My intention when I began this blog was to create a place to share reflections, essays, prose, poems and photos of the creatures that I have met or may yet encounter in the forest here in the western mountains of Maine or elsewhere.

As an cognitive ethologist and psychologist (Jungian therapist) when I observe animal behavior in the wild I am always asking myself what the animal might be thinking. I pay particular attention to the relationship that develops between an animal and myself over time. I also question the role of projection on my part when I am pulled into an animal’s field of influence without understanding why. Most important I follow gut feelings and any nudges when observing any animal. I am a woman with Native American roots – is that why I make the assumption that every creature has something to teach me? I think of the natural world as being a place of deep learning and wonder.

It is my experience that intention and attention on the part of the observer opens a magic door, and once over the threshold inter-species communication becomes possible. I would like to invite others to cross that threshold with me.

As a feminist, ritual artist, and a writer I am Her advocate, that is, Nature’s advocate. I believe that when I write about the animals and plants I am giving voice to their truths as well as my own.

I developed an intimate relationship with the black bear in the above photo for a number of years while I was engaged in an independent, trust based study of his kinship group (15 years). Little Bee interacted with me on a regular basis but always preferred to “hide” behind a screen of leaves and saplings while doing so. Whenever I was around him I felt touched by “Bare Grace”.

Please feel free to comment. I would love to communicate with anyone who wants to share experiences they have had in Nature or simply make observations about what I have written.

If you would like more information about me, please read the essay on how I became a Naturalist…

Unfortunately, I am dyslexic with numbers and directions and have a difficult time with the computer in general and with WordPress in particular so I ask the reader to forgive me for the errors I will surely continue to make.

Sara Wright


I am spending the winter in Abiquiu New Mexico and am currently using my blog as a journal of my experiences in this mysteriously beautiful place. I ask that the reader bear with me as I continue this process… some entries will, of course, be about my relationship with animals, but others will not.

As it turns out I am presently a “snowbird” having returned to Abiquiu for the winter and spring of 2017 and 2018…

Update: August 2020…. I have returned to Maine having spent four years on a circular journey the highlights of which are recorded here…New Mexico is a magical place, but the North Country continues to call me home.

In the past years I have used my blog as a kind of jumping off place for publication elsewhere – which is why many entries have errors that I haven’t bothered to correct. There is something about putting my writing on a blog that allows me to see it from a distance, and from that place I craft pieces for publication elsewhere… I  am still writing about animals and plants, and still enthralled by the powers of place – perhaps more so now than ever. Certainly more grateful. Without my primary relationship to the rest of Nature I would perhaps feel more isolated during this pandemic than I do.

With deep appreciation and gratitude especially to those who comment on what I write.


I neglected to mention that I began this blog because of bear sightings than in the last years have become rare – and now with too much fragmented forest around me bears don’t visit here at all anymore. I have just begun to include poems about bears that I haven’t published before in honor of their scarcity.

I include some comments that have everything to do with why….

What Extinction Really Means…

Excerpts:  Eileen Crist

“What’s happening during this ecological crisis is the collapse of the web of life: biological diversity, wildlife populations, wild ecologies. We’re in the midst of a mass-extinction event. It’s called the “sixth extinction,” because there have been five others in the last 540 million years. Mass extinctions are extremely rare. They’re monumental setbacks, not normal events. It takes 5 to 10 million years for life to recover from one…Non human species are going extinct primarily because the environment is changing so rapidly, so catastrophically, that they can’t adapt. If we keep going as we’re going, we will likely lose 50 percent or more of the planet’s species in this century…

And in addition to outright extinction, there are wholesale eliminations of local populations of plants and animals. The killing of wildlife is so profound that scientists have coined the term defaunation to capture it. We’re emptying out the planet. Big or small, herbivores or carnivores, marine or freshwater or terrestrial — it’s happening across the board. There’s a sad and facile view circulating that extinction is natural, so what does it matter if it’s human-caused? What this ignores is that the vast majority of species becoming extinct are robust, meaning they’re well adapted to their surroundings. These are healthy species experiencing overwhelming pressure from the human onslaught…When we drive a species to extinction, we’re prematurely taking out of existence a unique, amazing manifestation of life that has never existed before and will never arise again, and we’re extinguishing all possibilities of its evolution into new forms.”

