Letting Go



For a moment

a blazing star

astonished a mountain


a heart from within.

But stars are made

of rings of fire.

Flaming Light


Evening sky,

as fierce

and deadly sparks

tumble through

thin air,

burn to cinder,

black ash –

Night Sky Bear

implodes –

strikes frozen ground.

The Garden Wall



A pile of shattered rock

rose up like a ragged mountain

in the driveway.

How was I going to construct

a garden wall out of

fat hunks of stone?


A month of

boundary violations

crumbled poor ground.

The stones of


non existent loyalty,


too much light,

heat from the son,

even cows who


thick bodies

thru barbed wire

seemed intent

on blocking.


Attention and Intention.



“Just do it”

a voice said.

And I did –

stone by stone,


a half moon circle

to rest upon a straight line.


Roaring March winds

tangled hair into knots

nipples stood erect on my breast.

The sun burned my

shoulders as a

dream flooded my


creating form

from visual clarity.


As I worked

I saw Lizards

who would

hide in the cracks,

flaming scarlet


and burnt orange


climbing skyward

or cascading over

ungainly stone,

bean trees or


vining their way


to creep along

the desert floor.


I finished the wall

with an odd sense

of completion.

Through this work

I had taken

a stand against





and self doubt.


I hoped my actions

would be enough

to fracture an old pattern.


Being taken over by others

obliterates the power of

this Child – Woman’s Light.

Seed Bearer

Yesterday old eyes

stung –

fierce white

heat –

blurred vision.


Singing love songs,

I scattered seeds

in furrows

raked smooth,

tucked tufts

under stone…



a Wildflower riot!

Bittersweet orange,

blue and gold

winding through

rice grass –

sage scrub,

vining over

wave -like gopher mounds.


I curb wild imaginings.

High Desert


what springs

to life – who

will bear flowers

or fruit –

not me.


I am Seed Bearer,

Earth’s Daughter –

a woman who

honors her Mother

by aligning herself with

Her Will.



opens the door

to Ancient Story –

Original Memory is



“Mother’s day”

occurs just

as the snow


on the cusp

of dark wings

who flash crimson

in the heat of the



(Cattails dispersing seeds just as I do…)

Working Notes:

I wrote this poem on March 25th without the conscious awareness that I was participating (for the first time this year) in the most ancient practice of seed sowing while honoring that first mother’s day with seed songs…

Because women’s stories live through me it no longer matters what my conscious intention may or may not be. My mind – heart body knows what to do and just when to do it.

Originally, ‘mother’s day’ was a celebration of the Earth Mother whose early spring stirrings begin in the northern hemisphere in late March. Thirty years ago when I first discovered this information in a book of women’s mythology I was struck by the feeling sense of discovering a profound truth that has been buried by Patriarchy.

So it remains to this this day.


The Walmart Birds : The Great Tailed Grackle



I have developed a fascination and a deep respect for the Great Tailed Grackle as a result of making regular visits to Walmart. I began feeding these birds bread crumbs this winter because I like them so much and because I wanted to observe these clever characters hopping about dodging automobiles and people who apparently don’t have much use for them. Some always hang out on the roof with the fake owls that were put there to scare them.


I wonder how many people have actually looked at the Great Tailed Grackle because both sexes are quite stunning. The male is glossy black with an ecclesiastical purple iridescence. He has a long, keel-shaped tail, massive bill and yellow eyes. The female is about half the size of the male and looks as if she’s been dipped in brown oil; she has a smaller keel shaped tail. The visual characteristic that stands out the most to me is the brilliance of those bright yellow eyes. These birds radiate intelligence!

And, in fact, studies that have been done on these birds reveal that they are adept at problem solving (even from a human point of view).

For example, the Grackles problem-solving power was tested by posing glass cylinders full of water with bits of food floating just outside the birds reach. To grab the morsels, the birds had to drop in pebbles to raise the water levels. After a number of trials most of the Grackles figured out that dropping pebbles into the water raised the water level so they could feed. They also learned that it was usually more efficient to use heavy pebbles to reach the snack, but if provided with too large stones the birds turned back to small pebbles to reach their goal.

