’s another line

I hope to cross.


Somewhere there’s a woman

who doesn’t know there is a race.

She knows only that the juncos


have come, and if she is still enough

she can see their white tail feathers

flashing in flight.

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Even on a Monday it can happen,

you step out of the office

and instead of going to your car

or making another call or running

to the bank, your feet

and legs conspire to move you

toward the woods where after

only ten minutes you are more breath

than brain, more here than anywhere else—

water drips in the creek bed,

sunlight pushes through empty branches,

and at your sides your arms swing

as if they were made for this.

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When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.
—John Muir

and so when I tug at the blue green ice
that marbles the top of the river, it’s no
surprise to find it connected to those mornings
when I was a girl and the lake was frozen
and I could skate all the way to the middle,
could follow the cracks and skate so far
I could hardly see my small yellow house.
I would lay down, face to the ice, and feel
the way the cold rose up to sting my check,
feel the chill seep through my winter clothes.
I would roll over and stare at the white sky
and wave my arms and legs in the angel pattern,
though there was no snow. And I’d stay there
a long, long time. In this way, I learned
it is possible to be warm even held by the cold,
and tugging at this, it is no surprise
to find it connects to everything.

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See, he says
with a wave of his hand,
how to this side
the trees are slender
and on this side
how large they all are.
We can imagine,
he says, that a post road
went through here
and on one side of it
the forest was cleared.
On the other is old growth.
I look, and agree, though
now there is no hint
besides the trees
that this was once
a well traveled way.
I think of all the people
who have walked
through my life,
how invisible their paths
are now. Can anyone else
see the ways I’ve been marked?
Some brought invasive seeds.
Some made light.


We hear it
long before we see it—
zee zee zee zoo zee.
A trout lily
bows by the stream.
Open, its six yellow petals peal back.
zee zee zee zoo zee.
Do you know why it’s bowed?
Paul asks me.
I like that he will know the answer.
Inside, he says, are all the sex organs,
and they do not want to get wet.
zee zee zee zoo zee.
He explains
one way other flowers
stay dry is to learn to close up
whenever things get dark.
Now that’s smart.
I think to myself,
Rosemerry, learn to bow.


What is this drive
toward opening?
Here: white trilliums
and anemone, pink spring beauties
and ten thousand
blue and yellow violets
all unfold in a mass
affirmation of life
longing for itself.
The beech leaves are
so intent on unfurling
that their bud scales are bursting
and fall from the canopy
like coppery rain in our hair.
zee zee zee zoo zee.
Even this damp land
beneath our feet
is still opening—a widening canyon
carved over 340,040 years
by water moving toward the sea.
One day, we’ll be put
into this earth forever.
For now, there’s this
bird to find, there’s this
drive toward opening.


And there it is,
the black-throated green warbler.
It’s yellow. Though I can’t tell
from this distance
to where its silhouette flits
high in the trees.
a tiny, bobbing silhouette.
I thrill to see it,
but the bird is not why I am here.
I have no list to check.
I don’t know why I am here.
Except that it feels good
to walk in the woods
amongst hemlock and beech
and wild cherry and to hear
the stories about how it is.
How the barberry came
and never left. How the
Henslow’s Sparrow ushers
in the summers here, tsi-lick, tsi-lick,
How the male toads,
when they’re ready to mate,
will grip onto your finger
and not let go. How quietly
someone might walk into your life
and change the landscape,
another invisible road.

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Love says, ‘I am everything.’
Wisdom says, ‘I am nothing.’
Between these two my life flows.
–Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

It is enough today
to walk. The road
is gravel. To the left,
dry fields. To the right,
dry grass and sage. Cottonwoods
line the wash. The time
was once when steeper
was better and faster
was the only way.
I was not happier then,
only faster. I still
throw my arms
up to the sky
and say here,
here I am, here I am.
My heart, seeing
the crow silhouetted
against the sun
still rises, nearly bursts
with strange joy.
Oh wings!
The old apple tree
beside the road
drops a misshapen apple
into my hand. Yellow
and tart, it is sweeter
than the bitterness of longing.
I eat it all.

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which is worse
to walk the aspen
knowing they will die
or to not walk
the aspen?


on the table
the shadow of smoke
from the candle
how many other ghosts
do I not see in this room?


which is better
loving you although
it hurts, or
well, there are, it seems
no other options

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In the field
the ache of brokenness
is less.
Everything here
is broken.
Ground. Stems.
I could bear
almost anything
I think
if I sit here long enough
in tall dry grass
with the sun
slung low
and still warm
the wind
stirring the air
and carrying
my thoughts
some other where
till all that is left
is sky mind
and sky
a field
a winging shadow
passing through
my shadow.

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Seven True Stories

divided highway
late night, coming in my lane
head lights, a story


the sky and I,
both of us opening—
peal of unrung bells


the old cottonwood
tell me, when is the last time
you climbed it?


that ornery face,
yep, I folded it up,
put it in a safe place


laying in the grass
our bodies altars—
gold leaf offerings


everything shimmering
how could I not French kiss
the chill air


that bird, wonder if
he too gets so stunned by sky
he forgets how to sing

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