Robin

robin-2506274_1920I had to let him go

Like the mother robin

Crowded with her noisy young

In the disheveled nest of twigs overhanging the patio door

Whose scruffy chicks were there one day

Then gone the next

Never to return

Continue reading “Robin”

Seeking Solace in Nature

IMG_1585In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings last week (on top of everything else going on in this country) I needed a big hug from nature.

Off I went with 3 other women friends to walk in the Opal Creek Wilderness Area.  This place has been a refuge for me for years.  It is tucked up in the Cascade Mountains about 30 miles due east of Salem, Oregon.

This is one of the largest old growth forests left in the United States and the largest in the Western Cascade Mountains in a watershed virtually untouched by loggers saw.  As a result, stunning Opal Creek runs sparkling clear through its rocky course through this forest wonderland of giant Douglas fir, W. Hemlock, & W. Red Cedar.

IMG_1601The Shiny Rock Mining company operated in the midst of this forest in the 1930s from the “town” of Jawbone Flat. In its heyday, about 50 souls lived & worked there.  The relics of the town still remain.

By the 1980s, timber companies were eager to log the area.  Friends of Opal Creek, an activist organization dedicated to preserving the watershed to a wilderness area, was formed.  I joined up.  For the next few years, I made many 4-hour roundtrip drives to lead educational hikes to the public along with other docents in an effort to expose and educate the public about why we should preserve this gem of an area.

The strategy worked.  Eventually, with public pressure, Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon IMG_1608pushed legislation through Congress in 1996 before he retired forming the Opal Creek Wilderness Area.  The Shiny Rock Mining Company deeded over their holdings to the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center whose mission it is to educate children and others on the value of old growth forests.

Today it is a sanctuary for many including myself and a myriad of flora and fauna.  Walking through this forest cathedral, the four of us absorbed the healing power of nature and our souls were washed clean, at least for a while, from the cascades of Opal Creek.

It was good to know, there is still beauty in this world.

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There is Still beauty in this World

Seek it in the wild forests

IMG_1574Where the only news you will hear

Are the songs of birds

And the shatter of chipmunks

 

Let the music of cascading waters

Soothe your soul

As you tread  in a green world

Lined with lush moss, rocks, and ferns

A winding trail beneath your feet

 

IMG_1617 (1)When you look up through

The cathedral of conifer branches

And the stained glass window of the vine maples in their sunset hues

Know that nature will endure

Beyond the world of man

 

Saying Good Riddance to Summer

It used to be my favorite season until the last couple of summers.  We here in Oregon have suffered unusually high sustained temperatures with our wildlands burning.  It’s been tough on the psyche on many levels.  Autumn is my new best friend.

Oregon Summer 2017

The summer left Oregon in hastecloud-2179323_1920

Like an old friend that paid a visit

Then had a falling out

The rains of autumn quickly came to take her place

Quenching the land’s thirst with violent downpours

 

The summer had betrayed us

Bringing unrelenting heat and drought

forest-1161868_1920Thousands of acres of parched forests burned with such intensity

It filled the hot air for days with acrid smoke

Staining the sky, stinging our eyes, making us cough

 

We longed for the familiar temperate comfort of the season

In a gentle land

Safe from extremes, full of verdant beauty

But now our ramparts have been breached and we are unsure

As we wade through this occupation of political and climate extremes

 

The summer left in a hurry

autumn-209479_1920Maybe to gather strength for next year?

Whatever the reason

As the leaves tinge with orange and yellow

Our relief is palpable as we wake with the morning’s new chill

We  welcome the prelude to winter’s coming

 

 

Crow Vision

flock-2574265_1920For the 24 years I have lived on my tiny farm in rural Oregon, I have witnessed a gathering of crows in the Eastern sky late in the days of the warmer months.  They are always flying South, as with some purpose.  Sadly, the woodland hills have been stripped in recent years for vineyards, so the nightly event has gotten smaller.  I’ve always wondered where they go and what mischief they might be up to.  Finally, I’ve gotten around to write about it.

THE CROWS COME AT SUNSET

From all corners of the sky

Black silhouettes winging together as a noisy flock

On their way to their secret destination

Which I long to know

 

I imagine they are sent from the spirit world

Spies in the sleek bodies of birds

Black as shiny coal

From beak to tail

 

They find their nightly roost

In the high branches of leafy trees

An avian barroom full of raucous cawing and flapping of wings

As they share the events of their day

 

The news comes as far as the cold lands of the Far North

To the dry, pastel arroyos of the Southwest

all the way to the crowded cities of the East

Stories they observed from the world of humans

Comedies born from intelligence gone bad

 

The jokes and stories are centuries old

recycled with different characters

Told with such squawking hilarity

That feathers loosen in the crows’ wild animations

And float earthward beneath the branches

 

The party goes on as the sky turns dusky to dark

Stars slowly appear

The birds’ black eyes grow heavy and their voices silent

Then all that can be heard is the sound of crow breathing

And the song of crickets that welcome the night

 

IMG_1546
A screenprint I made in 1994 “Crows at Sunset”

 

 

 

 

 

In the Path of Totality

IMG_8191No matter how much the terrorists, the despots, (& our president) try to steal the show, nature wins hands down.  What a magnificent sight it was to gaze up at the sky & witness such a celestial event among friends.   It was a great morning in IMG_1484Oregon!

 

 

 

ECLIPTICA

The sun & the moon

met each other in the freshness of an August morning

and as they embraced, the sun smiled brightlyIMG_1464

then grinned as he crowned the moon

with a corona of dazzling light.

The earth hushed

The sky darkened in reverence

& we stood in awe before the crown.

Then the two lovers slowly

parted ways

committed to their lonely orbits

leaving us in the fullness of day

solar-eclipse-682344_1920

 

Reach for Happy

Just when you thought the world couldn’t get nuttier, the next day brings even more crazy- especially here in the USA.  Being the sensitive type, I have had to develop strategies to keep a healthy level of sanity & stay creative.  It’s still there- the good, the beauty, the hope.  One just has to turn off the noise of all the negativity and reach for happy……IMG_1454

WE HAVE A CHOICE

Shut off the news

and choose beauty

Let a song well up in your throat

and fill the air

Read poetry, write poetry

Bask in books with happy endings

Shun violent movies, media

and enjoy laughter instead

Treat yourself to lovely music

Watch the birds & look for bees

Sleeping in flowers

Hug your dog, your cat, your partner

or anyone you love

Be hopeful

We have a choice

 

 

 

The Creative’s Nemisis

I have no trouble coming up with creative ideas.  It’s fear that is the creative’s nemesis. Really, that’s what a creative block is, just plain old fear.  Sometimes you have to look under your creative bed and make friends with the monster.

              Fear

snake-2082037_1920The opposite of courage

The backside of love & creativity

Its tendrils approach from behind

Silently wrapping themselves around your neck

Until you are paralyzed

Suffocating in its sticky web

 

Ultimately it is your breath that will save you

From these paper thin bonds

Grab a breath deep into your soul

Allowing another, and yet another

Until your life force finally finds a foothold

To break free from the spinning chaos

 

Choose earth, choose nature, choose good

Choose whatever infinite force is truth to you

Grab its hand and pull yourself up

Keep your gaze forward, never down

And  walk quickly across the precarious bridge to the other side

And announce loudly

I am here

girl-918799_1920