Remembering What’s Broken

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I kneel before

my wood – stove

kindling fire

in sapphire blue,

flaming orange gratitude

rising unbidden.

Bare limbs etch stories

against curved canvas

empty space – sky or dome

as Venus fades

and the day begins…

 

A golden dawn

awakened the Ravens.

Fluffed feathery balls

perched on frost slipped

trees whose crystals

shivered in a landscape

tipped in white gold –

each twig on fire

from the rising sun.

Swooping down for

cracked corn, coal black

Messengers quork

and hop as small

birds retreat.

 

 

January’s fur coat

is white.

My brother is dead.

I think of polar bears.

Blue ice

cracks under frightened claws –

Roots starved for water.

Dying slices my

joy in two

even as evening

grosbeaks

come to feed

and sea smoke

rises from the river.

 

 

Working notes:

 

January in New Mexico is like a dream when snow covers the ground twisting cactus into fantastic shapes and coating wheat colored grasses in silver. The snow cover helps me to forget that these same grasses never turned green. Crystal ground stars are so brilliant they hurt my eyes as I tramp around happily on snow-shoes under a warm afternoon sun and awaken to a frozen world. I am lulled into a peace I know is temporary because below four inches of snow the drought rages on shrinking the roots of each thirst driven plant and tree. There isn’t enough snow cover for Northern New Mexico’s mountains to create spring run off. The precious water that is needed for frogs to breed and corn to grow is absent. Alpine glow brings down the night and the Great Bear rises in the North and still I pray for water…remember my dead, and the Great Dying to come.

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The Magic Boat

 

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( from top to bottom author’s craft setting to sea… dragonfly illusion…the magic boat)

 

My friend has a tradition of making and sailing away little boats on Red Willow river and yesterday, new year’s day, people gathered to create wish boats. It was a frigid snowy afternoon but the studio was warm and friendly as I set to work. All I knew was that I wanted to create a little boat that offered hope for all the animals and plants that were going extinct, or were functionally extinct because so few of them were left. In my imagination this little boat full of seeds, tree branches, acorns for the animals would sail down the river into the sea to find a better place for life to exist without humans destroying other species out of greed, insensitivity, stupidity, indifference, or a need to control Nature just because She is.

 

I glued seeds and wild grasses to a milkweed pod, but couldn’t find the right materials to make an animal to represent all mammals, so I imagined putting them there; they were just invisible. Then a Raven flew into my mind. Raven would be the sail and because he was a Messenger from the Beyond as well as being a magician; Raven was the perfect creature to guide a boat filled with such important intentions…

 

From the top my raven looks like a dragonfly – symbol of illusion for some Indigenous folk – but from below Raven’s ebony eyes and body appear under his dragonfly cloak. I believed he might know just where to sail the boat. I placed some tiny shells on the prow to guide the diminutive craft to reach the sea…

 

When it was time we walked down to the frigid river’s ice encrusted bank to set our boats onto the waves… At that point I let go, knowing that I had done what I was instructed to do, and the rest was up to Nature’s Grace.

 

Amazingly, when my little boat set sail it flipped once and then righted itself and floated downwind with the current along with Bruce’s boat.

 

We left then; it was so cold, but I carried a wonderful sense of satisfaction because my intentions had been made manifest, and my imagination allowed me to remain in the place of possibility – that crack in reality where anything can happen, especially if you enlist a divine trickster who embodies Life, as Raven does.

 

Last night I had a one-word dream – just the word “Reprieve.”

 

That word carries hope, not for the future but for now. Hope that even with the ravages of Climate Change upon us, those of us who are in such deep mourning may find temporary peace in this moment, where for example, the desert has gotten some snow. Not enough to interrupt the terrible drought under whose veil we now live, but enough perhaps to help the roots of precious trees and plants survive one more year…

 

Most humans are not yet aware that we have entered a new age – some call this the age of the Anthropocene – an age characterized by dominance of the human species at the expense and loss of all others. Of course, even humans will not be able to survive this global holocaust for long, but few seem to care.

 

Because I am so aware, a great loneliness permeates my everyday awareness as I witness the diminishment of other non – human life forms and the total absence of others. I know that I am powerless to change what is, but creating a magic boat of intentions allows me to dream a new reality if only in my mind.

 

Some say Raven gave the First People fire, perhaps he can also interrupt the great dying – who can know.

Renewal?

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(author’s story as told by the child… note the Raven in the plant)

 

Renewal?

 

Just that one word dreamed as a question the night of January 1st.

 

Last evening all my Bear Circle animals gathered in front of the 8 flickering candles (intentions I had set for this coming year) – Most were about the loving the Earth, my body, the bodies of animals and trees, giving thanks for gifts offered in 2018.

