The Dark Side of the Moon






I am cocooned

by the dark of the moon

lulled to sleep by breathing trees

sheltered under a velvet night.

The Great Bear is sleeping

behind Black Mountain

imagining new beginnings.

Overhead a bowl of cracked stars

coalesces into patterned forms.

Ancient images appear…

The Little Bear and Gemini Twin

envision Bigger Dreams.


When the moon is full

the sky is lit all night

for days…

disrupting Dawn’s

midnight turning.

Smudged by opaque glaze

Moon annihilates the stars –

A solitary sightless eye

cracks cottonwood branches

into dying fragments,

Trickster Rabbit,

constellates Human Shadow.

Too much light

floods even protected spaces.

Disturbed and restless, I awaken.

My dreaming body

has lost her Memory.

Stories disappear.




There is something about living in a land that celebrates an empty deep blue-sky bowl and a harsh white sun as being ‘wondrous’ that I find disturbing. There is a kind of monotony associated with these endless blue wind rainless days that leaves me enervated and wired at the same time. They attempt to keep me dis-embodied – “de –pressed” psychically, and hovering outside my body.


(I compensate by spending as much time as I can writing because this art form keeps me firmly anchored in my body.


And I walk embodied, especially during the pre-dawn hours, when the trees and scrub “talk.” This morning I apologized for not paying close enough attention to what the plants had to say when words rose unbidden from inside and out raising the hair on my arms. “You know now,” they commented tersely).


It has taken me a long time to recognize that I am suffering from a deluge of light not just during the day, but also at night living here. For most of the month the sky is lit by some kind of moon – glow… and star -fire is absent or greatly dimmed.


Walking under an open sky full of stars is a gift, one that I have never taken for granted. Star gazing, especially during the frigid winter months in the Northeast has been my passion for as long as I can remember… (In Maine I keep my northeastern field open just for that purpose). Here, my favorite constellation is mostly hidden by a barren reptilian mountain…


I used to honor the passage of each full moon but these days it is the dark of the moon I acknowledge and celebrate. I look forward to the dark of the moon because during this time it is much easier to stay in my body, to sleep deep and well, and to star gaze…


Personally, this reversal mirrors other radical reversals I have experienced within the last two months…


Indigenous peoples have honored the dark of the moon as a powerful passage (root vegetables are still planted around or at the time of the dark of the moon), but until I came to New Mexico I never thought about what really happens at the dark of the moon. A birthing occurs following a night of total darkness. A moonseed comes to life as an invisible sliver, and a new Earth cycle begins…


It is February 1st and tomorrow, or somewhere in this general period, Indigenous peoples across the globe celebrate “First Light” the precursor to spring.


In this country some still celebrate groundhog day…When the groundhog emerges if he sees his shadow spring is still six weeks away (here this story has no meaning for obvious reasons). But the point I want to make is that the groundhog was first a bear, and throughout central Europe chained bears were forced to walk over scalding coals throughout the countryside to make the crops grow. How the bear became a groundhog is a mystery.


I too acknowledge this turning, though for me it is tempered by knowing that soon the days of fierce white light will stretch into what seems like “forever” and I will have to work harder than ever to stay embodied.


Although here in New Mexico the Great Bear constellation mostly remains hidden, the Big Bear Moon will be full next week…


One problem with the full moon is that it promotes a dulling of the mind and senses – actions without awareness/accurate reflection are a normal part of this monthly turning.


The Indigenous (throughout the world) myth of the rabbit living with his grandmother embraces this idea – the rabbit as trickster aspect dulls the grandmother’s wits and muddles her senses – if only temporarily.

The Cloud Person is a Crane?


(On the way to the Bosque…)


Meandering through

heart shaped

Cottonwood leaves

crunching under foot

Dream words surface.

“The Southwest is Drying Up.”

Didn’t I know that?

There must be more to this story…


Beneath trees and scrub

a rustling root thought:

If only I could feel

what I think I know –

clear this conditioned mind.

My body,

Earth’s body

echo identical


One encompasses the whole,

the other a fragment.


Something is walking beside me.


To feel a cloud

Presence hovering

is no illusion.

Still air moves with me.


Something is walking beside me.


The Heart of Nature

strikes a primordial drum –

sings a song of Belonging.

Midnight fades..

Dawn breathes pale pink and gold…

Even in my yearning

a prehistoric Crane cries out:

“A Cloud Person

Loves you.”



