Northern White Cedar



When I first moved to the mountains almost 40 years ago I was entranced by the beautiful Northern White Cedars that seemed to grow in such abundance here. On my property I have a number of these magnificent bell shaped trees with their fan-like fronds and clusters of budded green or brown cones that are found on the newer growth in spring and fall. Since I have water all around me and I noted their penchant for moisture I thought I might have ideal habitat for them to thrive.

One year my neighbor planted a whole row of majestic cedars in front of his mother’s house, and over a period of many years I have had the pleasure of watching the saplings become large healthy trees providing shelter for  many birds. During the winter the deer continue to browse on the lower branches of the cedar, a favorite winter forage plant not just for deer but also for moose and rabbits.

After a number of years I began to notice that I no longer saw cedar seedlings popping up around fallen logs around the “mother” trees. Why weren’t the trees producing offspring? At that point I asked my neighbor if I could dig up two small trees of his and I planted these two around the house. The one closest to the house survived browsing deer; the other did not. It was a while before I made the connection between the increasing deer population and the lack of cedar seedlings. I also unwittingly contributed to this problem by feeding deer on this property, something I will certainly not be doing in the future.

The beautiful cedar I planted in my yard next to the house was totally destroyed by deer the first winter I spent in New Mexico. Last year I planted and protected a new cedar seedling in my garden but it was deliberately crushed by a rock that someone pulled out of my stone wall. Fortunately, I have a pictorial record of this egregious act so it won’t happen again.

This spring I have been on the lookout for young cedar seedlings elsewhere and finding few. I have also been talking with my neighbor about this problem. He believes that the exploding deer population is responsible for decimating the seedlings and that we are losing these trees for good. Wise in the ways of the forest, I take his words seriously especially since my own observations match his, and as a naturalist, learning from observation is what I have learned to trust.

After doing some preliminary research on cedars I discovered that indeed, the inflated deer populations are now considered the primary threat to the life of all Northern white cedars. Apparently these trees are threatened by deer in every state they grow in from Maine to Michigan.

New world cedars are not to be confused with the old world cedars of Lebanon; the latter are “true” cedars. Ours come from the Cypress family. To confuse matters further our cedars and junipers are related; the difference between the two is that new world cedars have cones; junipers have berries.

Part 2

What follows is some research on the Northern White cedar:

The literature clearly indicates that cedar prefers organic matter where the pH is neutral to basic (pH 6.0 – 8.0) and where rates of organic matter decomposition are relatively rapid. As soon as water stagnates soils become highly acidic. Chemistry and waterflow are therefore critical factors that affect cedar survival and growth.

Cedar dominated forests develop where the groundwater contains relatively high concentrations of oxygen and essential nutrients and where it moves laterally through the soil. These conditions result in finely decomposed organic matter and a high pH, both characteristics of a good cedar soil. Lateral movement of oxygen and nutrient laden water through the soil may be why cedar swamps typically occur as bands in wetlands and along lakes and streams.


Typically, cedar is found growing in association with other lowland conifer and hardwood tree species. Tamarack, balsam fir, white and black spruce and hemlock are common evergreen companions. Hardwoods like maple, black ash birch and pine are good examples of the latter.


In lowlands Cedar is typically found in small, relatively pure patches. These seem to occur in areas where the water table is at or very near the surface and is moving, such as the edge of a low ridge or along a small stream.


A common denominator in upland cedar habitats is a rich basic mineral soil with a high pH. Cedar forests are more or less confined in the uplands to soils with free calcium carbonate close to the surface.


Another common observation is that upland cedar forests invade open areas: old fields, clear-cuts, sand dunes, and limestone bluffs. These situations are, apparently, the only ones where seedling establishment is clearly the mechanism of stand regeneration.


There is evidence of genetic differentiation between upland and lowland populations. In programs of artificial regeneration, consideration should be given to the fact that local ecotypes could exist. Lowland vs. upland seed should be used to reforest the appropriate habitat.


Northern white cedar is a dependable seed producer. It bears good seed crops every 3 to 5 years, with light to medium crops in the intervening years.


However, seed viability is low, although seed production is relatively consistent year to year. Seed dispersal by wind starts in September with the majority of seed falling during autumn. Some seed is dispersed during winter. Most seed is dispersed within 50 meters of the mother tree.


Seedlings can establish on bare organic and mineral substrates, moss and downed logs in various stages of decay.