Black bears are only one example of an animal that is on its way to extinction.

How ironic it is that I should be writing about extinction on the day before Earth Day 2021 – a day that has become a time of global mourning for those of us who are still awake..

Only four percent of the non – human population remains on this entire planet.


I should note here that I do not advertise this blog – my intention is to combine writing that will be published with personal essays, poems, writing that may or may not be published elsewhere – I use my blog as kind of an editing place – and a place to keep track of my life as it occurs even when I have have no intention of publishing

…I live permanently in Maine now have returned for good a couple of years ago after some wonderful experiences in New Mexico – a place of wonder but a place I could not find home…

North Country Woman…


Why Do People hate Rain?

Why Do People Hate Rain?

People can’t make NOISE in rain

Machines seize up and rust

 Screaming Motorcycles sit silenced

Chainsaws sputter

Weedwhackers clog

Lawnmowers spit

Power boats gasp

Hunters stay home

Gray sky blesses Emerald Green

 wind battered leaves sigh

 soaking in Cloistered Air

Breathing deep

Body vibrates in Peace

 soothed by the songs of 

 Rain whose crystal drops

are gifts for roots and frogs

 abandoned unloved trees

  underground mycelial networks

Animals sigh with relief

 Haunted Souls return –

If only briefly

Rain nourishes the Earth.

I wrote this poem this morning when it became obvious that a second quiet day was a probability because of steady rain and cold temperatures in the forties. In June (I was wrong – after finishing this piece one crazed person shot round after round of gunshots in the rain for about a half hour– rage in the air is palpable). 

Every sunny day the noise is overpowering – motorcycles, guns, fireworks, fast cars and trucks spewing filth, roaring boats going in circles on small ponds, whining lawnmowers, and other gardening accoutrements to keep those perfect boring lawns intact…

Noise vibrates through my body enervating and buzzing me at the same time, an impossible combination. Mind feels fury. Body feels hopeless. There is no escape from noise pollution except by torrential rain or mountains of snow. 

Virtually no one complains.

Why? This culture is addicted to NOISE – the more the better.

 Even Refuge, a place I go to lessen the harsh cacophony is no longer pristine… I keep a bed set up in my car so that we (my animals and me) can leave at a moment’s notice. I am trying to survive in a Culture that worships and is addicted to Noise and Violence. Both permeate the air like fiery serpents ready to strike, again and again. My nervous system is attached to the Earth –  S/he suffers. I suffer. Last weekend someone exploded a bomb in the field below me – Turkeys screamed in terror.

However, Nature is biting back, and she does not discriminate.


“As our physical and cultural landscapes transform around us what memories are held by water – what re -surfaces to haunt us, to guide us? There is a space between water and memory.” (my bold face type)


Do some fall into the crack between water and memory against their will?

 Do unwanted emotions flow to the surface, dark inner emotions that are normally buried by the fury and heat of a Brutal Summer Sun?

(More murders and rapes occur in the summer than at any other time of year. Heat apparently conjures up more Violence and Hatred).

It’s an interesting question.

I am in touch with my feelings. Like it or not. Today, I feel the leaves on the trees recovering from yesterday’s trauma when they were beaten down by hail and high winds. Amazingly, all wildflowers survived unscathed, even the lupine spires. 

Today’s soaking rain nourishes all living beings, and I lean into the songs of flowing water as my body rests.

Two days of rain – the first so fierce it tore new leaves from their branches, toppled trees ripping roots from the ground as they fell. (Oh how the noise makers complained when their trees toppled, tents fell down, docks and moorings escaped)! Tons of topsoil were swept to the sea, thanks to the logging machine who has no use for protecting the water from raping the soil (as well as the trees).

 The second day dawned as a blessing. Quiet rain all day. Not enough to keep the birds from visiting the feeder. The cardinals were feeding each other. Woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees and golden finches flitted back and forth under a canopy of new leaves. All trees are recovering, their leaves open to the sky perhaps in prayers of supplication, while soaking in, soaking in the precious nutrients that will allow them to survive at least in protected places. Like here. For now.

The WildFlower Moon passed by last night. Perhaps she brought mercy to those who needed her most, the fragile ephemerals. My animals and me.

