On the road again!!

Nature & Words is on a summer sabatical, which is to say that I just "got off the river" after my 22nd annual "River Writing Journey for Women," which featured renowned sculptor Roxanne Swentzell as my featured artist, 21 other amazing women, an ancient canyon, a river following an ancient bed to the sea, and .... 

Now I'm on the road again, heading to New Mexico with my husband John Gritts to lead our 7-day, "Santa Fe & Taos Sojourn: Sacred Lands, Sacred Art, Sacred Words" retreat.

Wishing you safe travels if you're on the road, and sequestered moments of creativity if you're close to home.

Honoring N. Scott Momaday, Honoring Our Ancestors

NEW YORK, NY — Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, poet, playwright, and professor N. Scott Momaday, Ph.D., accepted the 2019 Ken BurnsAmerican Heritage Prize at an event held at the American Museum of Natural History. May 2019. 
Last week my daughter Sarah, visiting from Oklahoma, took home with her a chest filled with her great-grandmother’s antique grape-patterned silverware, and a portrait of her great-grandmother taken when she was a young newlywed. An antique pewter broach from this same great-grandmother had been the center piece of my daughter’s wedding bouquet.
While organizing the silver, I shared a few family stories with Sarah. “Could you write them down, Mom?” she asked. She wanted to share the stories with her daughters when they were older. I printed out a chapter I had written for The Light Shines from the West, a book on the rural American West, which included this story:
"As a young woman, my Missouri-born grandmother knew both physical isolation and sensory depriv…

On the River with Joy Harjo, Our New U.S. Poet Laureate

When women gather at the river, something rather wonderful happens. Like eagles, we have  been gathering at the river for thousands of years. To bathe our children. To wash our clothes. To gather water for drinking, for ceremony, for cleansing. Even, like the eagles, to catch the fish we will feed our families.

Six years ago, 18 of us gathered on the Colorado River with Joy Harjo. We laughed. We bathed. We danced. We wrote in our journals. We asked, "How do we know when a story ends?"

In "Eagle Poem," Joy writes about eagles that soar over rivers, sweeping our hearts clean with sacred wings. She writes about the eagles that "round out the morning" in each of us.

On Day 2 of the river trip, we hiked to the top of a steep rim above the river. "Rocks calm me," I wrote in my journal, "because of their stillness. The wind is speaking a gentle language, whispers...." Joy sat on the edge of the rim with her flute, her notes rounding out the …

Breaking Bread: Sapiens and the Three Daughters of Eve


WATER MASK, Alaskan Stories from the Heart