Establishment is numerically greatest on logs, but sources point out that the numbers of seedlings are not necessarily related to cedar survival because of deer browsing. It is generally agreed that an estimated 99% of the initial seedlings died by the thirteenth year.


Light in the forest understory doesn’t seem to be a factor regulating seedling establishment according to the literature. I question this statement because the few seedlings I have found seem to have access to some light, either in the morning or late afternoon during the summer, and more light off season. As I have mentioned previously, seedling establishment is definitely positively related to soil PH.


All the sources I consulted concur: The lack of seedlings and saplings in lowlands is due to browsing by the white-tailed deer. Cedar dominated lowland swamps are critical winter habitat for these animals. Small cedars die when more than 15 to20% of the foliage is removed annually. Seedlings often grow very slowly; it can take 20 years for a seedling to reach 1 meter in height. Because cedar grows slowly, seedlings are exposed to browsing pressure for a relatively long time. The only successful reports of sexual reproduction come from uplands and lowlands that are not utilized by deer.


Part 3


Cedar can and often does reproduce by layering or tree tipping. Branch layering where a branch of the parent stem transforms into a stem is the predominant type of vegetative reproduction. The presence of thick sphagnum moss facilitates the formation of new roots and branch layering. Trees can also be blown over and the lateral branches then become main stems. Vegetative reproduction via layering and blow – down appear to be major pathways for successful regeneration in the lowlands.


The notion that cedar typically occurs in the understory and eventually replaces other trees is a myth that should be eliminated. Cedar almost never grows taller any other tree simply because it grows so slowly. Cedars are capable of living a long time – up to about 500 years or more (one cedar in Ontario was dated to 900 years). Because these trees occur in the lower portion of the canopy and can live a long time a myth developed around the idea that cedar is very tolerant when it is not, at least not today.


Researchers suggest that today’s cedar swamps are very similar to those that existed in the same locations more than 150 years ago. Wind – throw is extremely common in cedar swamps and is a major form of natural disturbance. Completely and partially uprooted trees abound. When trees tip only partially, lateral branches assume dominance and the resulting trees are unusually shaped.


Today, most blow-downs encourage spruce, fir, and hardwood regeneration, or the gaps are colonized by  hardwoods and conifers Some cedar reproduction still occurs in open plaes, especially when trees are only partially uprooted and lateral branches remain beyond the reach of deer. But because there is little chance for natural reproduction to grow above the browse – line, cedar does not generally regenerate in areas that are disturbed by wind. Thus, the primary mode of natural regeneration has been eliminated by the white-tailed deer.


Another young friend of mine who is so knowledgeable about trees (and also loves cedar) that I asked him to read this article made a critical observation. He notes that in his experience most trees have a particular strength that compliments their weaknesses and wonders what quality a cedar might have (or develop) that might help them deal with deer predation. We discussed the fact that cedars produced oils that made them more attractive to deer during the winter (also true for junipers). And I wonder if one cedar strategy for long – term cedar survival might be to stop producing the chemical that deer find so tasty during the winter months…


For anyone who loves trees, especially our native cedar there are two things we can do to help address our current cedar losses. The first is to plant and be prepared to care for cedar seedlings long term providing them with adequate deer protection.


The second more unlikely possibility might be to contact the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife folks with a request for help with this issue, even though this organization is heavily invested in maintaining an inflated deer population for hunting.


Cedar has been a valuable tree that has been used by people for millennia beginning with the Native peoples of this country. The Wabanaki named the cedar the ‘Tree of Life’ and used it to make rope, clothing, baskets canoes, poles, fences, and totem poles (west coast – red cedar). Today, in the east these trees are still used to build fence posts etc. because of their durability and natural resistance to insect damage and decay. Burning cedar during the winter, a practice I have engaged in for years, purifies the air because of the Pinenes that are present, and the intoxicating scent of the dried fronds is reason enough to gather a bough or two in the fall to dry…


I think we have taken our native cedars for granted as I once did. Surely, we need to intervene on behalf of these trees giving nature time to make necessary adjustments or we might lose them forever.

Back to Back



The Predator

dug a hole

in turtle’s wake

scooped and

sucked down

pulsing life

one dark night.

An empty pit

and shriveled eggs

mark the theft .

Her children are dead.



and violence

are bed mates

She bears

thirteen squares –

Round House

hovers above her –

Nature’s Protection.

