When we meet 

our deep

brown eyes

 mirror a

mutual need

for light

to penetrate

 human darkness.

  Your eyes are

wary and fearful;

Mine hunger

for your touch.

I cry out softly

“Don’t be afraid…

I love you”.

We share

a haunted skin –

  hunted down

by Difference.

You are slaughtered

by men with guns.

I am knifed by wounding

 man words,

– boy threats,

 a ‘gift’ of a still warm

grouse – her neck twisted

and broken – dropped

at my door.

There are so many ways

 to kill an animal.

You have shiny black fur

and my skin is light

but our senses scream

as one

in torment –

our bodies feel

the earth moving

 under our feet.

We have no place

left to go –

no hope of peace.

What’s left?


to endure.

Working notes:

Some nights I walk down to the field, the one I call “field of dreams” to gaze up at the constellation of the Great Bear who circumnavigates the sky. In the Northern Hemisphere the Great Bear was probably the first image and manifestation of the Goddess. As a bear She denned in the fall, gave birth in dead winter, was reborn in the spring, feasted during the summer, and re –entered the cave, participating in an endless round of becoming. This year I feel the loss of Her Presence keenly. It has been a year of endurance; one in which hope has been absent. A year permeated by fear, drought, heat, stagnancy, unbearable waiting for house repairs to begin. It is almost November; un – dealt with house repairs loom as parched leaves drift to the ground and rains never come… I am losing perspective and I know it. 

Wild bears have been for the most part absent from my life. For the first time ever. The absence of day bears mirrors the apparent loss of the Great Mother in me. I am drowning in doubt and uncertainty.

Of course, hunting pressure has reduced the number of bears to almost zero and those that still haunt what’s left of these broken forests have little food or protection. Even though I offer sanctuary, treats, and friendship, bears have been too wary, visiting only under the cover of night. I almost never see them.

 The exception was Coal, a timid 300lb adult female that barely allowed me to get a few glimpses of her during the month of June…Although Coal knows me she is no longer interested in friendship. That she has survived long enough to reach adulthood and is of breeding age (she bred last year but lost her cubs to god knows what horror) guarantees that she has had too many threatening encounters with men to trust any human, including me – a woman who loves her. Because we are in the midst of the three month black bear slaughter I think about Coal every day hoping that somehow she has managed to escape the hunters raging gun, wild dogs that ‘hound’ her, the ugly steel traps illegal in every state but this one…I look at her picture wondering if there is some way to reach her, to protect her – to help her survive. But I suspect that I am as powerless to help her, as I am to help myself.

Tree Teachings


I breathe in

the scent of

moist wooded bogs,

crystal lake waters,

baskets of dew

heavy and sweet

soaking heat

through every pore…

note withered leaves

shriveled mosses

and still

the rains do

not come.


The Earth is on Fire.


Stagnant pools

shrunken trunks,

the lack of fruiting bodies

falling leaves

a crisped ground

beneath my feet

remind me

that grief must be

felt with as much

awareness as possible

to create the

necessary bridge…


My weeping pine

keeps me mindful –


The Earth is on Fire.


Two thousand year old Redwoods

succumb to flaming


Yet some will live on.

Trees know that

There is nothing they

can do to stop

this holocaust

besides witnessing,

accepting their dying,

leaning into

the Grief of the Earth,

as she yields

to the power of

‘What Is.’



Working notes:  From the personal to the collective


A few days ago I had to take down a pine tree that I loved. Although I did not do the actual cutting I did make the decision to end the tree’s life, so I am the one responsible. My young friend made the cut, felling the tree in just the right direction; his father who was assisting felt a fierce wind hit his face as the tree slammed into the ground just beside him. Indoors, I shuddered involuntarily even as relief flowed through me like a river. It was over.


This tree cutting was witnessed by “tree people” – three humans who truly love trees. Afterwards, Marcus came to me. “Are you all right?” I choked back an avalanche of tears. Not (at that moment) for the tree, but for me because, like the tree, I too had just been witnessed by this boy’s sensitivity – For the first time in my 75 years I was not alone with my tree grief. No other words passed between the three of us but the depth of our feelings united us with each other and that tree. Not a shred of separation between us. Amazing, and yet so comprehensible.


I felt sorrow over the loss of the tree; but also, strangely, accepting. The next morning I wrote the following about a dream I had and began a tree tale not realizing that we three – father, son and I were still sharing a field. I was not yet alone.




