Shadows on the Snow

Shadows on the Snow

The following poems were written after making a decision to move into an apartment for the winter, and then struggling to understand what went wrong. Instead of community I met with hostility, and as we know one breeds the other, and for a time I got caught by my shadow too.

Called home out of necessity and need, the longer I stayed the harder it was to leave even when 16 feet of snow crashed down from the roof blocking the entire front of my house. ‘The Peace of the Wild Things’ is in my blood and as hard as I try, I can’t seem to make an adjustment to living in a town where crows and wo- ‘men’ rule, and birdsong is absent though migration is under way.

Last night I dreamed that Little Deer, (a very real small deer who lives on my land with his mother) who also carries my Indigenous name, was struggling to get to my window at home, though I am here. He couldn’t make it through the snow. It was just too deep. His struggle and mine are one. The night before, on the seed moon, his mother, Red Deer, appeared just outside the same window around midnight…

How to interpret such dreaming and experience is always the challenge, even when Nature speaks through two of her own…Am I being called home by my Indigenous roots? What I know is that here, I am locked into isolation that deadens me.

I have committed repeatedly to keeping an open mind, although not one person has welcomed me; virtually all have criticized my every move – focusing on my dogs. Just two days ago another complaint came in about my little girls – even though they hadn’t been here for almost two weeks! Obviously, someone is deliberately using the dogs to intimidate/blame insisting that I am not cleaning up after them when I am. Two days ago, I wrote to the owner naming the bullying and harassment that I continue to experience.

I have given up asking why.

What has happened is that I am starting to realize that harassment and hostility are not the real problems. But apparently being here is.

First of all, this behavior constellated my own harpie! I have ruefully acknowledged her as a part of myself, and that helps a lot.

  As a result, I am in the process of letting go of the confusion, anger, and resentment I initially felt, although I still feel keen disappointment. Naively, I suppose, I hoped for some kind of community. I have tried to imagine what kind of lives these people are living – lives perhaps without meaning attached. Bitterness perhaps.

I am also refusing to make a decision at this time. The practical part of me says it is time to leave my home in the winter, but my soul body is struggling, so I keep taking her home, grateful that I still have a home to go to. I cast daily circles of protection around us, and prayers for clarity are ongoing.

I am grateful that I am old enough to be patient. I also suspect that the hand of patriarchy is behind the confusion I can’t seem to let go of. My feelings are being blocked, which means my poor body is stuck experiencing unpleasant bodily symptoms. I can’t feel what I think I know.

I remind myself that I grew up in an ocean of confusion – whatever I felt was dismissed as nonsense if the feeling contradicted thought… this deadly pattern is repeating.

I share this conundrum because it is helpful to do so for me, and because I hope this writing might help others. When I am having difficulties, writing poems seems to help me articulate points that journaling doesn’t. The latter – too rational maybe?

Split Nomad 



Betwixt and Between

How can this be?



Sounds of Silence

Soul stitched

to Nature

Cardinal whistles

Turkey Twitters

White pines

Open skies

Winding brook

Waters rippling

as they rise

Sweet breathing

Beloved animals

And yet

Tortured body

drowns in

 churning waters


I can’t let go.

Day after day

Even here






a crimson stain

 on the snow


White Blobs of

Blinding Light

All Night Long

Steel and eggshells


Screaming Harpies

twisting meaning

Dead eyes


Absence of kindness

stares of hatred?


one room to hide

Another kind 

of prison


even the dogs

walk on air.

Flowing like Water


In the dream

I stand snow – bound

at the Crossroad


a still point


two paths


only I

can choose…

Postscript on snow.

 When snow covers the land and forest I love I struggle to stay attached to the deep green religion of hope, so psychically I am more vulnerable in the winter than during the other three seasons…My body thrives when her feet are touching brown earth. And from a visual standpoint, months of snow also creates monochromatic monotony… It is no surprise to me that death roams the hills and valleys in winter snow.

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