Working Notes:


“This is a great poem even if it isn’t” I heard myself say!


Laughter bubbled up.


True, I realized because poetry arises from the heart…and always addresses truth of one kind or the other. That’s what makes it great.




Yesterday in the Bosque while walking through the scrub and under the cottonwoods I gradually became aware of a presence of some kind that was hovering around me like a cloud. I heard and saw 2 beloved cranes that I consider my spirit birds – whatever that means – and was feeling quite thankful in general. I never feel alone in the woods at home or here the Bosque but this feeling of personage was different – almost like someone invisible was walking with me. And  I have never experienced this feeling before with so much awareness. What was this presence? The trees, the air, the fact that the Bosque is my refuge? My own soul? Possibly spirit? I don’t know but I trusted its beneficence…


This morning I also had a dream that said the “southwest” was drying up – since this is obviously the direction we are going in – the dream couldn’t have meant that unless the Earth is reinforcing what I think I know? And I doubt that. I was thinking about this dream while in the Bosque noticing again that walking early in the morning seems to lessen what feels like a negative dream effect.


Finally, after writing this poem I believe I unraveled the meaning behind the dream I had this morning.

Daughter of the Cranes


When I see them

I enter the Dreaming.

In the background

a jagged coat of barren

reptilian mountains

frames bountiful bodies

standing on stilts as

undulating necks,

crimson crowns

beaded eyes

dive below the surface

in search of last year’s grain.

Each deliberate step is taken

in syncopated rhythm

with those of nearby neighbors

Each three toed talon

pierces still waters.


Ruffling six foot wings

clasped close to form,

serpentine ropes dip and sway.

Cranes leap into thin air

when encountering old friends.

Parachute back down.

Relaxing into the calm mirror –

each one casts a silvery shadow

trilling, rattling, rolling, whirring,

brurrring with excitement

when greeting relatives.

Circling around before

making their descent,

cranes bounce off the field

as they land!


Always in communion

the echo makers converse

with others in nearby ponds

in the hushed chamber

of the lowlands-

a Bosque of Cottonwoods, lakes,

and reeds –

Cranes are always listening.


No wonder one can trust them.


As twilight deepens,

they fall soundly asleep,

thin billed domes

nestled deep in warm flesh,

scaly feet sunk under oozing mud.


They dream an ancient language

tapping into fields

of primal patterning

Indigenous knowledge

Earth’s current keening.

Cranes know that

only by attending will they survive.

During the night,

One bird stands sentry…


Next month

they will begin

the great migration

a bi -annual flight made

year after year for millennium.

Cranes return to the same locations

thousands of miles traversed when

‘North Country’ calls them home.


Upon arrival, the birds

paint their plumage brown

blending into last year’s

wetlands to escape detection.

Mothers hover over two eggs

sinking onto nests

braided out of reeds.

A most attentive Protector

scans horizon and sky.



One chick might

survive to make the return journey…


But for now

these sentient Beings

celebrate community

by the thousands,

feeding in harmony…


The tranquil ponds echo

with a symphony of sound so

compelling, so enchanting

that I am swept

into the Heart of Creation,

folded into feathery down,

cupped by Primeval Wings

fringed ashen cloaks –

immersed in Natural Grace.


Working Notes:


The Sandhill cranes are called the “Echo Makers” by the Anishinaabe who are culturally related Indigenous peoples that live in Canada and the United States. The tribes include the Odawa, Chippewa, Ojibwe Potawatomi, Cree, and Algonquin peoples.


There are seven primary clans of the Anishinaabe people; loon, crane, fish, bird, bear, marten, and deer. Note that birds as a whole are included separately. Traditionally, the Loon and Crane Clans worked together as leaders and eloquent storytellers respectively.


These tribes have a wonderful tale about a girl who is standing alone in a mountain meadow when the Sandhill cranes are passing overhead on their journey south. They circle around the young woman and gather her up in their great gray wings and fly away with her. She becomes a ‘Daughter of the Cranes’… and this is why before arriving at their northern location each spring the cranes circle around before they land. They do this in memory of the girl.


When I first read this story I recognized myself. I too am a Daughter of the Cranes.