But how can she

puncture the balloon of

his lies

with her body

to feel the strength

of the shield

she owns?

Morning Meditation in July…



I have just returned from the brook where I offered up my Toad Moon prayers early this 4th of July morning to the song of the hermit thrush and to the rippling waters that slip over stone – first honoring my body with a poem written just for her, and then by repeating my hope/belief/intention that the search has ended and my house will get the structural help she needs without invasive machines scarring my beloved trees and land… I release my doubt – a plague that has incarcerated me for months.


I felt my body rooting into forested soil… I belong here; I am loved here.


Peace filtered through the green – trees, seedlings, lichens, mosses, grasses and the clear mountain waters. Silence, except for Thrush’s morning benediction.


A prayerful moment at the beginning of each day opens a spirit door – a portal into the beyond perhaps, but also a sacred portal into myself – though I have experienced this lifting of the veil throughout my life it wasn’t until this winter in a New Mexican Bosque that the trees taught me a lesson I needed to learn. I must create space to do this morning meditation intentionally every single day – for myself, as well as for the Earth adding a third element to ritual. My walks to the river and Bosque began as a survival mechanism to deal with unbearable heat and transformed into a focused morning meditation that I hope to continue for the rest of my life … I didn’t plan it; it happened, and the Bosque full of trees, roots, fungus and hyphae was the medium… S/he opened the door.


Now the challenge is to stay strong and true to what I know… a four year journey into the hero’s (?) maze was the way I learned that this particular earth ground needs and contains me… Would her house timbers have cracked if I hadn’t abandoned her? She needs me to love her too.


It feels almost miraculous to experience a full moon in a grounded way after my experiences in the desert with an empty sky bowl of thin blue air, mighty winds that stilled the songs of birds and polluted the air, and nights that were rarely dark because the moon rarely slept perching in the sky for two weeks out of each month.


Too much air, too much stone, too much wind, a glaring sun… a sky bereft of stars for too long each month, no green, and no water….


How grateful I am for home…


Seal Skin – Soul Skin



This body is

my holy altar

my bounded skin

my embodied soul

my closet kin.



I am splintering.


Fragments of ice

slice through tender skin

– silver daggers puncture holes

bleed snow.

A frozen tree cracks –

slams tortured timber


a forested floor.

Shivering body

swirls in chaotic waters.

Labored breathing forces

Soul Surrender.

Even endurance has limits

I learn.

June 30 2020


Seal Skin – Soul Skin


This body is

my holy altar

my bounded skin

my embodied soul

my closet kin.


July 2 2020

Letting Go


Teeny peeper sitting in the middle of a piece of lichen about the size of a quarter


Every year I bring back wood frogs, peepers or toads to this property to increase my amphibian population… this year with a drought underway the peepers captured my heart because a bizarre heat wave hit Maine just after the coldest freeze I ever remember. The poor peepers froze and then steamed and fried under a relentless solstice sun, their vernal pools rapidly disappearing from under them.


Intervening, I scooped up about a thousand and took them to the pond, brought some here to the shaded vernal pool that I dug here many years ago. Amphibians are the most endangered species on earth and I liked the idea of providing a temporary home for some.


This year I decided to raise seven peepers in a fish bowl something I had not done for a number of years. The ones in the vernal pool had kingfishers, herons, and a raccoon to deal with on top of drought – with these odds who knows how many would survive to become adults. The prognosis seemed grim.


On a whim when I added five toadpoles to my bowl of seven tadpoles I wondered if they would be eaten, but happily I was mistaken. So now I had twelve rotund bodies with wiggling tails, blobs with discernable eyes that watched me through the glass any time I sat with them. It was impossible not to reach the conclusion that these tadpoles were as interested in me as I was in them. One of the peepers disappeared within two days, and I knew from prior experience that he had died, becoming a source of protein for the others. Nature knows a lot about recycling.


Because I have no aquarium I have to scoop out the water and refill it with microbe rich bacteria pond water twice a week, a labor-intensive job that I have been doing for more than a month as of this writing. I feed my tadpoles bits of homegrown torn lettuce that they demolish with incredible speed and gusto. I have been anxiously awaiting back legs to develop because when this happens I know that their final ordeal is almost upon them. Transformation is never easy. (When I hear folks casually discussing transformation as if it was some sort of fun process I cringe. Transformations of any kind are fraught with danger and difficulty).