 I used to love the moon but in the last few years I have come to fear her fullness for she now brings frightening extreme weather shifts in her wake. The dark side of moon is showing her revengeful face on a regular basis. This month was no exception.

 These days my moon ceremony consists of prayers to the Four Directions and a simple water blessing. This month I was grateful for water that I scooped out of overflowing rain barrels. Water that keeps the tadpoles happy.

 A blessing for the house, the Earth, myself, and my beloved animals.

 Bowing to the Goddess in Green.


I am a Woman Who Comes to Life in the Rain… nourished by Flowing Waters and the Golden Green.


When species emit sounds their nervous systems use the air as a conduit. Neurotransmitters erase the distance in between the sound made and the animal, plant fungus or person listening. I believe that human induced machine noise destroys human( and other species) cells – perhaps whole cellular networks…. perhaps this why humans are becoming so stupid?

When I am listening to the sound of water flowing or a bird singing, I can close my eyes and ‘see’ a vibration moving outward in much the same way that a stone thrown into still waters creates a ripple effect that is harmonious. A whining chainsaw scrambles my senses.

Tracking Jacks

Jack in the Pulpit


When I was a child my brother and I would visit our grandparent’s marshes where Jack in the Pulpits were plentiful in the spring appearing not long after the marsh marigolds were setting seed. We loved the variety. Some were two feet tall; others barely 10 inches, but most flowers had startingly striped hoods. In the lowlands they seemed to prefer each other’s company. It never occurred to us to pick one, but we often sat down by a few to see who might be visiting. My brother was a bug boy and wanted to identify the pollinators! Sometimes we would meet a spotted red eft or three, our very favorite salamanders. My brother is dead but for me not much has changed though 60 years have fled by. Each June I begin to look for Jack!

Arisaema triphyllum has to be up there with sundews orchids and other exotic flowers. Last year in one protected place I go I found a huge Jack crushed carelessly by someone’s blind foot when I returned to look for the scarlet seeds on this plant that normally appear around the end of July or August. What I have been noticing is that this once common flower is becoming more difficult to find. I suspect that the last ten years of summer drought are having an effect on the plants that need consistently marshy areas to thrive, or perhaps it is the lack of pollinators. At home I used to have many Jacks but for a while I had bears, and bears love Jack’s root or corms, so I lost quite few during those years, and more as some deciduous trees fell naturally exposing the wetlands around the brook to more sun. Jacks need deep shade, plenty of moisture rich woodland soil and deciduous trees to flourish.

This plant can be easily missed. Look for three leaflets that stand on top of a tall stem. Early on they can be confused with trillium unless the leaves are looked at carefully. Arisaema leaves have an outer vein running parallel to the margin of the leaf; the latter is missing in trillium.

Sometimes small colonies can be found with only one or two flowering adults. The spadix or Jack is a column that is protected by a sheath called a spathe or pulpit. The spadix contains male or female flowers, and occasionally flowers of both sexes! The pollinators crawl beneath the hood and down the column collecting pollen from male flowers. I remember seeing ‘bugs’ on the Jacks we saw as kids. Recent research suggest fungus gnats may be the most effective pollinators. Jacks cannot self – pollinate. Weird and wonderful is the fact that Jacks can alter the sex of their flowers in one generation! If sufficient carbohydrates have been stored in the plant’s corm, a spadix that had male flowers may produce female flowers the next year. Jacks can develop little corms that are attached to the parent that will grow into a new plant. They also spread by rhizomes so if you find a cluster of clones you probably won’t find many flowers.

The cluster of fruit is at first a deep green, but these berries will ripen into astonishing colors – scarlet, bittersweet orange or vermillion. Wild turkeys and wood thrushes, woodland rodents and some insects eat the berries. Box turtles are rare in Maine now, but they also love the fruit, and their gastric systems may aid in seed germination.

If these plants are situated in the right environment and are not dug or otherwise harmed, they can live for twenty – five years.

Jack in the pulpits range from Nova Scotia to Texas but most species reside in Asia, reminding us that all our separate continents were once one huge land mass.Jacks are not usually browsed by animals because the leaves contain concentrations of calcium oxalate crystals; deer and bear will eat the plants if other forage is not available. Picking the leaves, flowers, or berry cluster will diminish the plant’s ability to store food in its corm. Regeneration will not occur, so please do admire this fascinating flower but do not disturb or pick any part of these exotic looking plants.