Many Indigenous peoples believe that humans were once cranes and will be so again…



Cranes are receivers; they are always listening. Most westerners lack an ability to receive or to listen because most do not inhabit their bodies with any degree of awareness, if at all (this includes folks who spend time outdoors using the land instead of listening to her). The price for this inability is a split between body and mind, one that privileges mind, while dismissing body as irrelevant except as a machine. This makes humans very difficult to trust. It should be mentioned that because our feelings are carried in our bodies when we lose access to them we lose ourselves as well as being unable to be emotionally present for others in a meaningful way.


Being with Sandhill cranes allows me to enter their world in some non-ordinary way. I experience this oneness the moment I enter their field of influence; and the haunting crane calls – whirs, brring, trills, trumpeting – contribute to, and intensify this oneness. Whenever I am with them I am fully in the present moment. Nothing else matters. Although they are birds of the air I experience Cranes as being able to bridge the false western dichotomy that splits earth from sky to embrace/embody the Spirit/ Soul/Body of all there is.


Cranes are also prehistoric birds, 60 million years strong. It seems to me that they have access to truths on a level we can’t even imagine. It doesn’t surprise me that it is believed that they foretell the future or act as guides between worlds… They have for me.


Field notes of one of my crane experiences appear below:

Notes from Bosque:

“We found the cranes nearby and we left once and returned this time staying until sunset glorying in “the Echo Makers” – cranes coming in from all directions, one family at a time, and oh the sound was hypnotic – the air was still – the water like glass and the cranes were walking about feeding, brrring, trumpeting, rumbling, parachuting down with cupped wings onto the glassy water and leaping into the air calling to each other, welcoming mates and family. There were 3 areas – the first just to the front of us – one to the far left, and one far behind the larger pond all reflecting silvery light like a mirror -and with groups flying in for about two hours, some circling and dropping in front of us, some going to the left, and all in conversation – brrring, bugling, whirring – the sound was amazing and the birds in front picked their way through the shallows with heads sunk into mud, some in pairs and some isolated but all so peaceful – how did those flying in decide where to land? Great circular descents with those feathery fringed wings spread and legs dropping below them toes spread – they cushion landings by hopping back in the air – one was with a group that kept on flying towards the cranes gathering on the far left, but after a loud brrr from the ground, this one turned around in mid air and landed squawking. Another smaller crane immediately joined him and then another – do some fly separately during the day to different feeding places and then land on their return when they hear their mates/ family?…And all the time this intoxicating sound is resonating through my body. I am One with the experience of Crane, totally embodied, my mind recalling lore and mystery – “I love you,” I cried out at last to the darkening sky when we left. I loved it that the cranes were separate from the geese because I could hear “the Echo Makers” so clearly, each group’s conversation merged into a collective symphony and it wasn’t my imagination that the music came from every direction including the sky. We started out with about two dozen cranes and by the end of the day there were hundreds- maybe thousands, and oh yes, so many stayed out of the water huddled up on the far side of the marshes…. by nightfall my impression was that I was experiencing a world composed of these ancient birds, still waters, and sky and nothing else. Oh, those gray robed monks who stand in such stately grace – and when we left even more were flying in – it’s so open that even deep twilight is kind to the cranes. They must “see” through silver mirrors…..the sky reflects above and below – when the cranes move through shallow water they use a precise high stepping walk that seems so deliberate that one has the impression that it is has a syncopated rhythm especially when two or more cranes “high step” together. When in flight both head/neck and tail seem somehow equal in length and my impression is that in flight they appear white underneath…”

I haven’t heard the one group of 14 cranes that have stayed in Abiquiu for the winter for a few days. But whenever I write about them they come. As soon as I stopped this writing I heard them brrrring in unison -They reinforce the (heretical) truth that we are all interconnected and have the ability to communicate telepathically.

The Storyteller


(This image of a Black bear who is aptly named Holly,  happens to be my favorite photograph in the NABC calendar.  I chose Holly to represent what can happen at winter solstice. Holly is peering at us while lying upside down!  She is viewing the world in reverse! We too can undergo reversals that shift our awareness permanently, and this is what happened to me this year listening to a Navajo storyteller…)


When I walked into the room a bolt of light shot across the space and struck me so forcibly that it felt like it shattered cells under my skin. Did this occur before I glimpsed her bronzed moon shaped face? I will never know. I sat down almost in front of her, sizzling with the uncomfortable buzz that seizes my nervous system when what I call, the Powers of Nature, have taken over my body/mind. I gazed at her in a dazed sort of way. She wore silver and white, and the two sharply contrasting hues shone so brilliantly my eyes ached…


