Posts

Summer Solstice

Image
Deborah O'Connor is a gifted astrologer and, on the near eve of my birthday, I find her latest message especially insightful and wise. I hope you do, as well. The photo of the Indian Paintbrush I took on the edge of the canyon near our mountain home several years ago. I have always cherished my June birthdays, and this one seems even more impactful. Midsummer is a poignant time. Light itself moves through us and into our world with more intensity than any other day of the year. On this bright and light-filled day, we recognize that, like the sun that has been expanding itself more and more and more for six months now, we have been working—body and soul—to energize our lives. But today is a turning point, literally.  Summer Solstice begins when the Sun moves into heart-aware Cancer. This is a day when Time itself pauses to see the way forward. Since the sun began to gain light and strength at Winter Solstice six months ago, we've driven ourselves as we felt its energy fillin

Wrap Your Heart Around the World

Image
Photo by Time Magazine In 1964, the Beatles walked down the steps of a Pan Am Boeing 707 and stepped onto American soil at New York's Kennedy Airport. A few months later, my parents drove our family of four across the United States from Colorado to the World’s Fair in New York City. From there, we drove to Montreal, sold our car, and sailed on the cold waters of the Atlantic down the St. Lawrence Seaway on a steamship bound for England. We didn’t step back on American soil until 1965—one year, 27 countries, and one London Beatles concert later.   The world would never be the same—for our family, for the Beatles, for the teenage girls who swooned over John, Paul, George, and Ringo as girls had swooned over Elvis and James Dean. Those times now seem deceptively innocent, the girls with their penny loafers and ponytails, the half-grown boys with their bobbed bangs singing, S he's in love with me, and I feel fine ... She's so glad, she's telling all the world....  Ukraine i

If Only the Moon Would Still the Tides

Image
When John took this photo of my favorite knoll at the ranch in Wyoming, eight years had already passed since I'd climbed to her barren top and peered down at the redtail hawk soaring beneath. Yet the stories I continue to tell about this land create an ongoing dialogue that pulses through everything new. During the last half of 2021, I shrugged off guilt as each monthly blog post went unwritten, in part because new chapters of the novel on which I was working continued to unfold. The writing experience had become less about interpreting the world, and more about listening.  Immersed each morning in the novel, I listened to the Colorado wind blowing through the ponderosas outside my window and to the woman whose story I was telling. When Monique rested her hand on the back of her grandfather's gray horse, I felt the horse's warmth beneath my own.* When Monique slid onto Nishiime's back and draped her bare legs around his ribs, urging him along the lakeshore and into its

The Crows Who Knew the Fox Who Knew My Mother

Image
Always, in the month of May, I feel my mother's presence in the untamed view outside our windows (which was once her view), in the mountain neighbors who once knew her, even in the noisy crows who congregate in the gangly ponderosas in our yard. The elders of this crow family might have been youngsters when Mom was alive, growing as she aged, recognizing her just as they recognized the mother fox and each new set of kits who denned below the house. Mom loved nature, and walks in the woods, but she also loved Japanese art, exotic travels, world-class museums, good books, classical music, Darjeeling tea, and French food. She never had these things growing up, which is perhaps why, later in life, she loved them so much. She loved Van Gogh, but not as much as she loved Claude Monet. A print of Monet's Japanese Bridge  found its way onto every bedroom wall I had as a child.   I've been re-reading my old journal entries from 2004, when my mother's valient struggles with cance

On the Green River, In the Steam of Another Lifetime

Image
Two special women in my life just passed and I find myself filled with nostalgia for my own mother and for a childhood that was, by all measures, a good one. And yet there were tragedies, as with all childhoods. This poem, in this new year, takes me into the heart of a few of these memories... Forty-five years ago, Colorado’s South Platte River left her banks and thrust herself at the tall cottonwoods whose deep roots until that moment drank  matter-of-factly from her mossy waters near the frog pond by my childhood home twenty feet tall, the river roared across mowed lawns  scoured cul-de-sacs, inundated our home as indiscriminately as she snatched Betsy Grant’s  two-story brick house, carving a gaping hole where the basement had been, leaving nothing but a curtain rod. I do not remember if the day the rains came, on the heels of mountain snowmelt if on that day, a rainbow – like now, here on the Green River – stretched across the blue horizon offering itself as retribution and apology

Like Horses, We Falter When We Lose Our Way

Image
The morning after the veterinarian injected the little white mare with a sedative, and then a lethal dose of barbiturates, the herd did not want to go out to the pasture. They stayed near the gate where the sweet elderly Arabian had taken her last breath.  “The timing is good,” the veterinarian had said. “Not too soon, and not too late.” She had taken care of Echo for many years. None of us wanted the thin mare to endure another hard winter, even with the herd beside her, even with abundant hay. The slender white mare had roamed these high mountain pastures for nearly thirty years. As other horses came and went, Echo’s presence remained as constant as the glow of moonlight over the meadows. She wasn’t a leader. She wasn’t an enforcer. She wasn’t even a follower. But like her name suggested, she was the mirror that reflected back to the other horses their sense of order, their sense that all was right in the world.  Like the vista of a deep canyon inspires us to shout across the water a