On the Subject of Invasives

On the Subject of Non – Native Plants and Invasives

Plants like Dames Rocket (Hesperus matronalis) Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus L) and False Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum dilatatum) may not be native to Maine, but I wouldn’t be without them. Dames Rocket and Greater Celandine are also considered to be invasive. Dames Rocket and False Lily of the Valley both have scents that are intoxicating. All three flowers are visited by all manner of bees and insects. Swallowtails and other butterflies love them too. If you don’t like one of these plants simply pull them up! They are easy to uproot. Greater Celandine’s cheerful lemony flowers bloom for at least three months. The others only blossom in May and June.

When I was a young woman (70’s now) I learned about Pangea, a theory now considered scientific truth. It states that once, 200 – 300 million years ago, all of earth’s continents were connected – this is why a plant may be native to Maine and China too. A long time ago this single land mass split into separate continents – becoming broken pieces of an original whole. 

I am not saying that we shouldn’t honor our native plants, but PLEASE let’s make room for non-native plants too. And with all the climate changes occurring maybe it’s time to reassess this idea of invasives? We are all connected through an ancient land mass as well as through and across space and time. When we think about the ‘bigger picture’ don’t we have to query: is there really such a thing as a non – native plant at all? 

Plants that are happy in an environment DO spread. That means these plants are healthy and doing well. It does not mean necessarily that they are invasive – ready to take over the whole biome. Take a walk into any woods that have not been destroyed by the logging machine/developments/or ‘managing’ (sometimes with a vengeance) and you will see cluster after cluster of one species spreading over a particular area. Plants that are related like to grow together; this is how nature works. There is nothing invasive about this process – it’s NATURAL. The problem seems to be that most humans need to control their plants, often placing them in neat little clumps or squares and expecting them to stay there. (Once I did this too as a lifetime gardener – sort of – my gardens were always on the wild side)! When plants wander people become upset and often label them invasive if they ‘won’t behave’.

 One advantage to so called invasives is that they are tough! The Dames Rocket around here that is just coming into bloom survived recent blustery winds, hail, and a deluge. However, I used to have many fragrant Dames Rocket clusters, but now that the planet is heating up the ground around my house is not as moist. One or two days of slow soaking rain no longer define our spring seasons. Dry soil will not support Dames Rocket, so I am gradually losing a lot of these late spring flowers (I do not water unless there has been rain and my rain buckets are full). I also note that False Lily of the Valley is shrinking in size, although thankfully the plants are still thriving near the brook and a long my woodland paths. Only Greater Celandine seems to be shining even after last summer’s drought and deer predation. Every spring I look forward to these lovely wildflowers that all pollinators love. Because I never know where they will pop up next, every spring includes new wildflower surprises.

With all the changes that are occurring on this planet I think we need to be grateful for all plants, regardless of whether they are native or not.



Refuge Reflections:  First Two Overnights:        5/8/23

 It is dark and I am writing by an oil lamp the silence broken only by the river… I open the east door and peepers sing. In the west water flows over granite stone.

  At dusk I noted tightly closed fiddleheads …nature’s spirals not yet opening to spring and an unknown future but unfurling anyway. I want to be a fern! Ferns die back to rest all winter rising to into an emerald pine/hemlock canopy each spring, repeating an ancient pattern 400 million years strong. Earth’s Skin holds memory…

Time slows down knitting me into Her story. The Earth incorporates seasonal changes and spring renewal into the whole.

There are always new beginnings. Even after I die and am no longer in my present form, I will surely be in another because nature works in the round. Since I plan to have my ashes scattered here under a hemlock by the river, I experience a sense of being a part of this forest’s future. A comforting thought. Being part of the Great Round is a gift. We humans experience time as linear even in nature, but I think nature’s past present future also tell an identical story backwards and forwards in time. I am happiest when I can be still and am swept along by these waters – a blessing brought on by kinship to the benign powers of this place.