As she began to speak about the Navajo Blessingway, I drifted effortlessly into a light trance in spite of the static. Honeyed words poured out of her mouth as she slipped from her Native Dine’ language into English and back again; creating a profound musical intonation that made it difficult for me to concentrate on the stories. Initially. All that music. Layers upon layers. I had entered the Forest of Enchantment


Blessingway stories are focused on hearth and home and are told only in the winter usually in cycles of two or four, helping tribal members to “remember” (as in to render all the parts whole) who they were, they are, and who they shall become. All these stories occur simultaneously in the Now. And all are nestled the context of Nature who is ‘home’ to all “the People.” All Dine’ relatives are composed of human ancestors but also embrace mountains, water, air, trees, animals, insects, stars as relatives -every conceivable aspect of Nature is included.


The Storyteller told a family story that I loved – a poignant tale about how her people became part of the Bluebird Clan. Once these birds inhabited this country in all four directions and so the people chose the Bluebird as their animal familiar. Unfortunately, because Dine’ men served in the U.S. military they were forced to change their name. To belong to a Bluebird Clan made no sense to white people in power.


Some of the other Storyteller’s first stories also made us laugh. This woman ever so skillfully and effortlessly wove her family tales of joy, laughter, and sadness into one whole.


Although she has traveled extensively in her 30 years of Navajo story telling she comes from the matrilineal Salt-Water Clan and lives in New Mexico. Every child born in this clan belongs to the mother’s family.


This remarkable woman has worked not just within her own tribe but has functioned as part of an extensive network of Native people who until recently believed (some no doubt still do) that the only hope for peace and Earth sustainability lies with people of all races coming together with a single clear intention to begin to listen. Hope is embodied in the golden thread that places the well being of the planet before the individual creating a contextual reality for all humans to live. Perhaps with this radical shift of perspective westerners could begin to hear Nature’s cries?


(This isn’t the first time I have been forcibly struck by the reality that almost no one is left except Native people who still have the capacity to receive, to hear the myriad of non-human voices that are trying desperately to get our attention.


Westerners are doers not receivers. I can’t stress this point enough. Turning to technology and mechanistic science for truth we have become a people who to a greater or lesser degree are living their lives on the run with doing, and many inhabit a virtual reality in their spare time. Yet our bodies, like the growth rings of a tree, still record each instance of human suffering; so inhabiting these bodies with awareness becomes a dangerous quest.)


The Storyteller focused on the relationship between the human and not human world in all her stories. She spoke of the powers of the eight directions N, S, E, W, and the four that lie in between. She made a point of speaking about an experience she had with Robin who came to her that very afternoon, making it clear through her tale that the signs are there, ready to be read by the person who is capable of receiving. Nature is always speaking; it is people who are not listening.


In western terms I would call The Storyteller an eco – feminist because the she knows that what happens to the animals and plants will also eventually happen to humans.


She made a radical statement: “Stop having children!” No doubt this remark incited anger or disbelief in some even when other human and non -human species are in some kind of trouble because too many people are presently living on a planet that can no longer support them. So many are suffering and dying. The Storyteller says Americans live within a protected bubble. Or at least they did.


The tragic consequences of human hubris and arrogance are now becoming only too apparent she continues. Regardless of personal intent, ethnicity, race, each of us participates in the Earth’s crisis through our actions. We drive cars, burn wood, fossil fuels, wear petroleum – based clothing, clog our oceans with plastics. Our current president may be a monster, she believes, but he is also a mirror in which each of us can see the shadow side of ourselves, offering us a unique opportunity to own our complicity. We are participating in our own demise with each act of denial, blindness, indifference, including the refusal to be accountable for the problems we have created.


Worse from the Storyteller’s point of view is that westerners have deliberately silenced Nature by dismissing her as irrelevant. We use her, but have stolen Her Voice. Nature has absolutely no say in what happens to her as her forests are raped and set afire, her waters, soil, air poisoned, her mountains mined, her animals and plants deliberately murdered, imprisoned and treated as non sentient beings.


The Storyteller informs us that all aspects of Nature are speaking to her and other Native people revealing to those who can stand to live in the truth of ‘what is’ that the time for human extinction is drawing near.