Returning to Kindness: What the River and the Poems of Linda Hogan Teach Us

Image
Women have been gathering at the river for thousands of years. It is where we have traditionally  come to greet the sun, to cleanse and purify ourselves, to find inspiration, to tell our stories, to create a vision for the future. Torrey House Press, the publisher of Linda Hogan's newest book of poetry, The History of Kindness,  writes that these new poems “explore new and old ways of experiencing the vagaries of the body and existing in harmony with earth's living beings.” "There is no one like Linda Hogan," writes author Terry Tempest Williams. "I read her poetry to both calm and ignite my heart. A History of Kindness is a series of oracles rising from the page born out of a life of listening, feeling, responding." For women, living in harmony with our bodies, and with nature, does not always come easily. We are often encouraged by society to embrace a lifestyle that is everything but harmonious with nature. We are led to believe that harmony wit

The Earth, A Reclamation

Image
The poem and poet's statement below, and accompanying photographs, first appeared in the May 2020 digital issue of Langscapes Magazine , published by Terralingua.Org. The print version of the magazine, Volume 9, is now available. I wanted to also share " Reclamation " with the subscribers of "All Things Literary/All Things Natural." Thank you.  Reclamation They say the traffic in London has killed the song of the nightingale. When they serenade each other, they sound more like the honking of horns, the squealing of brakes, and so the nests lie empty. Yet a coyote sought shelter in a Chicago Starbuck’s last month, the closest thing to a cave he could find, stood shaking next to the cooler in the dark corner with the Odwalla juices and the caffeine drinks and the mineral water from Fiji. Just last weekend, in Santa Fe, in the hours before dawn, on the Plaza while the town slept, a mountain lion leapt through the door of a jewelry store, leaving a

Where the Condors Fly

Image
I should be in Peru right now, visiting with the traditional weavers in my broken Spanish, dotted with poorly pronounced Quechua words, smiling at Elena, petting her lamb, telling her about the ewes we used to have in Wyoming, about the lambs my children used to raise. Our laughter would embarrass her, but her eyes would twinkle and suddenly we would be just two women standing on a mountainside. I harbor a secret dream that rises up whenever I visit Peru. In the highlands of Peru, progress seems to stand still but time travels on, swirling among the ancient Apus where the condors fly, sifting through fields of ripening corn, floating down the Urubamba River, rising as mist that floats across the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. Time travels through the fingers of the Quechua weavers, too. Ancient patterns appear like magic in wool freshly dyed with crushed leaves that only a few days ago fluttered in the breeze. "When you speak Quechua," I am told, "you c

What if God gave us a Do-Over? What if Kristin Flyntz's imaginary letter from the virus to us isn't imaginary after all?

Image
If you haven't yet watched Kristin Flyntz's video (see below), pick up your journal, find a quiet corner, then click on the photo below. As you watch and listen, imagine our species making this earth our home for a mere 200,000 years. Imagine the 4 billion years that the earth has been home to as many as 8 billion other living beings.  We are babes in the woods. Consider, what if the human species is only one of a million sentient species? What if we are not even the most sentient species? What if the earth, and all life on earth, has been trying to have a meaningful conversation with us for thousands of years? What if we suspend our disbelief,  and watch  this video  with humility, with our senses engaged and our human egos disengaged? What if we suspend our disbelief, like we do when watching movies or reading novels, and pretend (just for 3.5 minutes) that we're not the smartest beings on the planet, that all life carries within it the same miracle of creation.

The Coronavirus and The Eight Master Lessons of Nature: What Gary Ferguson and Mary Clare are Teaching Us About Living Well in the World

Image
March 19, 2020 Update : Journalist John Vidal poses this question in The Guardian : "Is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?As habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, the coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics." Scroll down for the link to the article. Did any of you, when you first heard that the coronavirus was sourced from a live-animal market in China, have this fleeting thought:  What did we expect after centuries of treating animals cruelly? Did we think there would be no consequences?   Perhaps it’s time we look not only into the pathology of the coronavirus, but also into the morality of it. We have always known there would be a day of reckoning. The bad news is that the final arbitrator might be Supreme Nature herself. The good news is that the final arbitrator might be Supreme Nature herself. In  Lesson Five  of  The Eight Master Lessons of Nature   (“Our Animal Cousins Make Us  Happier—and Smarter”),