In the dream a giant tree comes down – it has just been cut. I thought the whole tree was alive – but I am surprised to see that half of the tree is already quite dead. I see its gray whale -like body lying supine without its skin. It looked like a piece of driftwood lying on the ground.


The night before this event I poured water at the base of the tree as a blessing, gathered herbs to place against her trunk. I lay my hands on rough bark as I spoke … reminiscing about the bear fur I first found scattered around her pine-rooted floor. I told the tree how much I loved the sound of her needles rustling, the intoxicating scent of those that fell to the ground, the “candles” s/he bore in late spring, the masses of pine cones that appeared shortly thereafter. How kindly s/he blocked the heat of the summer sun from the house; how much I loved her. I told her too that I hoped that she would not feel too much pain. I listened then for a response and sensed a stillness; this tree knew what was coming and accepted her dying. There was no answer forthcoming regarding pain… This tree also had a sister/brother tree that would be left standing alone. (I called this marked tree a female but all white pines are monoecious meaning that each tree produces male and female cones).


That was as far as I got.


An email came in from Marcus a few minutes later that addressed my question: did he feel that trees experienced pain?


What follows is his response.


“In my experience, I have found that trees certainly do feel pain. The difficulty is in understanding it because the pain the trees feel is only knowable at a visceral level in our bodies. The pain in my body is the tree ‘s pain. The tough part is that because that pain is in my body, it gets mixed up with my own feelings of loss, which makes it immensely challenging to sort through. However, a few weeks ago when I had to cut down an apple tree that was being destroyed by tent caterpillars the separation of this pain was discernable. Once the tree was gone there was an immense release of pain in my body. But even so I still carried the sadness of the tree’s loss…I spent so much time getting to know that apple tree that I could feel it drowning in its own sap because it could no longer photosynthesize. Yesterday was different. I could feel the tree and the split but couldn’t communicate with it as well…I was so nervous and stuck in my own place (we were all nervous – the tree was 167 feet tall). But what I know for certain is that trees accept death much easier than we do… the dying hurts physically but the trees are never scared of death or regretful at what is being left behind. They are much more in touch with the fluidity of their spirituality and with the cyclic nature of life. They understand that death is not an endpoint… Dead trees that have stumps continue to live as they transfer what I think of as their essence, meaning soul, spirit, consciousness to whatever comes next. It is only when the underground network for transference is ripped away that a tree really dies.”


I should add that Marcus is a nature mystic, though he doesn’t yet know it. A scholarship to Dartmouth left him feeling as if he didn’t belong and after a year he dropped out. Now he cares for his family’s forest, cuts trees when needed, creates magnificent art from dead trees and trains for the Olympics. He is 21 years old.


It stuns me that someone who is 50 years younger than I am could be such a powerful teacher, friend, and the first person I have ever known that feels the way I do about trees and can communicate these ideas/feelings on such an embodied level. I adore him.


The following day I learned firsthand about the terrible fires that are ravaging Colorado after talking with a woman who cannot even leave her own house (I have deliberately been avoiding the news).


That night I had a catastrophic dream rife with cultural holocaust elements. On a personal level I was about to go under…


When I awakened that morning I was so sluggish I could barely move. I dragged myself outside and stood quietly by the tree soaking in her dying scent. Pinenes. Tears were seeping into the heartwood from the still living cambium. I thought of the billions of burning,  slaughtered trees. I felt helpless and quite stupid. Profoundly depressed, I knew enough to stay with the grief as I moved through the day; the trees had taught me well. My body felt like lead. I fell asleep in the early afternoon.


The next morning I awakened refreshed; the collective grief had receded because I felt it and didn’t try to hurry it or twist my experience into some bizarre form blurring its painful edges with new age ‘gratitude,’ the most common cultural form of denial used by people to avoid dealing with anguish. I paved my own way to peace and illumination on a personal level by being with others who truly loved trees and allowed themselves to feel their grief as I did. In this process a gift was also given to a dying tree.


It interests me that as a ‘tree woman’ that I was still called to feel catastrophic tree grief on a collective level. By avoiding the news (because of Trump) I was also lacking in awareness and knowledge. Our Earth is on Fire, trees are dying by the billions, and these beings need to be witnessed, especially by those who are capable of standing it (so many are not and I think this is part of the problem). It was only after moving through this process a second time around that I could come into a state of peace. Blind acceptance of the death of billions of trees seems out of place in this context. Resignation is not an endpoint. The trees will guide me into whatever comes next. Of this, I am certain.