Some would consider this the voice of doom, but is it? She reassures us that our beloved Earth will out live human destruction; the planet will recover from our species’ acts of unspeakable violence and carnage. I personally find this line of thinking hopeful.


About halfway through the storytelling when the story became darker and I began to weep listening to her words, the Storyteller’s eyes started boring into my own. She spoke of the technological damage of cell phones, conversed comfortably in the normality of telepathic communication and “read” the future of humankind with compassion, love, and deep humility, sorrowing as she spoke. We have twelve years she said, eight before things get much worse.


I could feel the buzz intensify to an unbearable pitch as her words penetrated my body. Towards the end she looked directly into the eyes of my heart and said twice, “you will live to be eighty”. My hair caught fire; she knew.


I had been crackling in the flames ever since I entered the room. Now I understood that this was because I was about to receive personal “life instructions” including further validation that my extensive research, my thinking, my intuition, sensing, listening, my dreams regarding the catastrophic loss of animals and plants (and what this would ultimately mean for humans) were sound and true.


My greatest life fear had been put to rest. The mind of the machine was going to be obliterated by Earth Herself.


Once I received this knowledge it penetrated every bone and sinew; my body was finally able to relax. I felt myself psychically collapsing like a rag doll.


We hugged tearfully after The Storyteller’s presentation. As we held one another immense courage and strength flowed between us. I thanked her for her truth telling and afterwards I could articulate the obvious; this woman was a seer.


It wasn’t until I was alone under the stars that I was able to reflect… this propitious meeting had been forecast that day beginning before dawn with the Great Horned Owl’s call. To Puebloan peoples and the Navajo the Great Horned Owl (only this species of owl, not others) comes to warn us that death is on the horizon. And whenever I hear that call I go on high alert just as I do whenever my nervous system begins responding to something in ‘the air’ that hasn’t yet manifested…


Still feeling rubbery I forced myself to ignore my body’s profound exhaustion as I walked to a neighbor’s house for a solstice feast and fire. For me an extraordinary reversal with profound implications for living the rest of my life had occurred this winter solstice night. It may have occurred for others as well. Many in attendance were exposed to truths they might not have wanted to hear. Some denied much of what the Storyteller said turning the whole thing into an uplifting experience. Others, more sensitive and open to receiving, wept.


At the fire when I fell backwards onto my head I heard my body’s cry. ‘Go home! You need time alone to process what has happened.’ As I made my way back I was literally staggering, as if drunk, yet I had survived my literal bodily collapse miraculously unharmed…


Like the Storyteller, I will continue to do the small things I can to leave a lighter footprint on the Earth. I will also continue to accept responsibility for being part of the problem – we are in too deep. Yet I will also persist, offering deep gratitude and experiencing joy when any living creature, tree, plant, ant, dog, bird, deer, chooses to converse with me.


At the same time I honor myself as a woman of great strength, vulnerability, and integrity, a woman capable of loving, one with a ‘pure heart’ as someone told me recently.


By placing myself squarely in the here and now, I hope to become a better receiver, while accepting that my life and the age of the Anthropocene may be coming to a close sooner that I expected. Native time occurs in cycles so the ‘twelve years left’ may be metaphorically expressing the end of an era that could last longer in western linear time…


Either way the end is in probably in sight. As the Storyteller made clear, human extinction is inevitable.


And some part of me breathes a sigh, ever so deep, in stark relief that this should be so.



The Earth has been mother, father brother, sister, lover to me – the context in which I have found home. As a result I believe I can deal much more comfortably with the loss of the most destructive species on earth than most folks can.

As a naturalist who has dedicated the second half of her life to educating others about the perils all non – human species face, and one who until the night of the winter solstice believed she had failed in her life’s mission, now sees the light. I have done what I could; and that is enough. This work of witnessing/educating has been hard. But it was what I came here to do, and thus my life has been permeated with meaning, if not with happiness. It continues to be my fate to witness the ‘great dying’ until my time comes, but I can accept this role with grace and with gratitude because I am finally at peace.

Most miraculous have been the dreams that continue to come… They assure me that life will go on and I feel this truth in my bones. The animals, plants, and fungi will recover from this human induced natural holocaust to live on without the species who did everything it could to destroy them – and this is the greatest gift of all.