I sleep soundly; the well is deep… 

Rising before dawn I watch phoebes flit back and forth. They are gathering material to nest? It isn’t long before blue sky fractures tree limbs and a golden glow gilds the tangle of fragile new beech leaves, some just emergin behind another of my favorite windows – tender, drooping with last night’s cold but fluttering like butterflies on the sweet breath of woodland breezes The winter wren tears my heart in two; phoebes converse in an overtone one octave higher than the river. A light breeze rustles the hemlocks who dip their branches towards the sounding waters; the air is impossibly sweet. I am reminded of childhood days spent with my little brother when we both began our apprenticeship to nature…I return to Refuge to continue this practice, wondering where I will end up walking today. Nudges just come; I follow. And always some kind of adventure awaits. Surrendering to Nature is a gift anyone can have access to. Be Here Now – being present to the moment without an agenda is a gift without price. 


Mother’s day (May 13/14 2nd overnight 23)

 I dream that there is a Red Door in front of me…. I have a choice to make whether to walk through. But I know I must. I feel grief looming.

In one week I experience the glorious change from sickly looking brown sapling sticks to pale green, cloaking some tree devastation in lemon lime gauze as I pass by some places on my way here, but not in the most recently slaughtered forest. Stripped forest and erosion, my soul shrinks cringing under the assault. Once here I can breathe again. It’s almost dusk when I walk. Wild oats, goldthread, unfurling ferns, one lady slipper, painted trillium cluster like prayers around Refuge. Not only are the peepers singing but also the gray tree frogs. I feel a starburst of pure joy.

This morning a goose honks overhead, then a loon. The phoebes are nesting. A goose on Mother’s Day. The tale of Old Mother Goose comes to mind. Geese are monogamous; they mate for life. Both parents care for offspring and except for defending their young they are such peace loving animals – ‘mothering’ comes naturally, one reason I admire these birds so much. No wonder people remember Mother Goose tales even if they have forgotten why. Canada geese are not loved around here except by me!

Listening a loon call followed by the ever-present ovenbird’s song I sink into the present. The pure white blossom of witch hobble graces the window like a shining pearl, ribbed wings soaring – my mother’s day flower! 

It’s shaded here in the gorge so details like the delicately veined leaves of beech stand out with clarity. I take a moment to sing my recent chant:

Shamans bridge the Night Flow

Magic birds do bind… 

healing a broken body…

healing a broken mind…

Who makes up these songs i ask myself as I add another verse:

Shamans bridge the Night Flow  –
turkey, goose and loon….
Birds trill ancient memory
I am not alone.

Opening the screen door, I wish the Earth the happiest of Mother’s Days – and then my friend Mary, by whose grace I stay here. Startled, I see a single goose flying overhead.

The phoebes are busy building a second nest. 

Tender beech leaves are bowed this dawning –  azure blue, arcing tree limbs reaching for light…I feel stretched between two ‘homes’ connected across time… giving thanks for both. Lemony beech leaves begin fluttering like butterflies on the sweet breath of a woodland breeze…. 

It was the direct losses – beginning with the death of Davey that opened the door to experiencing Nature the way I do. This heartbreaking intimacy that structures my life. I have been given such a great gift, at such a steep price.

The forest is calling me to visit the hemlocks and before I leave, I hear the words:

 “It is the Whole Earth You Are”.


Rainy Day Walk

Time stretches, folds back on herself as I gaze out the window squared by the four directions. A slanted sun glows golden green in early twilight. How comforting to see the trees rotting on the ground and new green wrapped all around me like a cape. The hemlock branches are almost black against the sun that sets early in the gorge. The phoebes are still – a few leaves flutter – lemon lime emerald – we haven’t names for all the impossible hues of green. I am suspended. All thought disappears into shadowy sheltering hemlock and pine against a darkening sky – the day is fading into twilight…. To be steeped in green is to be blessed by the trees who will get to live out their lives as Nature intended because of the people who cared enough to save these forests – a gift for all who see…. Beyond the window a steep gorge has sprung to life – jewelweed and oxalis bubbling out of stone. Crystalline water flows down the hillside…It is clear to me why springs were experienced as holy places. The crisscrossing of downed trees fallen under wind and winter weather is nourishing the next generation of seedlings. Fallen birches send anti- bacterial mycorrhizal mycelial fungal threads to protect other trees and plants from disease. We know almost nothing except that the skin of this precious earth holds the seeds of new life. No wonder I can sleep…

The last week in May is betwixt and between the first showering white stars and the burst of wild lavender blue. A flush of fragile wild columbine and corydalis spring up along the ledges of the mountain. Tiny white marsh violets appear in clusters here and there in the lowlands where I stay. Around me emerald is all I see. Along the road (recovering from logging devastation) young elderberry bushes appear among unfurling gray green ferns. Wild sarsaparilla is burnished almost dark crimson. 