Another test done had even more dramatic results. Silver and gold tubes of food were presented to the grackles but only the gold tubes had peanuts and bread in them. The Grackles immediately chose the gold tubes, but when the food was placed in silver tubes the birds instantly chose them. These tests reveal not only problem solving ability but also the birds’ flexibility in terms of learning.

Its important to note that Grackles outperformed three species in the crow family (Corvids).

This desert-adapted bird doesn’t need much beyond food, trees, water, and its own wits for survival. Once confined to Central America, the species began moving north 200 years ago, and now covers an immense region from northwestern Venezuela up to southern Canada. In 1900, the northern limits of its range barely extended into Texas; by the end of the century it had nested in at least 14 states and was reported in 21 states and 3 Canadian provinces. This explosive growth occurred mainly after 1960 and coincided with human-induced habitat changes such as irrigation and urbanization.

Where people have gone, Great-tailed Grackles have followed: you can find them in both agricultural and urban settings from sea level to 7,500 feet that provide open foraging areas, a water source, and trees or hedgerows. In rural areas, look for grackles pecking for seeds in feedlots, farmyards, and newly planted fields, and following tractors to feed on flying insects and exposed worms. In town, grackles forage in parks, neighborhood lawns, and at dumps. More natural habitats include chaparral and second-growth forest.

Great-tailed Grackles are loud, social birds that can form flocks numbering in the tens of thousands. Each morning small groups disperse to feed in open fields and urban areas, often foraging with cowbirds and other blackbirds, then return to roosting sites at dusk. This evening routine includes a nonstop cacophony of whistles, squeals, and rattles as birds settle in for the night.

As near as I can tell Grackles forage almost anywhere and will eat almost anything. What this says to me is that these kinds of birds have learned to co – habit with humans in very ingenious ways that must include being able to deal with pesticides.

During the last month (March) I have noted that there are fewer Grackles hanging around the parking lot. One reason for this absence may be that during the day some birds are moving into more rural areas to feed. In addition to country foraging and prior to actual nesting, both males and females begin to collect material for the nest site about four weeks before actual breeding begins in April.

Nesting occurs in colonies of a few to thousands, with the nests often placed close together. The actual nest construction is done after this period of “gathering,” which although not mentioned in any of the sources I consulted, must be related to the mating process. The females choose the nest site, and often “borrow” nest-building materials from other females. The nest is made of grass, twigs, reeds, and mud and is woven by the female in about 5 days in a tree, shrub, or hidden in marshland vegetation placed anywhere from 3 to 30 feet off the ground or water. Nest size varies from four inches across to 13 inches deep.

The female will lay 4 to 7 eggs that are pale greenish brown with blotches. The young are ready to fledge in a month. Mother is responsible for brooding and feeding. During this period some male Grackles may guard the nest while the female forages. In contrast some others may pair with a second female during this time leaving the female to manage on her own.

Curiously, fewer male than female nestlings survive. Adult male survival may also be lower than adult female survival, which would result in a female-biased adult sex ratio.

Although there is considerable overlap in the distribution of the three species, the Common Grackle occurs throughout the eastern United States and Canada, the Great-tailed Grackle is found in the Midwest and south/western United States, and the Boat-tailed Grackle is confined to Florida and coastal areas of the Gulf states and the eastern United States.

The Grackle is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which as far as I can tell, means practically nothing. People routinely haze, shoot, or use pesticides to eliminate these birds but their numbers continue to increase.*

In this time of great uncertainty due to Climate Change and continued overuse of lethal pesticides I can’t help but feel reassured that some non – human species will survive, and whenever I spend time with the Walmart birds I feel flickers of hope rising. I am already looking forward to seeing the Great Tailed Grackles once again flooding the Walmart parking in Espanola by the middle of May.

* Last summer after returning to Maine I did further in depth research on these birds because I had one grackle nest around my house and discovered that NONE of the grackles are increasing anywhere. In fact just the opposite – although there are “pockets” – one is Walmart which is perched on the edge of a marsh, between the use of pesticides/climate change/loss of habitat these birds are disappearing too.