Working notes:

My friend Lise stated recently that westerners have to be taught how to become receivers by living in and listening to their bodies (especially with respect to non human species) and that doing so might be a game changer. Until recently, I agreed with her with some reservation because I also believe that critical mass must be taken into account. For example, it’s not enough to save 85 whooping cranes; the species has already become functionally extinct.

Still, I was astonished by this remark, stung by its truth. This thought would never have occurred to me, because I have been an unconscious receiver all my life, no doubt because Nature was the only parent I learned to trust. Nature spoke to me through flowers, trees, and animals teaching me how to listen, and eventually I came to believe her despite being mocked, dismissed, or considered crazy by a species gone insane.

Teaching our bodies how to become receivers with awareness is a monumental task for westerners, but one that might have made all the difference if enough of us could have grasped its importance in time. Even now my senses tell me (Lily b, my telepathic bird bellows) that becoming a receiver is a worthy endeavor and one that might help humans and non – humans alike in ways that are beyond our present understanding.

Eyes of the Night


(Beloved Cottonwoods frame the predawn in front of the Casita)


“Eyes of the Night”

Benign or Suspect?

Here is a question

worth pondering.


“Eyes of the Night”

peer into dark souls

uncovering hidden agendas

exposing the worm.


“Eyes of the Night”

are not fooled

by words forcing fake

kindness through preaching

or shaming.


“Eyes of the Night”

(that seek to harm)

are turned back

on themselves

by the Powers of

Great Horned Owl.


“Eyes of the Night”

ride on the wings

of falling stars

Earthing destructive Fires.


“Eyes of the Night”

split the sky in two at midnight

The Great Bear

spills her Grace before dawn.





Working notes:


Often I will read a phrase like the one repeated above and suddenly a poem materializes out of the Great Beyond. I don’t pretend to understand the process, but I honor it.


I have always been most comfortable during this dark time of the year, perhaps because I am a poet and a dreamer, but also because I am a naturalist and these long nights give the discerning eye a chance to visit with creatures who are invisible during the day.


Here in Abiquiu, the Great Horned Owl is my nightly companion as are the stars overhead, seemingly so close that I could touch them. The high desert stillness is rarely broken except by the coyotes that sing love songs to stark reptilian mountains and to La Llorona, the Spirit of the River, like they did last night.


Every morning in the predawn hours I walk to our river to watch the sky catch fire embracing this magical space in between worlds, offering my gratitude for what was and what will be.

I am usually home by sunrise…

When the Cranes Come

IMG_3160 2.JPG


When the Cranes Come

I remember who I am –

A woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I listen with rapt attention

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I am pulled into a primordial field

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I know I must fly with them

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I remember that community is real

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I believe hope can be restored

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I lay down in frost – covered reeds

At peace with Sand -hill Cranes.


Working Notes


“By paying attention to what is real and true and authentic we come home to ourselves.” I paraphrase Terry Tempest Williams words although I have used these very same words myself.


Paying attention to Nature is just what I do. It is my primary survival tool. My joy is hidden here in experiences of the Now. Paying attention also forces me to witness heartrending Earth broken-ness, and this witnessing leaches the life force out of me. This anguish has no name.


When I am pulled into the “field” of Sand hill Cranes I undergo a mystical transformation.


There is something about these most ancient birds that live together in peaceful community, who stay together, who migrate in family groups, who look after one another that “call” me to them in a way I can’t comprehend, but feels so familiar… like a dream I can’t quite remember.


What I do know is that I must follow them. I must allow myself to believe that there may still be hope.


These last years have been impossible because I am witnessing earth destruction daily through the loss of so many animals and plants, polluted air, water and soil. So much slaughter. The earth is going up in flames – Fires rage, destroying the forests that allow us to breathe, and drought cracks open the earth, withering the most resistant trees. Dust chokes desert air.


I endure – waiting – no longer believing any action will be enough to stay the human greed, hatred, warmongering, lies, loss of decency, compassion, humility.


That is, until I see the Sand hill Cranes flying overhead with their gray gracefully curved wings, their long legs floating behind them – during those precious moments I am filled with inexplicable hope and joy – I once again experience wholeness.

The Cranes have whisked me away…


It’s interesting to note that I finished this poem, opened the door and seven Cranes were flying over the house…Sometimes I literally experience myself being being lifted into the air when they are flying above me.

In Memoriam: The Loss of the Holy


( a close up of a piece of the magnificent cottonwood canopy that arced its way overhead and met the ground – photo 2018)


Something’s wrong.

