Under a Canopy of Bears

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Two mourning doves

greet me

at dawn,

fluffed and huddled

on a pine strewn floor

Mist blankets a forest

that creeps ever closer

towards the door.

 

The strip of red cloth

tied to a branch

is a prayer

for life or a painless death.

Bears are under fire.

 

I am embraced by trees

whose leaves

are tattered and worn.

All are bowed,

bearing ripening fruit.

 

Clusters of emerald grapes hang from

my bedroom window

The light is scattered – soft

green, sifted gold

filaments stream

through heart shaped leaves.

 

I sleep under quilts

on these cool nights

snuggling into

silky softness

feeling the gentle

rise and fall

of my dogs breath.

Except for them

I am alone here

and content

to be so.

 

I awakened last night

breathing in

deep woods air,

slow moving waters,

The scent of this

valley stream,

sudden showers,

keeps my senses keen.

 

I am gathering memories

for a basket made

of reeds to take

with me when I

leave this sanctuary

made holy by

Love and Bear Attention

over so many years.

 

I knew before

I arrived, that summer

carried threats –

One cannot change what is

Or what will come to be…

 

There were high points:

Beloved bears,

meeting an ‘old man’

who loves them,

kayaking on the pond.

Picking wild roses by the sea…

The horizon was unbroken as

I heard the words

“I am looking into eternity.”

Blessed rain – I listened to

Tree roots glowing, glistening

underground –

hyphae pulsing light.

 

A dark cloud hangs heavy

over this weary body.

I am closing the gap

between a life that has been

mostly lived and

the Great Unknown.

Five lives,

  • only two are human

hang in a balance

I cannot comprehend.

 

And yet

With the advent

of  autumn and

the turning of the wheel

Silence births peace

A fall flowering –

a thinning of the veil…

 

Across the brook a single maple

turn crimson and gold

a few painted leaves

drift like the butterfly

whose deep orange coat

signals a time to journey south.

Not just this leave – taking

but others are ahead.

 

The children I bore are gone –

the pain of intolerable loss

ebbs with this change of season.

Green frogs cheep,

nubbly toadlets trill

cardinal clicks abound.

 

Fields of yellow goldenrod,

purple asters,

spiraling passion plant tendrils

and a beloved yearling’s visit,

attach me to knowing

that to be Present is enough…

 

Later this fall

after the carnage ends,

I will take refuge

under a canopy

of tree roots

carved out

by black bears.

 

Working Notes:

The bear slaughter in Maine finally comes to an end November 30th and I am counting the days… So many bears are dead including the ones I loved and cared for – one I mentioned above. Continuity of life for Black bears simply doesn’t exist in Maine. Most bears are shot as yearlings. This year each hunter can kill two bears… There is simply no relief from the heartbreak.

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