The First Moon of Spring



When I gazed up

and saw her pale round face

pearled and luminous

cradled by the tree

I imagined your arms

holding me tightly

in a “forever” embrace –

The kind

where a child

is never abandoned

to float on a sea

of fear and uncertainty,


impending violence,

and inevitable loss.


Crossing the Line



I remember

the comfort

of being held

by him

when I wept-

the money

he sent me

from college.


He was a baby

when I climbed into

his crib to sleep

beside him.


Was that when

it all began?


Dead all these years

He still lives

under my skin.



I follow

the curves

of the river,


in the sand,



a body

I lost.

A Matter of Life and Death: The Military or the Green New Deal? by Carol P. Christ

“I have set before you life and death . . .  Choose life.” (Deut. 30:19)

Scientists tell us that an environmental catastrophe which has already begun threatens every aspect of life as we know it on planet earth. The choice could not be clearer. Will we choose life? Or will we choose death?

On March 6, 2019, William Barber and Phyllis Bennis published an opinion piece titled: “If America can find $716 bn for the military, it can fund the Green New Deal.” In it, they note that politicians in both parties are rushing dismiss the Green New Deal as an unrealistic pipe dream, stating that there simply is no money to fund it. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s response is characteristic of the Democratic Party’s so-called moderate and pro-military wing. As Barber and Bennis report:

When young organizers from the Sunrise Movement recently challenged Senator Dianne Feinstein to support a Green…

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Spring Benediction



Earth celebrates the season

in a thousand shades of gray.

Black and white bleed

stark contrast into

a horizon birthing light.

She stands under towering trees

soaking in their strength

– feeling –

a Sense of Wonder –

the miracle of spring snow

for a thirst driven desert…


She gazes upward lost in canopies –

Cottonwoods bending sturdy

arms seeking to embrace…

each patch of bare skin

breathing diamond flakes…

Wearing furry mink coats

her heaped up heart

opens to Love.


Trees know

her Mother and Lover,

both hide inside

Rough Bark,

That spring Sap is rising.


As Father,

trees dip and sway

but do not break

or walk away

in the fiercest of winds


when mighty walls



The child needs protection

from those

who left her



She leans

towards steadfast trees

dripping water from each limb…

Their shelter is her symphony.

Tangled in

Underground conversation –

she listens.

Trees sing love songs to Water,

to ‘Changing Woman.’

A Rainbow covered mountain –

has blessed her

with a Spring Benediction.


Working notes:


As I stepped out the door at dawn the words rose unbidden – “this is a spring benediction”. Last night the Cloud People came and offered the Earth a gift of wet snow that covered each branch and bush, altering the landscape in the most magnificent way.


This winter and early spring the desert has been given a reprieve from drought.


No matter how temporary, I am celebrating for the trees, scrub, wildflowers and myself, for all of us must have our feet dipped in sky water to thrive.


Spring on the Wing



Red Willow River

waters are rising.

Sea green waves

wash whittled

beaver sticks

against pebble strewn shores.

I bend,

filling a

miniature vessel

to hold her song:

Water Is Life.


Spring is on the wing.

Bird migrations,

wild winds,

leave – taking,

these are the

elements of seasonal change.

Prayers for rain

may be answered.

Pale green desert rosettes,

toothed scorpion rounds,

purple filigreed ferns,

swelling Cottonwood buds,

all create a chorus of rain chants

sweetening the night.

Blackbirds trill from

tallest branches,

flash crimson

in morning flight.


March is the month

of the seed moon…

I found a soggy bean pod

She held three seeds.

Three old women called out

as I plucked that shriveled husk

from the river’s edge.


Three swollen capsules –

I held them tightly.

Would they

sprout a bean tree

flowing with fragrant flowers,

converse with Iris?


Frog woman?

Three faces of the

Goddess of Spring.

Just in case,

I dug them in.


I have scattered many seeds…

Few have taken root.

This is the way of the desert.

She withholds spring planting,

sometimes for years.

And who am I

to decide what grows

or not?


On the first of March

my passionflower

dropped tender leaves and died.

Twice death has taken her

this vining heart of mine

in exactly the same way

to make her point.