None of the toadpoles have legs but about 10 ten days ago I noted the first of the peepers were sprouting some. One little fellow turned almost transparent as his body shrunk, his head increased in size as frog eyes appeared as protuberances, his mouth grew wider. When tiny nubs emerged and developed almost instantly into front legs and his tail began to shrink this little character made a mysterious exit one night.


Since there are no predators on the porch where I keep the fish bowl I had deliberately provided him with an escape by leaving a long piece of wood leaning against the inside of the bowl that stuck out a few inches just in case a transformation occurred during the night. The purpose of the wood was to give the little emerging frog a stable place from which to hunt his first bug. Although I searched the porch I could not find him. Perhaps he slipped through a crack in the door to freedom. I hoped so. After this experience I was determined not to miss the next show!


When the second little tadpole began to change I transferred him to another bowl without as much water, one with a floating piece of wood in its center. This time I was rewarded. I watched carefully as his tail shrunk trying to judge when he would re absorb it because this would be his final food source until he caught his first insect. I watched him alternately coming to the surface to breathe air and then sinking back down to the bottom of the bowl to gulp water. He seemed to be struggling a bit and I was worried. By evening his tail had diminished. When I looked in the bowl he was sitting on the floating wood gazing at me expectantly as if he knew I was his route to freedom. It was time.


I prepared a protected place in my flower garden, putting a shallow dish of water with a few stones under the greenery, and added another wooden island – just in case he might still need to rest. When I picked him up and opened the door he squirmed a little. As soon as I bent down in the greenery, placing him in the dish he leapt out and disappeared into a mass of green foliage! His journey had begun. I was shocked to feel so bereft. Even though I had raised him from childhood I was, after all, celebrating his new life…How is it that I had forgotten that raising tadpoles always carried a cost?


I suspect the process reminded me of losing my own children to unseen forces; but perhaps it wasn’t only that. It may be that nurturing (and usually I raise tadpoles from eggs) puts me in touch with the inevitable pain that is always associated with love. I reminded myself that I needed to learn this life lesson over and over. And that Letting Go is an art form.




As of this afternoon I have three froglets living in my flower garden. When I took the second one outdoors he leapt so high into the foliage that I was stunned. Remember these tiny peepers are only about a quarter inch long.


The third one was waiting for me on the floating wood, eyeing me with particular intensity this morning. I spoke to him, commenting on the fact that his tail was still quite long, but he seemed to be telling me that this was fine. It was time to go. I complied, and although he did spend a few moments floating in the dish, he also vanished into the giant green jungle…

Midsummer Meditation






It is past “midsummer” and we are moving into the hottest time of the year without a drop of nurturing, healing rain… When I walk around I find myself focusing on the many different ferns that grace the forest edges – ferns that hold in precious moisture creating damp places for toads and frogs to hide, places for young trees to sprout, places for the grouse and turkey to hide their nestlings, ferns whose lacy fronds bow low as if in in prayer. Sweet fern covers the hill above and around the brook. The Ostrich ferns are giant bouquets that sprout up around Trillium rock shielding tender wildflower roots. Maidenhair is being devoured by insects, sadly, the only fern having difficulty here. New York ferns are stiff with ladder like fronds and the few cultivars provide soft shades of dark red, blue and green. Along my woodland paths the tall pale green bracken stalks have to be pulled although I leave all that I can around the edges to protect the mosses. All the ferns are forever unfurling in a state of becoming, spiral gifts for any discerning eye.


Ferns are just one of nature’s ways of dealing with drought. Without this lacy lime, fading emerald, gray green covering the soil would crack because it is already so parched; I imagine I can feel the stress of thirsty plant roots. Small leaves are yellowing and falling from fruit trees even in June.


I find myself wondering what mycelium highways are being created beneath the surface of the soil. The hyphal root tips are seeking water to feed what plants? Nearby trees? New seedlings? We know from Scientist Monica Gagliano’s work that these mycorrhizal fungi hear the brook’s barely rippling water and are making their way to its source… but I can only imagine this… I cannot see it. I do however, trust nature’s ability to adapt, and this knowledge brings me the greatest comfort of all. Nature can be trusted; S/he has seemingly endless ways of managing even during the destructive age of the Anthropocene.