Peter’s Meadow


(In memory of Peter 7/10/20)



I hardly knew you.


We always met at

the meadow,

the one alive in

your imagination.

Last fall you told me

how beautiful

it would look

when wildflowers bloomed.


I saw swaying grasses.


Tod was busy leveling

the earth, smoothing

her for re- creation

with a machine

that puffed like

a dragon.


When he mowed down

the sumac I winced.

So much winter forage

for deer and birds

no longer a gift.

I missed the

blushing wine berries,

fading ochre leaves.


But we agreed on

everything else.


Like you,

I too was conjuring

up a wildflower spring.


The soil was rich,


with seed..

I knew nature

held other surprises,

for you had created a “field”

of possibility, allowing Her

to take the lead..


And sure enough,

after the snow disappeared

Dandelions sprang up

splashing the earth

in gold as wild bees

gathered for the feast.

I picked a few tart leaves

for my salads.


When the

Indian Paintbrush

flooded the meadow

in lemon, bittersweet

orange, and red,

I met you

on the road.

“Aren’t they magnificent?”

You asked me,

blue eyes intent.

Your face lit up

when I agreed.


Soon after,

you were gone,

flying on the wings

of dandelion puffs.


Seeding the future.


I wondered where

you might land.

Just in case you are

sailing these skies

I keep watch for you.


I note the abundance

of bright eyed daisies.

Black eyed susans

burst forth in the sun.

Pungent yarrow is peppered

by fuchsia pink.


Each day

when I walk by

I feel that some part of you

lives on,

watching over

the Meadow

you brought to life.


Working notes:  Reflecting on the bridges that were crossed at this gathering.

This piece of prose was written for a memorial service that was held at 8 AM in the morning outdoors at my neighbor’s house. Just a few of us gathered less than three weeks after Peter’s death and this event, which also functioned as a bridge into the future for some of us, will stand out in my mind as the most peaceful memorial service I have ever attended. Surrounded by fruit trees, astonishing mountain views, extensive gardens and glorious fields we acknowledged the loss of a kind man that I barely knew, although I am becoming close friends with his widow. By attending this gathering I crossed a bridge that freed me from the past – a blessing I could never have expected and one that closes a circle for me while allowing me to cross yet another bridge into the future…

For so many years I was close friends with the former owners of this spectacular piece of property, walking through their woods, visiting the pond, soaking in the beauty of the flowers… I loved those two. He was a woodsman and a hunter, who loved trees and the animals he killed –  forever an enigma – I still respected him. She was a wealthy Victorian Matriarch who expected others to serve her and we did, gladly. When she chose another woman as her new friend – one I introduced to her – the two turned their backs on me – I became the “expendable” friend – this, after 10 years of friendship. Devastated, and unable to deal with the anguish, I let go… all that was left was a passionflower mourning…A year later, (and a number of other times thereafter) I attempted to re-kindle a little of what had been lost, but she would have none of it. When he died on a cold winter solstice night, the antlers he gave me fell off the mantlepiece. She slipped away a few years later but not before raping her land, butchering a whole forest for even more money. An atrocity committed against the earth that had nurtured her for so many years…

For Betsey this gathering created a bridge into a future she is ready to inhabit. Peter’s dying was protracted and she was able to stay emotionally present for the entire process. “Peter died just the way he wanted to” she told me a few hours after his death. As a result of his readiness to let go (an attitude I frankly envied), and her ability to be emotionally present for him throughout his dying allowed both of them to move into new lives.

At the gathering I spoke of how nature demonstrates that there is no death that is separated from new life – the process is an endless round. Peter’s Meadow was a perfect example – just last year the old house had burned down giving Peter the opportunity to dream and eventually co – create a beautiful wild meadow which is presently full of summer flowers.

When someone referred to the richness of the meadow I exclaimed “Life is bursting out of every “dead” decaying tree stump; there is no death – life and death are one” using my favorite fallen tree replete with its entire ecosystem as another example.