I stopped dead

in my tracks as I

passed through the gate

startling the pre-dawn sky.


I was on my way to the river.

It was dark.

Gazing up at my beloved

Cottonwood Cathedral

I couldn’t see,

But why couldn’t I feel her Presence?


A fearful hole

ripped through my heart

as dread seeped in.

Some alien force

had smashed the Peace.


When I reached the river

La Llorona was sobbing

her veil of mist

smudging the trees with a shroud.


Retracing the path at dawn

the terrifying sight of

severed limbs –

the loss of

supple arches

that swept the ground

with their bountiful grace,

limbs bowed low in surrender…

shattered the wonder of this holy place –

twisted knives in my gut.


To lose a holy place

is to be annihilated.


Both the trees and I

have lost our limbs

like the handmaid once did

to mindless slaughter

by those that neither

see or feel.


Never again will

we rejoice in the


joy that the holy

bestows on

those that are

capable of Love.



For three years I have walked through the Cathedral of Cottonwoods, sometimes two or three times a day just for the simple pleasure of feeling the peace that these Matriarchs of the Bosque bestow upon anyone who can feel their benign yet powerful presence. In just one place beyond the gate the holy lived… and day after day year after year I would stop just to feel the peace – amazing grace. This spot was my sanctuary, the one place on this property that somehow felt like it belonged to me as I did to her.


Today my sanctuary has been destroyed forever. This tree destruction occurred either in my absence or sometime during this past week when my dog has been so ill that I have barely stepped out the door except to make a harrowing trip to the vet.


My body is still struggling to process the magnitude of this loss. Intentional or not it feels malevolent. Each time I walk through this area someone in me screams out “NO NO, not here.” My most beloved place. Gone, the severed limbs will bare ugly scars until the tree itself returns to the earth in death…


The worst part of this story is that the severing of the arms of the tree accomplished virtually nothing. These beautiful arches were beyond a fence… and part of a path to the river. There was absolutely no reason to senselessly destroy them especially since dead branches still hang over the same area.


The severed limbs also remind me of a fairy tale…In the “The Handmaid’s Tale” a father betrays a glorious apple tree that is also his daughter for money. This bargain with the devil intensifies as the dark one insists the father chop off the girl’s hands. At this point after a second unconscionable betrayal the child leaves home with her severed hands and throws herself on the mercy of nature, who eventually restores the young woman’s hands…


My beloved cottonwoods will not have their limbs restored but perhaps there’s a message in this story for me.

Midnight Dreaming


Carter, a yearling (20 months old) who I hope survives the hunt

Photo Credit:  Lynn Rogers


In my mind

I inhabit a small

cabin nestled in

fragrant red pines

where Black bears

climb rough bark

to peer

down at me

believing I

seek their company.

Boundary waters

surround me

with deep Silence

that allows

me to hear

the Voices

of the Forest.

The scent of

of hundreds of

miles of open water

wraps me in

a blanket of moist

air even as night sky

bowl cracks over my head,

pouring down tales of

primordial story.

The Great Bear

is a spiral –

spinning a cocoon of

Midnight Grace.

Here, living

among the bears,


and the creatures

of the forest

I remember –

We are all

spun from stardust,


to live in harmony,

as relatives –

In Peace.


Working notes:


I have just moved across country from Maine to New Mexico – leaving one border- land for another. Yet my dreams do not follow me; Instead, they speak to the bear hunt that occurs each fall throughout this country, a land so hopelessly steeped in human violence. In my dreams night after night I cry out for the suffering I witness as young bears are slaughtered without mercy.


When I awaken I am not here or there but in a place in northern Minnesota where people seek to protect the innocent… Here bears and humans co –exist in peace.


How I long to join them…

Stepping Out of Time



Cicadas hum.

Blushing yellow apples

fall onto grasses that are

fading to wheat.

The velvet tiered buck crosses

the rushing brook,

climbs the

hill to stare at me

through the window.

His lady is not far behind,

her white tail switching.

Cicadas hum.

A single tree frog trills

from a slender swamp maple

whose leaves

are shining silver from

recent rain. Intoxicating scent

still lingers – the sweetest

perfume of all, this moisture

laden air warming

sleeping stones

and the toad who

lives under feathery ferns.

Cicadas hum.

There is a tapestry

of leaves laying around

my feet as I walk up

the woods’ road –

blood orange, lemon, lime

and crimson –

a sense of being suspended

in time.