When I meander around the house under the thick shade of the many trees I planted so many years ago, feel the soft moss beneath my feet, and smell the scent of moist air and water preserved in part because of my effort to work with nature, I cannot help but give thanks for living in this hollow, a well forested glen, where I find reprieve from lack of rain.

Electric Green Damselflies!



Today it was 90 degrees and I spent most of the afternoon with a friend wading in my brook – a body of clear mountain water that flows under a graceful canopy of trees, trees that sheltered us from the brutal Summer Solstice sun and kept the surrounding air moist and cool as well as almost unbearably fragrant. Oh, I am never more appreciative of the forest than on a day like this one. We haven’t had a soaking rain for almost two months and although the humidity provides a little moisture for thirsty trees the forest floor is drying up, the mosses are losing color, lichens are crispy. Fire is an ominous threat, and piles of slash have become a real danger… We were discussing these worries when suddenly three amazing apparitions interrupted our conversation.

Catapulted into the present we both watched in wonder as electric green damselflies darted back and forth below the waterfall, barely lighting on the lacy ferns for seconds before darting away. Emerald sticks shimmered and shivered as they soared after prey.

No other insects symbolize summer quite like this group of colorful, primitive-looking predatory insects. Often we confuse the two species calling both dragonflies. In the late summer garden, both damsel and dragonflies resemble tiny animal fighter jets, fierce-looking with bulbous eyes and gossamer wings.

Just the day before I was kayaking on the pond and had a number of the latter landing on my bow with their outstretched wings. I also noted strings of dragonfly – damselfly (?) eggs attached to reeds floating under water.

Damselfies and dragonflies are closely related. These members of the insect order Odonata include roughly 5,900 species – about 2,600 damselflies and 3000 dragonflies.

Damselflies and dragonflies are both predatory flying insects that look primitive and ancient because they are. Fossil records indicate that prehistoric species are quite similar to those we see today. Modern dragonflies and damselflies are most prevalent in tropical regions, but some species can be found in almost every part of the world except for the polar regions.

In all fairness it is easy to see why dragonflies and damselflies are often confused with one another because they share many characteristics, including membranous wings, large eyes, slender bodies and small antenna. But there are also clear differences. Damselflies have longer thinner bodies that look like needles. In general, dragonflies are sturdier, thicker-bodied insects Once you the difference in body shape most folks can easily identify the two. What is easiest for me to remember is that damselflies look like flying needles while dragonflies resemble small aircraft especially when they land. Damselfly wings are held vertically while dragonfly wings are flat while the insects are at rest.

Both species come in a wide range of sizes and colors. Some are subdued, others dazzle the eye with their brightly metallic hues of greens and blues. Damselflies have the widest range of sizes, with wingspans ranging from about 3/4 inch (19 mm) in some species to 7 1/2 inches (19 cm) in larger species. Some fossil ancestors have wingspans of more than 28 inches! One of the first winged insects, dragonflies have inhabited the Earth for more than 300 million years.

Both damselflies and dragonflies lay their eggs in or near water. Hatched larvae go through a series of molts as they grow, and begin predatory feeding on the larvae of other insects and small aquatic animals like tadpoles. One year someone gave me some dragonfly eggs and forgot to tell me they would eat my tadpoles. Naturally, I was deeply upset when I discovered the trick and was quick to remove the offenders. The Odonata larvae themselves also serve as an important food source for fish, amphibians, and birds. Larval damselflies and dragonflies reach adulthood in as little as three weeks or as long as eight years, depending on species. They go through no pupal stage, but near the end of the larval stage, the insects begin to develop wings, which emerge as useable flight organs after the last molt of the larval stage.

The adult flying stage, which can last as long as nine months, is marked by predatory feeding on other insects, mating, and finally laying eggs in water or moist, boggy areas. As adults dragonflies and damselflies are largely immune to predators, except for some birds. These insects are our friends! They consume large quantities of mosquitoes, gnats, and other biting creatures. Damselflies and dragonflies are visitors we need to entice into our gardens!

In some folklore green dragonflies are supposed symbolize abundance and the greening of the earth. To see these magical flying beings on the afternoon of the summer solstice seemed prescient. I couldn’t help wondering if their timely appearance might suggest that this turning of the wheel might bring us some relief from the difficulties that we are facing on a personal and collective level.



The picture that I have included shows a Sparkling Jewelwing damselfly. Only the tip of the wings is dark, making it easy to differentiate from the more common Ebony Jewelwing. Many areas of the east coast are blessed with these magnificent insects.