The second I spoke these words I felt the truth of what I had said in my body; specifically in my lower belly. It was only a momentary spark or flash but it was definitely a physical sensation.  Another bridge is being forged…

I am blessed to be forging a new friendship with a person on land that I love. I am welcomed, appreciated for my compassion and insight, my ability to see what others cannot. I can be who I am with Betsey. Every conversation I have with her leaves me gratified because I am seen and heard. I don’t have to get stuck in projection because she communicates her feelings and her understanding to me directly through her words and through her body. There is no room for projection or doubt in this kind of exchange. It should come as no surprise to the reader that Betsey has a close relationship with animals, especially her dogs. Dogs are our closest animal familiars tuned to frequency of intimacy that is true astounding.



Trusting what we have been given?

It is hard to

witness the drought

steal lime green

shrink maple leaves

distort wildflower buds.

When I stand under

the apple tree

white snow petals


around me,

I long to stop time

until the rains come.

Vernal pools

are disappearing.

This scalding gift

kills wiggling tadpoles

by the millions –

froglets not to be –

Frantically, I scoop

a thousand or more,

race to the pond,

make an offering

of reprieve –

Time to Breathe.


I reflect.

Murder by a scorching sun

is part of the story

but not the Whole.

This frog holocaust

is also Nature’s way.

S/he births life,

allows death

to have its way.


Working notes: This piece was written in response to a prompt given by a friend/facilitator before we met collectively on zoom (hideous name) – writers who need to keep on questioning and learning… that day I had witnessed thousands of tadpoles struggling to survive as their vernal (temporary) pools disappeared in the terrifying 100 plus degree heat wave in a month when all life is just beginning – May – Unable to stand by when I knew that frogs are the most endangered species on earth, I scooped up about a thousand and released them in a nearby lake, in my vernal pool, and kept a few to watch in a fish bowl knowing that bringing these last few to adulthood will probably give them a chance to survive. Frogs don’t need a heat wave to kill them. As it is only four percent make it to adulthood under the best circumstances. In that one pool  alone thousands more perished under a relentless solstice sun.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t get much feedback from my “non – poem” someone called it -unfortunately even sensitive writers aren’t tuned in to the ways of Nature…at least not like I am. In the scheme of things frogs don’t matter – and yet here we are in the midst of a virus crisis that kills impersonally… I see an intimate relationship between the frogs and people who are dying…





(first sighting of one of the female cardinals this morning)


Yesterday a wildflower

unfurled sage

tinted leaves, opened

delicate pearl

petals to a

passionate dawn star…

Its roots of blood

are hidden…


In still twilight

I awaken to white.

Wet snow coats

emerald mosses.

Each bare branch

wears a silver shawl.

Evergreens bend low.

The forest is transformed

by frozen sky waters.


Crimson cardinals

flash by the feeder,

mama hugs the grass.

Grosbeaks, doves,

finches, chickadees


serenade those

that listen…

woodpeckers and grouse

drum love songs.

Turkey pecks soaked ground.


The waning Flower moon

lightens the powers

of reversal

surprising the stars.

Soon north winds will come

to blow away shivering crystals –

Clouds lift…

Lime green,

cobalt blue,

purple tinted mountains,

sun gold

become center stage.


Spring returns.


I have be -moaned the problems associated with Climate Change for so long, with so few listening – if any. I am making a shift, (at least on some days) concentrating my energy on seeing the “positive” effects of Climate Change – It is easy to do this when I am present to the moment, and it gives me relief from our dreary socially constructed reality.

Our way – not Nature’s way is ugly in the extreme – even now in a pandemic – the economy before people.

This morning when I awakened to snow I felt joyful although I have never experienced snow this time of year in Maine – Climate Change makes anything possible! At dawn the Earth was peaceful and still  – I wandered through the woods noting the textures of snow covered trees. Later, I watched birds with an equal amount of joy, and got a good look at the elusive female cardinal.IMG_5218.JPG

Now the North wind is blowing, clearing the skies, and my chimes are singing so the effects of the waning wildflower moon are returning us to the season we are “supposed” to be in!

Root Healers



Before the bears come

chickadees flock to my feeder,

I hear an unfamiliar

avian symphony at dawn –

bird songs a healing balm

for hearts that long…

After years of absence

the barred owl

hoots from forested

green, and gray decaying

trunks hide luscious larvae.

Gentle woodland gods,

Nature’s Root Healers –

Black Bears

will soon awaken.