Nature makes no exceptions

for a soul that wonders

too far from her roots.

And mine belong to water.


Caught up by others’ needs

I forgot to tend the garden

of the vining heart of me.

My dreams grew dark.

I suffered from absence –

unable to capture my own attention –

even through poetry.


When plant death intervened

suddenly it dawned, the golden eye…

Her Light grows ever stronger

the moment I turn inward.


Forgive this foolish meandering…

I must turn back to me.



Working Notes


This poem was written for, and is dedicated to my friend and scholar Dr. Helen Hye Sook who reminded me that I needed to follow my passions…


In Greek mythology Iris was the Goddess of the Rainbow. She represents the daughter aspect of the Goddess manifesting as bridge between Earth and Sky. Persephone is also a daughter who spends half of her life in the Underworld, returning to the Upperworld when the first crocus blooms in spring. Frogs spend the cold months buried in the earth in a state of suspended animation and only emerge to breed after the Earth thaws and the rains come. According to Gimbutas, the goddess has a frog aspect, and frogs have been associated with Rebirth since Neolithic times. All involve spring transitions, which are rarely easy. I am struck by these faces of three daughter – like goddesses who also act as bridges from one world to another. Each births something new and each is related to water or the underworld.

Elk Speaks – For Andrew


( Fire at Dawn Births Hope)


In the dream

the elk’s antler

was a tree made

of bone.

Silvery tines –

tongues of flame

hummed at dawn.


“Embodied Light.”

I would use these words,

if asked to describe

my young friend’s


But words fall short

of wonder.


Andrew is an artist

writing a story

into the land

with his hands.

She opens the gate

of his imagination

as he leans into her curves

Someday their collaboration

will change lives…


With stones, willows,

sand bags,

red dirt and

underground water

his vision apparent

to anyone who sees,

He demonstrates

through love

and architecture

that there are no limits

to sustainable



Such pristine beauty –

Desert wilderness

stretches out

in every direction…

Water cascades

down his rounded hills

creating cause for celebration

mirrored by

flourishing trees

that will one day

bear more of his fruit

as well as their own.


Frogs and toads sing

love songs…


Birds cling to

Juniper snags,

Sage green bushes

thrive in winding arroyos

scent the air

when Cloud People come .

Wave – like cliffs

startle the sky.


I come away astonished

giving thanks for

Andrew, whose star – like vision

eclipses muddy waters…

No wonder he loves the Dawn.

Here is man who

supports the Earth

each creature and shrub

and this ‘old woman’

with his own hands.


No wonder that

I see in him

a majestic Elk

and a towering,

steadfast Tree…





Not too long after Andrew and I began to befriend one another, Andrew told me a story of how he ran into an elk, and emerged unharmed. Andrew expressed his dismay that the elk had died. I was struck by the incident because I have had a relationship with friendly elk at a local elk farm for more than twenty years (in Maine) where the animals were cherished and ran free over hundreds of acres that include a river. When I built my log cabin, I named her “Elk House” because elk have such a solid relationship with the Earth and yet their majestic (male) antlers reach towards the Sky…


I “ran into” Andrew who was selling fresh vegetables last summer at a little outdoor market that he initiated for the benefit of the community. There was an instant sense of feeling connected to this young man though I didn’t know him at all.


As our friendship began to develop I realized how unusual Andrew was. His kindness, honesty, integrity, and deep humility opened my heart. As an unapologetic (eco) feminist I was deeply drawn to his ethic and ability to work with others. Only later did I begin to see how this ethic extended to his love of, and ability to work with the Earth as her partner.


Here was a man who had learned how to be a man, a man whose ability to love, nurture, and protect were priorities, a man whose ability to work so well with others makes him a shining light and a powerful example for other men to follow – regardless of age – if only they would.

If more men chose this path we would live in a different culture, one where women (including ‘old women’), men, animals, plants, and every aspect of Nature is loved, appreciated, nurtured and respected…

In my eyes Andrew is the kind of human being who brings me hope that it’s really possible to topple the toxic and deadly edifice of Patriarchy… a culture that is destroying us all.

How grateful I am to call him my friend.