Solstice Lamentation

George Floyd…

I awaken to the muted songs of birds… the spring cacophony is spent… the brook barely ripples below the house, although the summer green still calms me, a balm for eyes that ache in the waxing, too brilliant, solstice sun – too many hours of light leave me agitated, scattered, pushing me towards mindless doing. Professional writing becomes a chore. I am too tired to read at night because of so much daily physical activity. Beneath the surface, tension works against the part of me that simply wants to be… I long for longer nights to redress this cyclic extreme – an imbalance that also leaves me enervated. Agitation and enervation both. Too much light casts no shadows.

Tomorrow the solstice heat will begin to climb – my summer torment has begun. And with the heat comes the noise of crazed motorcycles and guns. Aggressive people love the Fire, take pleasure out of crushing breath out of the innocent resulting in yet one more death of a black man.* Numbed by this latest atrocity, one that is literally beyond my comprehension, I am at the mercy of flames that I despise, and heat that steals my breath away too. I want to go with the turning facing this fierce inferno but cannot let go of my yearning for stillness, sanity, water, and peace…

The rains have not come. The soil is pitifully dry – vernal pools shrink to a dangerous low; almost two months have passed since we have had a soaking rain. It surprises me that so few notice. Kingfisher hunts hapless tadpoles in a disappearing pond. It seems to me that life’s predators hold sway. I witness drooping leaves and plants, water my garden every day, and try to live with the crushing depression that haunts me. My short term memory is deserting me – I leave glasses in one room and can’t remember where, food gets left on counters, precious pictures are stupidly and mindlessly deleted, where’s my bug net? I can’t stay in my body. Too much pain.

This year I am desperately trying to find someone to replace rotten timbers in my cellar and to interrupt what has become a serious health threatening moisture problem. A local contractor backed out last spring, leaving me searching desperately for anyone to do the work I need done… I would have had all winter to find someone else had he told me he was not willing to do the job. This betrayal requires taking some concrete action that I have yet to take… Three months have gone by and still nothing. I am now wondering how I can get by without replacing the timbers… I am constantly on edge – frightened about what will happen to my cabin, and what this means for me – all this frantic movement going on around me, and I am standing still.

I am weary from repeating an old pattern – why is it that I have so much trouble getting help? Hopelessness rises out of the depths. He has pearl white fangs and too many teeth…

*George Floyd’s horrific dying, while he struggled for breath is a crime so horrific that it has taken a week for me to absorb it. It reflects the gruesome reality of human cruelty. I never saw the video – just one revolting look at the picture struck me dumb.

What upsets me the most is that no one seems to notice the underlying pattern that accompanies these atrocities. First the murder, then outrage and protesting, and finally a return to the status quo. Oh yes, and every time millions to speak to the “hope” that accompanies the protesting – “This time it will be different”. We are a nation addicted to hope.

By the way, what’s the difference between hanging black man from a tree and crushing the breath out of another? Racism is a brutal FACT of human life then and now.


If only my bear would come…


If only my bear would come…

The Song of the Forest



When He comes

I forget who I am.

My story vanishes.

Boundaries dissolve.

Emerald green,

leaf filtered light,

clear mountain streams,

trees, lichens, moss –

become ‘all there is’.

In the still dawning

Animals speak.


Nature’s ultimate gift is that given the chance S/he dissolves the artificial socially constructed  boundaries that humans have erected to separate themselves from the Earth who is burning in the Fire, unable to breathe as many of us are struggling to do now.

We have a choice to re-establish interconnection – to become part of the  original family that birthed us 500 million years ago… regardless of outcome.

Developing an intimate connection with Nature allows us to disappear into the whole. Ironically, dissolution is where peace is found.

Spirit Bear

June bear


When the bears come the waters will rise / sweet rain will fill the barrels / and cardinals will whistle love songs. When the bears come my feet will touch the earth / and I will feel the branches of root light illuminating the dark / revealing a direction that has been blocked by disbelief. When the bears come joy will climb up my spine / and fireflies will gather in my hair/ my mind will clear/ pinpoints of flashing light will lead the way/ the mist that blankets the mountain will part / dew will fall under a waning moon / and I will hug a furry body until I sleep / burying my head in his chest / feeling his heartbeat as my own / whole / if only the bears will come…