 How easy it is to miss this time. In a week most of the understory will become an impossible joyful tangle of summer greens. Parting the veil, I enter the forest in light rain. The river is low. Green is reflected by gray skies and crystalline seeps streaming into a river of stones. One day these ledges and stones will become specks of sand…

 A swallowtail dips and soars into the understory. One mourning cloak too. Who might these two might be visiting? Only a couple of bumblebees are around. Most other bees avoid wet weather. A few anemones might be calling, starflowers too? The canopy overhead protects me from the raindrops that create widening circles in the still pools left behind when the water level dropped so low. An American toad hops across the path; almost invisible he is that well camouflaged. A Blackburnian warbler converses with an Ovenbird. Red eyed vireos and common yellowthroats – witchitu witchitu – provide musical accompaniment. I keep my eye out for a particular fern that I don’t see anywhere. I hoped to take another look at yesterday’s astonishing find – an old, tarred pole lying on the ground sprouted unusual lacy ferns that I have only seen in the small terrarium that I created out of bits of this place. The pole is also festooned with red tipped moss, sheet moss, and two kinds of lichens, the very first plants to colonize dry land maybe 400 million year ago. That these plants including the ferns managed begin new life despite the poisoned tar demonstrates the power of nature to heal human devastation over time. However, this remark must be tempered by the powers of place; this is cherished protected land where burgeoning life has a chance. If only we hadn’t destroyed so much forest before we ran out of time. Now integrity demands that we must save what little is left. 

I spy a cluster of blooming Starflowers, a few painted Trillium left over from the hundreds i saw last week capture my attention. Bluebead lilies and Indian cucumbers are not yet in bloom, but masses of wintergreen and partridge berry creep towards the river,or climb old moss covered tree stumps bursting with seedlings and lichens. Wild oats droop with pale bells gathered as one. I note a couple of twisted stalks on the hill. Lime green lungwort hugs a large maple near the water’s edge. This lichen is so sensitive to pollution that it is disappearing. Crushed lady slippers broken by blind feet before blooming sadden me. It will be years before they blossom again. Trailing arbutus is sinking into the ground now that its fragrant flowers have passed by. Giant ostrich Ferns are unfurling with all the others, and I am keenly aware of the roots of trees under each step I take… always wondering who supports who and by what means – nitrogen surely, water too, other nutrients, but only the fungus knows for sure. I peel back a small piece from a pine stump to gaze at extraordinary white threadlike patterning, replacing the bark gently. The workings of the mycelial network are a source of mystery to humans including me. We do not know how nature works, just that every twig and root is in some relationship with another or others. Only under hemlocks does the earth seem relatively bare, with the hobblebush spreading her ribbed almond shaped leaves to cover moist earth S/he spreads underground. Hemlocks are a foundational tree that mediates flooding and keeps the rivers full of trout because of arboreal ability to keep the forest’s brooks and streams cool. These trees are healthy because they are part of a biome that has been left alone for more than forty years. I spend time between a hemlock and yellow birch whose roots are still visibly entwined in conversation because the flood tore away topsoil. Mosses hug stream edges. Gray tree frogs are still trilling but not as poignantly as they did the week before.

We carry the spirit and soul of the river in our bodies. Is this why rivers streams and oceans are always calling us to them? Is this the way home?

All I know is that here by this most beloved river I can smell the intoxicating scent of ongoing birth, death, birth, Nature in the round…  

Turning Stone to Sand

Soft gray skies 
rising sun 
a starburst 
shimmering leaf green
clouds move in

tree frogs trill
phoebe sings

love songs
unlike the fern
I am 
a tight spiral

or stone.