We are held in

the arms of Nature


Two geese fly over the house…

Balsam seedlings sprout from

the forest floor,

bare leaf patches

shrink seed covered snow.

Earth is singing underground.

The sound and sight

of a pristine mountain stream

rippling to the sea

throws me into heartfelt prayer.

I am Home,

my brother’s grave nearby.

It is almost (his) Earth Day…

I have not missed

the croaking wood frogs

or the chorus of peepers

just outside my door.


Under threat of Death***

the dark man drives,

his biting blue eyes

seduce the innocent.

I am afraid.





Power reigns.


Yet gratitude flows.

A thatched bird’s nest

perches on a ledge

sheltered by grey logs…

Tree buds swell

Hope, and the thought

of delicate wildflowers

birth potential joy.

A brimming toad pond

awaits green frogs.

Lily b sings a Love Song –

his benediction

for this turning.

May the

Root Healers Come…



*** this dark man has shown up in my dreams all my life as a blue eyed killer/rapist – but here this force seems even more sinister – “man” is an image of the collective killer – male and female – and the C/virus that we have brought upon ourselves in our arrogance and stupidity.



Black bears are known by Indigenous peoples as the most powerful root healers of the forest – for good reason – they know how to heal their own wounds – and where to find the herbs that heal… may they come…

Equinox Lament



We Could Have Listened


I made my way

to the river,

heard the song

of a starving body

barely rippling

over black stone.

Man’s* need to

control her flow

may win out this spring

as more ditches are gouged,

and she is flooded

(not in time for

the young cottonwoods

whose roots are too shallow,

but to grow human food

and graze destructive cattle

man must have to eat).

A plague sweeps

through poisoned air

infecting us

One by one…


As I round the Bosque

at daybreak

breathing in grasses

sweetened by last night’s rain

crystals hang from bare branches,

the decaying comfort

of moist cottonwood leaves

mutes all sounds

beneath my feet.

S/he* listens as

I give thanks,

witnesses my Lament…


We could have listened

to weeping trees,

screaming plants

dying animals

witnessed holes

in blue sky,

stopped poisoning

Earth’s precious ground.


Nature tried

to capture man’s

arrogant attention

as he built more walls

between self and other

ignoring mounting

evidence supporting what

Indigenous peoples

have known for millennia:


is Fundamental to Life –

Dead whales

and krill,

the slaughter of all

but three percent

of the Earth’s forests,

missing birds,

unbreathable air,

melting ice –

Some western

gods of science still

protest to no avail.

How many people

Have I heard say

“Oh, it’s sad –

too bad they’re are dying

by the millions”

as if humans were somehow



Those of us that heard the cries

were ridiculed.

Branded “ Voice of Doom”.


We could have listened

to weeping trees,

screaming plants,

dying animals,

witnessed holes

in blue sky,

stopped poisoning

Earth’s precious ground.


Has Nature finally made

her point

with an invisible killer

transmitted by wind

that shrieks

a dire warning?

This rampant threat

will reduce human populations,

with the potential to

eliminate a species

by first destroying

those most vulnerable.

Millions may die

before business returns

to normal in

this Straw Man’s world

until the Next Time…


We could have listened.

to weeping trees,

screaming plants,

dying animals,

witnessed holes

in blue sky,

stopped poisoning

Earth’s precious ground.




  • “Man” is used to define the human species as he still defines himself… I wonder what happened to humankind?
  • “S/he” refers to Nature as being inclusive – male, female. transgender –




I have been witnessing with increasing horror and grief the willful refusal of people to accept that any species except our own is capable of developing awareness or consciousness, has its own teleology, its own reason for being. We use Nature as a commodity; as if every non human species was designed to meet our needs and those of no other.

For much of my life my experiences and my dreams have taught me that all non -human species have awareness and possess an intelligence equal to our own – although intelligence in particular is expressed differently in the rest of Nature. It is clear from a lifetime of observations that all living things lead meaningful lives that we know nothing about. I have endured ridicule and derision for my ideas throughout my life.

It wasn’t until this year that I was finally able to let go of trying to shift the trajectory that humans are on through my writing. Ironically it was my relationship with Nature that helped me understand that I had done what I could. Today most of my writing is focused on the fascinating aspects of Nature making my writing once again a joyful endeavor.

In this remarkable process I finally got it, realizing that I had it backwards.

Nature doesn’t need us; we need her.