Cicadas hum.

A few caterpillars spin threads

and hang in thin air

from trees still dressed

in various shades of moth eaten

green, to land upon crumbling

moss covered tree trunks

ripe with mushrooms

birthing new earth.

Cicadas hum.

Hobble bush offers luscious bounty –

Generous sprays of bright red berries,

attract butterflies and birds alike.

Fuzzy beaked hazelnuts are

ripening to warm brown

for hungry Black bears

to pluck and feed.

Acorns fall at my feet.

Canada geese honk overhead,

gathering for migration

as does the raft of loons

floating on a nearby pond.

Cicadas hum.

The sky bowl is full

of deep blue water.

She cradles

a golden star that glides

off center at noon.

And I think I

have never witnessed such

splendor as this prelude

preceding Earth’s passage

into Fall.


Working notes:


There is something so miraculous about this prelude to the fall of each year. Every day I make a deliberate commitment for time to simply be. I treasure leisurely woodland walks so that I might absorb earth’s subtle changes. The deepening shadows provide such delicate contrasts in color and shape. Familiar trails allow me to focus on details – fiery new blossoms, the ever – changing leaves on a single tree that I might miss otherwise. Unlike spring or summer I never feel the need to hurry or to explore new places. I lean towards the familiar during this season of stillness and waiting, taking pleasure from the places I know so well, a deepening blue sky, buttery yellow wildflowers, and a golden sun that streams in my window at dawn. It is at this time of year in the afterglow of summer’s heat that the sun and I befriend one another once again as we both move towards the darkening of the year.

She’s a Lover of Bears

IMG_0084 2.jpg


She’s a Lover of Bears.

A poet, a dreamer,

enamored by beaded eyes

black and brown fur,

rotund bellies.

Heartrending cries.

Grunts, moans and huffs –

She’s a Lover of Bears.


She knows that

a Universal Language

is spoken by bears.

Each nuance

and gesture deepens

a story that she

longs to share…

She’s a Lover of Bears.


She slides

into a secret dimension –

slips through the veil into

thick green forest

where Bears

make their living,

make love,

dig dens,

have cubs,

sleep deeply and well,

live out their


in relational


She’s a Lover of Bears.


(If bears ruled the world

there would be no wars.

No wonder

She’s a Lover

of Bears!)


She dreams of them

in between the cracks

of the anguish

she feels

over the haunting

that overcomes

her each fall –

Too many will die

to become a rug

on the wall –

A snarling trophy



who must kill

for the high,

to feel

their own

life blood pulsing.


She yearns for

the sight of raggedy coats,

sleek new coats,

fur dipped in cool waters,

acorned – hazelnut fat bears,

each facial expression

so ancient with knowing…


She’s a Lover of Bears

who enter her heart

to be received

like a prayer.

She wants to climb

into those arms

to be held like a child,

Loved like a woman.


She’s a Lover of Bears.


8/10 /19


Working notes:


I recently attended a Black Bear Course at the Wildlife Research Institute in Ely Minnesota. Although I have been enamored by, and have studied Black bears for 20 years nothing prepared me for this total immersion into the bear experience.

To visit with so many wild bears in a place where humans choose to co-exist with bears was a revelation. I have never felt such peace. For the most part these shy intelligent animals are allowed to live out their lives on their own terms (except for the fall hunting season that lasts six weeks, during which time any of these animals can be shot).

I was literally catapulted into another dimension, a timeless world in which only the bears, the Founder of the Wildlife Research Center, bear biologist Lynn Rogers, others and I existed.

Lynn’s groundbreaking trust based research challenges every fear based person and state wildlife agency’s “killer bear” concept in concrete ways, proving that bears and humans can co –exist peaceably.

Lynn thoughtfully answered so many of my questions and, of course, generated hundreds more. Although we have corresponded for about 15 years I had never met my mentor and friend until last week.

Returning to Maine I am confronted by the reality that our Maine bears are being lured to bait sites as I write these words. A three – month long hunting season will begin before the end of this month.

As a ‘Lover of Bears’ I feel this grief on a visceral level, but this year it has been tempered by this extraordinary experience that is open to anyone who wants to learn about these amazing animals.

Please visit WWW. for information on courses, Lynn’s extensive research papers, daily updates, and to learn about the North American Bear Center.