Shamans bridge
the Night Flow

Magic birds do bind
Swift rivers sound
smooth jagged edges

 one day will
craft sparkling sand

Turning Stone to Sand

Turning Stone to Sand

Soft gray skies 
rising sun 
a starburst 
shimmering leaf green
clouds move in
phoebe sings of birth
unlike the fern
I am 
a tight spiral

or stone.

Shamans bridge
the Night Flow

Magic birds do bind
Swift rivers sound
smooth jagged edges
craft sparkling sand

Nature in the Round.

Bird Walk at Mary’s

(Bird Credits: Steve Wolfe – rest are mine)

When I passed by a local pond mist skimmed the surface obscuring the too crowded inland water; camps disappeared under the rising mist.

A short time later after parking, I was welcomed by James our Master Birder. Into the forest we went listening for calls with James who has bird ears that pick up every cheep, chirp, and melody so walking with him is a joy beyond measure. It had rained the night before, so even through these years of regular summer drought, brooks and streams were moving – water smoothing granite stone…

The ovenbird’s poignant song followed us most of the time that we spent in the woods. When a goose flew overhead, I was thrilled. Geese are not loved in this area by anyone except by me that I know off, and so when we reached a beaver pond I was overjoyed to see a mama goose sitting on a nest on her very own Island in the bog. No one would shoot her here. Beavers of course were our first ecologists creating these inland refuges for animals birds, insects and fish. I thought of the moose I had seen just before arriving, certain he visited here.

The sandpiper was also a surprise and watching the sapsucker making his way up and down a tree was also a treat.

But I was also distracted by the rich verdant understory stopping almost constantly to peer at a healthy budding or blooming plant.

Starflowers, bluebead lilies, twisted stalk, lady slippers, Indian cucumbers, violets, mosses… and oh the lime green canopy overhead soothed these old eyes. What I experienced yesterday in this mixed hardwood and conifer forest was a sense of wholeness and belonging. 40 plus years ago these woods had been cut over but since that time Under Mary and Larry’s loving attention almost thirteen thousand acres had been saved. Land with mountains and mines, rivers, streams, seeps, and ponds that purify the waters in southern Maine making it unnecessary to treat the drinking water. Mary and Larry are very farseeing people who are impeccable models teaching others how to treat forests in the future. As Larry states, “ Nature knows, we do not”.

To my great surprise someone spotted an orange red eft creeping around wet leaves and I got down on my knees to visit with him! 

We visited beaver ponds that were stacked one in front of the other. The silence was deafening only broken by birdsong, water and singing trees. No noise pollution here. My idea of heaven. My head and heart were bursting with images; I had seen a couple of rare plants species… Coming out of the forest I was once again struck that these places are the last hope, and the antidote to ecological despair that overwhelms this 78 year old naturalist who has witnessed too many changes over her lifetime – whole ecosystems destroyed. I would be returning here again to experience the peace. And besides There was too much to learn about. 

Another fragment of hope… Thanks to Mary McFadden and Larry Stifler.

Red Door


Red Door
Am I prepared to
a lifetime of Grief – 
Legacy of  those
who have forgotten

who they are
leaving a woman to
in her own wake?

Cruelty – a curse
that rebounds
returning blood
to senders…

Across the Arrow of Time
the Circle is Round and Red

If I suffer
They will too

Nature ordains
that all Imbalance

will be

 re – dressed

 Re- member

 the Anawim

S/he warns

 Dreaming conjures

Blue Green Serpent –

four spiked crimson crosses

 slashed on her back

a hunched

 half dead hooded
 standing at the door

Crosses cover his feet

 make walking

    a blackened future

I feared
letting them in
but did not shut the door 
To Serpent or Specter

The choice
to tear

 red heart

in two
may be mine
or not
But resistance
is futile
creates broken
Soul – starved
for Light

See the Lamp?

Two Golden

Star Flowers
 flicker brightly
from within

takes Refuge
in immediate Presence

the passage of

I must too

I listen to
a Counsel
of Birds –
 a scarlet flash 
 turkeys too

 Mother Goose sings
love songs on
Mother’s Day

honking overhead.

Invite them in
they chirp or twitter
‘Welcome your
Wayfarers Home’

 Grace will enter


Weeping body
chants to Mary –

Mary, First Mother
Incarnates as

as I cross the threshold
Bridging Blue.