It is humans that are in need of deep healing. Nature will survive as a whole although at present many species are already extinct and so many others are dying. The fact that S/he will survive brings me great joy, and for that knowing in my bones I feel deep gratitude.

The difference between me and most people is that I have known all my life how much I needed Nature to survive. It was this need that turned me into an advocate in the first place.

Sadly, we humans don’t seem capable of living sustainably. (The exception, of course, refers to Indigenous folk who developed a culture based on shared resources and sustainability; pockets remain) I am just as much a part of the problem as anyone else, although I do carry awareness of my complicity and grieve deeply.

There are many ways to look at the current pandemic. Many see it as the “enemy,” Nature at her worst – The “man against nature paradigm” is alive and well. Personally, it is as frightening to me as it is to others… I do not want to die from this virus and I am one of the people at the highest risk –

But I am also aware that Nature is ultimately focused on the big picture (although she also has a deeply personal aspect), and the human species is a failed experiment as of now. Nature exemplifies the necessity of Interconnection and Community. Humans have refused to hear her anguished cries…and so I see this pandemic as a “natural event” – a way to begin to redress the horrific imbalances that we have created as humans at the expense of all of Nature. Nothing is personal here. Human induced Climate Change will no doubt do the rest. How ironic. It’s only a matter of time.

Today in the northern hemisphere we celebrate the turning of the seasonal wheel into spring – the vernal equinox – normally a joyous time for many – but not this year. Instead, we are fearful and isolated in our homes … Outside my window the wind is howling and churning up so much dust that with emphysema I don’t dare go out. The raging wind also seems to be reminding me of the spread of this pandemic through polluted air, which fueled the writing of this prose and post. In this area BLM was supposed to begin its first of its seasonal controlled burns of New Mexico’s forests today – yet another irony. They will have to wait for the wind to go down to begin burning even more trees and spewing up more pollution. The lungs of the Earth are disappearing by the Billions.

The Portal: How Do We Know What We Know?


My favorite part of the Bosque


Every morning I walk to the river in the velveteen hour between the vanishing blue night and the coming of the first scarlet, pink, lavender, purple or golden ribbons that stretch across the horizon. Sometimes clouds with heavy gray eyelids mute first light. Either way all my senses except that of sight are on high alert; a deep peace embraces me in the dark. My body knows the way. I murmur to the willows as I pass through the veil and under their bowed bridge. Their response is muted, a song beneath words.


At first my footsteps are barely audible on the narrow serpentine dirt path but as I pass by the river I note that she too is singing; and my senses quicken. If the Crane spirits are with me I hear the first brrring of Sandhill cranes as they take flight. “Freezing” I am crane struck; the involuntary need to stand still is overpowering. Body -mind viscerally absorbs Oneness as I breathe in a multitude of crane songs or perhaps only that of a few. Now my eyes are suddenly open, straining to see the familiar brrring materialize into startling graceful heads, necks, and stream lined bodies…. I note the shimmering waters beginning to mirror blushing pastels or the gray smoke that stains the horizon. Sometimes these hues deepen into rose, blood orange, or scarlet.


The rusty creaking gate opens the portal to my refuge.


Papery heart shaped leaves crunch under my feet, cottonwoods, junipers, cattails, and scrub reach out to touch me with feathery or wiry fingers, perhaps thorns; I am serenaded, slipping into a light trance. I begin to round the Bosque feeling the earth moving under my feet. Listening for the voices that come through image, sensation, silver filaments threaded through thin air. Illuminations, and occasionally, revelations erupt like volcanoes. A profound inner silence soothes me as I follow my feet, touching smooth branches, prickly juniper twigs, ribbed trunks in response, raising my gaze to marvel over the shapes of bare trees branches, cross – hatched, twisting to reach the sky to bring down the rains, perceiving each unique pattern as if for the first time, flooded by awe at each turning though I know the shapes by heart. At this time of day the Bosque is humming her collective love song without interference and it is possible to discern each voice. As I walk through the inner cottonwood path, sometimes surprising a rabbit or two I can feel this particular family of cottonwoods rising up to embrace me. Listening to their collective voices strumming a song that speaks to Love without Boundaries, I offer my gratitude for ‘what is,’ this moment in time.


Working Notes


Almost every day I walk down to the river in the early morning twilight, that space between worlds. But it is not primarily the river that calls me these days, it’s the Bosque, and once I have entered this refuge I feel an eerie sense of Becoming One with All That Is.