 

The animals were walking towards the evergreen wreath, my Circle of Life, soon to enter the Great Round. My fervent hope was that during this human induced ‘sixth extinction’ some would find a way to survive…

 

Telling stories through stone animals is something the child has been doing for almost 40 years when I first dreamed the “Bear Circle”… Sometimes these stories ‘work’ and sometimes not. But I never stop the child’s meanderings for often she knows more than I do…

 

As I spoke my intentions, opened my palms and sang my song, Lily b offered his Blessing.

 

Heat pulsed through my upraised hands.

 

I had been heard.

 

Staring into the flames of the candle at the center of the wreath, I imagined the animals walking through to a kinder place where all creatures and trees were loved.

 

Even as my heart broke.

 

So many losses and more to come.

 

Renewal?

 

Even in the dream the word remains a question… perhaps opening to unimaginable possibility?

 

This morning there was no sunrise.

 

Eight Ravens brought in the day.

 

Messengers from the Beyond witness what is, will be.

 

 

Postscript: Many Indigenous peoples believe Raven is a messenger from the ‘Great Beyond’ who brings news – good or ill. What’s curious is that I lit 8 candles last night and this morning there were eight ravens sitting in near by trees…

Dreamscape 2108

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I awaken chilled.

Darkness before dawn refuses to

illuminate frost covered skin –

frozen crystal fingers.

Barely breathing.

the forest sleeps,

Roots pulse Light.

I am running

from future

or past –

Withering away

in wrinkled skin,

Earth shudders.

Am I being called

by Raven,

and Owl

to choose?

Re-weave

the circle

of Shadow and Fire,

a monstrous West Moon,

embrace burning bones,

barren mountains

still hidden

from sight?

An Unexpected Gift

 

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(Lily and Hope – photo credit: Dr Lynn Rogers – American Bear Center/ WRI – bear.org)

 

a christmas elf appeared

at her door,

let himself in

as she baked an apple crisp

surprise.

Unwrapping simple gifts

Tears pricked her eyes –

Her red heart burst.

How could he have known?

 

She let him place

a small silvery bear paw

circlet around her neck,

a numinous abalone eye piercing

veils of ancient Memory…

 

She flowed with the river

dissolved into the sea…

 

A small child surfaced then,

roamed free through

a magical day

when two old people

became children

exchanging priceless

gifts – Love and Respect

freely offered.

Kindness births Flowers.

She flowed with the river

dissolved in the sea…

 

He wore his ears for her…

She cooked a feast for him

though she felt quite ill.

Together they shared thoughts,

watched Ravens in flight,

much loved dogs gnawing bones,

spoke of times passed by,

without poignant longing;

They had each other.

 

Two old people flowing with the River

dissolving into the sea…

 

Could he feel the Presence?

A Great Bear Spirit kept watch

as they sipped tea

by the fire in the cups

that bore His name.

 

The Bear held them close

like only a Bear Mother can

embrace her children –

loving them both

Unconditionally.

 

As they flowed into the river

And dissolved into the sea.

 

They parted at dusk –

Reluctantly –

thanking each other

for a heart centered day.

 

As they flowed into the river

And dissolved into the sea.

Tree of Life

 

 

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My steadfast Guardian Juniper

offers shelter

for birds

in her prickly

gray green branches.

 

A slivery star shines

from her core.

 

She bends, bows, nods

to whirling west winds,

acknowledges dark powers

that would topple

those without deep roots.

 

Her life -root sinks

into a complex network – a web

of underground support

and clear waters.

Sweet Earth.

 

Unlike my tree,

my roots

are weak and shallow,

scattered,

running too close

to the Light.

 

Without

a sturdy root center

to ground me

in dark places

I lose my way,

At least initially…

 

Women who know

call this Gas – lighting.

 

When betrayal strikes

blood pours

out of an ancient wound

in my belly. The

serpent rises

in protest of lies.

 

I cannot blame the dragon,

or the little body

in whose belly

the snake

finds home.

For we are one.

 

I turn to my beloved tree,

appeal for strength to resist.

She nurtures those

that are vulnerable –

deer included.

I raise my voice to Her

in  earnest prayer…

 

Can She support me?

– Assist me to

heal a deadly wound

that runs

so deep,

hidden in every cell

of  a body

I once despised?

Raven’s Cry

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Fake coyote calls split

a moon cracked sky in two.

False ‘Indian’ hoots and drums

stunned sleeping birds –

Why do ‘whites’

insist upon using Indigenous ways,

to make a point?

Coyotes know.

 

Did they think that she was blind

or that her dreaming body,

a roiling belly

wouldn’t warn her?

Deception is a ruse

to twist and hide from truth

even when La Llarona’s river

becomes a mirror

shivering under

winter solstice flight.

 

At dawn a flaming

orange glow

bled and pooled,

a lake of fire,

shimmered

before piercing eyes –

(She sees better in low light)

A dark star

rose with thorns

exposing

bruised and broken fruit.

 

While Coyotes slept

Raven brought the Light.

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