NOTE**** this site distorts my poem changing the form…

Woodland Stars

Woodland Earth Stars


Last weekend I spent roaming through one of my favorite forests… I saw delicate starlike painted trillium with deep rose centers and dark crimson stems in the lowlands and highlands – it didn’t seem to matter (T. undulate). I have never seen a miniscule two – inch painted trillium until last Sunday. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I visit these areas every spring but this year I was stunned by the masses of flowers I encountered. The dark purple trilliums (T. erectum) are usually the first to appear at least here at home but last weekend I found one near a seep that was two and a half feet high in deep forest. The biggest I have ever seen. Curiously these purple trilliums attract pollinators in an unusual way. The do not produce nectar like the others I mention but rely on a rotten meat smell to attract pollinators who happened to be flies! I’ve seen bumblebees visiting Grandifloras and the Painted trilliums are also pollinated by wild bees and other insects.

 Here at home, I have three kinds of trillium two of which appeared by themselves. Grandiflora, the beautiful large white trillium I discovered about 30 years ago in an old, abandoned farmhouse. There was a carpet of hundreds – maybe thousands – and so I thought it safe to take one plant. When it took so happily to its new home on my property, I went back two years later to dig two more. Too late. I was absolutely horrified to discover the whole area had been bulldozed that spring. Shades of the future…

The Great White trilliums spread very slowly underground by rootstocks as do other trilliums. The seed produced (and all trilliums produce only one seed) will not bloom for five to ten years. From my field experience I have learned that all trilliums require some filtered morning or afternoon sun. Purple trilliums gravitate to lowlands. One fascinating aspect of this burgundy flower is that the single seed produced will be distributed by ants (or even mice).  When the seed becomes sticky and mushy after falling to earth, the ants have a feast, depositing the waste in their garbage bins underground where the seed germinates in the richest soil!  Ants don’t travel far, and this is probably one of the reasons we often find one species clustered together in somewhat haphazard drifts. These days except for my property I find all trilliums in rich deciduous and mixed protected forests – forests that have not been disturbed since the logging machine took over about 40 years ago putting hard working loggers who cared about their trees out of business.

What I love the most about these plants is that every part comes in threes. Three leaves, three petals, three sepals. With the flower standing up at the center of a whirl of leaves. Neolithic peoples (8000 BCE) considered three lobed flowers to signify a goddess in her flowery aspect because every part of the flower repeats the number three – a sacred number for the ancient goddess. I lean into this myth because trilliums are one of the earliest spring woodland flowers. And if there was ever a time to celebrate the Great Mother in her blossoming stage it is in the spring…Here is a moving image of a Lebanese Bird Goddess – 16-1200 BCE.

According to the U.S. Forest Service from a morphological standpoint, trillium plants produce no true leaves or stems above ground. The stem is just an extension of the horizonal rhizome that produce tiny scale-like leaves. The above – ground plant is technically a flowering scape, and the leaf -like structures are bracts that underly the flower. All photosynthesize behaving as leaves.

Although trilliums are blooming earlier in the season it is still possible to enter protected forests where the soil has not been disturbed to find these glorious ephemerals throughout this month and early into June…Because trilliums take so long to produce a bloom if you pick even one flower you are destroying the possibility of a future seed finding home, so please enjoy but do not pick the trillium.

With roughly 3 percent of mature forest left it won’t be long before these wildflowers are gone for the foreseeable future. We know nothing of the complex relationship between the mycelial network that supports these ephemerals but they do not grow in forests that have been destroyed by the logging machine.


These are the kinds of questions we need to be asking during this time of ongoing extinction… many thanks To Kristin and Deena Both….


When I awaken in the morning, noting the sun gilding the leaves as it rises, the sky lightening to blue or gray, the movement of wind through the branches, the gathering of a chorus of bird trills, I am flooded with gratitude for what life offers, especially for being engaged within a community of beings who live in dynamic inter-connection with each other. But then I am drawn to check in on the antics of the humans who entangle us increasingly in war, climate dissolution and the incipient unregulated activities of AI going rogue. Well, it’s not AI itself for AI is just a reflection of those who developed it without an ethical or compassionate base, without a soulful concern for the natural world and without heart.

Despite the recent discussions of the potential consequences of a super intelligence, the current bot interactions are frighteningly superficial, responding as a bot…

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