Bosque derives its name from the Spanish word for woodlands. This diverse habitat is found along the riparian floodplains of streams and river throughout the Southwest, especially along parts of the Rio Grande. I am fortunate to spend winters on one of its tributaries, Red Willow River, and to have a dear friend and kind neighbor who cares deeply for this particular Bosque which is located on the boundary of this property. The little forest is full of Cottonwoods, Mexican Privets, Junipers, Willows, Russian Olives, Apache plume, Cattails and many other bushes, plants, and grasses that parallel the waters and are still receiving, what I hope, is adequate moisture to feed thirsty roots and a complex underground fungal network…


For me the Bosque is a magical place full of wonder; a true refuge – a place of shelter and protection from the ravages of sun and wind. It is also a sanctuary, a holy place where the veil of Nature is thin, allowing for both underground and above ground communication, some of which occurs through scent and touch, sensing and feeling. Occasionally I will hear a word or two emerging from a place inside and outside of my body. Other times our conversation occurs telepathically (instant knowing). All my senses are engaged – my body/mind, though I must stress that the latter aspect must be emptied of rational thinking or chatter in order to hear those voices. Seeking that trance state with focused awareness puts me in that mind- still place. The Bosque knows I love her and that I see her in all her complexity – this seeing is an inner state and has nothing to do with sight in the usual sense. I believe Love helps open the door. I also keep an open mind and am a receiver by intent as well as by nature, and I think developing this ability with awareness contributes to our daily conversations.


It was not always this way, although I fell in love with the Bosque the first time I entered it. It takes time and attention to develop an intimate relationship with place, and only after four years have the Bosque’s inhabitants begun to speak to me. Even now, virtually all of our exchanges occur only during the pre-dawn twilight hours. Stillness, inside and out, appears to be another critical key that opens the door.


Engaging intimately with place then requires time and attention, repeated contact, an intention to communicate born of love (and at least in my case a deep need for reciprocity), the use of all bodily senses, a quiet but open mind, an ability to receive, stillness, and silence.


All of Nature sings a song of creation and destruction, one that is predicated on joy as well as sorrow. I think we must be willing to embrace both aspects of this process in order to be fully present for this song to keep on singing. What I don’t mention in the prose above is that in the Bosque I also receive messages about the cottonwoods struggling mightily to survive ever-increasing drought.



Natural History Postscript:


Scientists are just beginning to learn something about how plants communicate, even over long distances. The complexity of this communication is as yet poorly understood but involves both underground networks that connect trees/plants to one another, and communication that occurs above ground through the air.


Here’s a great example of what happens underground. Coyote willows, which are abundant around here and in the Bosque sprout from a single root system that scientists call cloning. What this means practically is that clusters of willows are related – they have an identical genetic structure. Some of these willow clones are more than 1000 square feet in size; other smaller clones also thrive in different places. Cottonwoods, Aspens, and Poplars, the other members of the Willow family also use the same strategies for reproduction. 88 percent of cottonwood reproduction occurs through cloning, so all the trees along the property line on this property are also related, as are the cottonwoods in the Bosque. On that inner path in the Bosque the sense I have of being embraced by these trees is the strongest, and I think the reason for that is that this spot is a kind of epicenter for the rest. The Willow family by the way is relatively young – only about 100 million years old. All members have symbiotic relationships with other plants.

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(Coyote Willows and Cranes – Bosque del Apache)


How do we know what we know? Mystics, visionaries, Indigenous peoples, poets, and naturalists have “known” that trees and plants communicate between themselves and with us for a very long time even though we have rarely been believed. Now we have proof that interspecies communication occurs at least between plants, even if we still don’t believe it can happen with us.



Uncovering What’s Hidden


( I call this native grass Grandmother’s Hair)



is the shadow

of being unloved,



strung out on need.


Shame paralyzes;

slamming into reverse

actions that would

create new intentions

including hope

of love.


Shame blots out


snapping the thread

of interdependency.

Plant Consciousness

restores it to life.





This morning while walking through the Bosque marveling over the sight of bare trees against a pale pink sky, I heard the brrring of crane presence.

Offering up the dream that had so distressed me, I received an instantaneous response from the ground beneath my feet.

“Look at us! We are all dependent upon each other,” the grasses murmured.

More cranes flew by.

The shadow of undeserved shame vanished – it’s illusion shattered.

I walked on…




Richard Powers, the author of The Overstory believes that humans need to cultivate a “plant consciousness”, that is, an awareness that cultivates the reality that all species including humans are interdependent. Trees, for example provide us with the oxygen we need to breathe, offer their offspring and other trees minerals and water so that they thrive; Deciduous trees send evergreens extra carbon during summer reversing the process in the fall. Trees and plants have thrived for 400 million years because they are connected by underground networks that support one another in times of need.


Humans seek commodities instead of cultivating genuine relationships; this universal greed and indifference has brought us to the edge of human extinction, and still we do not see.

Matricide in Spring



Buttery yellow petals

open to

a warming sun.

The snow seeps deep;

parched soil receives a gift.

Crocus sing!


Harbingers of spring

diminutive tuliped cups

break ground in January

-blossoming earth stars-


soar and freeze –

I marvel at such tenacity.


Persephone rises…

Freed from her oppressor

her joyful mother

celebrates as the Earth

swells buds on every branch.

Migrations begin…


My mother died

in April just as

the frogs began

to croak, laying

strings of jellied eggs

across still waters.


Matricide in spring

makes her presence

known as each

cell of my body

grows weary

from weeping.


I live my mother’s hell

strung up by the neck –

Forced to repeat the pattern

I turn away from

this tortured body,

combing the Earth for light –

With a prayer

to the Crocus Goddess

to help me heal the split.


Working Notes:


The goddess of spring is a flower. Mythic stories abound with this truth – For example, Persephone’s return to the earth -body is heralded by one of the first flowers of spring – the yellow crocus, which also happens to be one of my favorites.


Once I loved this season of light, but as I have grown older, the sun hurts my eyes, and except for the momentary joys I experience participating in Nature’s renewal I feel increasing bereft during this season.


Baffled, I am gradually learning to see.


When my mother died I hoped that our torturous relationship had come to an end; I forgot that my mother’s cells live on in my body, as mine once inhabited hers (Science backs this up).


Like my mother, I was socialized into a culture of mind-body splits. (A woman’s mind is always suspect; a woman’s body is always objectified; sexually, any woman – of any age remains the object of the pornographic male gaze).


My mother was male identified, and taught me to be the same. I learned to privilege men over women.


I also learned to despise my body just like my mother did.


In this process I lost access to me because it was this body that held the truth of who I was.


My dreaming body helped me see. My love for and identification with Nature eventually saved me. Becoming a woman’s advocate helped me begin to understand woman’s suffering; opening the door to dealing with my own pain, and eventually that of my mothers. I began to ask questions about how the mind – body split operated in me.


After my mother’s death in 1993 (at first I felt relief) I was able to forgive her for not being capable of loving her daughter because she despised the woman in herself. I hoped that I could move on.


Instead, I began to suffer the most crushing depression each spring. It has only been recently (thanks to an article by Carol Christ) that I was given access to the insight that this cyclic descent of mine is attached to matricide.


What is matricide? Definitions vary but the general idea is that the mother is murdered by her own daughter (or her own son). I grew up witnessing my mother’s hatred for mothering, my mother’s hatred of her own mother, and lived my mother’s lack of love for me, eventually coming to hate her for her indifference.


Even though initially I reactively adopted the other extreme- Mary – self sacrificing ‘mother of god’ as my ideal as a child/ adolescent/young adult (hardly a solution) unconsciously I carried mother hatred in the cells of my own body.


When I became a mother I turned that hatred on me; the results were devastating.


The most frightening aspect of this intergenerational matricidal pattern is that it lives on through both of my children whose hatred for me mirrors that of my mother’s hatred of herself, her daughter, my hatred for myself and the five year period I went through towards the end of my mother’s life when I actively hated my mother too…


Each spring I fall into the Abyss – I am forced to re-live the horrors of matricide and how it continues to affect me today through depression.


I may not be able to shift a pattern that is both personal and cultural but I have done the necessary work to deal with my own issues around matricide and most importantly, have forgiven both my mother and myself.


At this point in my life I pray for a keen awareness each spring. It is only when I can hear those murderous voices rising that I have a chance to deal with them.


Developing the capacity for endurance has helped.





PS – My beloved spirit birds the CRANES BRRR in the next field as I write these words – Nature is listening, and I am not alone.