Friday’s Poem: Walking Among Them

To be in winter slumber.

To wear musky scent of moss,

find dark soil as a good cushion,

branches a furry canopy,

a united gathering for all occupants

by a rippling, rasping creek.

To be not moved.

To be not alarmed by disastrous

feet tapping messages, cries flung

across dirt–fugitives locked under lid of sky.

To sense one prayerful human.

To bear sharp arrows of need,

such arms embracing ancient forms,

water, bark, lichen as sustenance

to each and all famished ones.

To inhabit a deeper soul like rock

in repose, beauty and succor of the ages.

Friday’s Poem: Time Unfinished

It comes nearer, ever nearer to an ending than

a beginning of this ramble about earth.

How many steps remain, how many breaths that

cultivate strength, resilience, the mouth full

of starbursts of air and puzzles of language,

of emotion that seeps and rushes from the center

over tongue and teeth to the world?

What are the answer I have not yet sought,

the questions not fully considered?

I cannot fathom enough of it, living

and shedding and gathering and more growing.

Perhaps I knew more at fourteen than I do now

it seemed a galaxy of matters and who is to say–

but if so it was somehow turned over and inside out,

spun apart, shifted, torn and rewound

so that before I knew it, there remained a frail layer

between me and baffling landscapes…

country and city made of people who shocked and amazed;

ancient outcroppings and tiny refuges of

animal, plant , mineral and water, air and fire;

and stories strewn everywhere

–they all pull me. Still call to me.

And a magnanimous Spirit is restive,

attendant to this path and countless others, with

divine wonderings and wisdom like markers as we go.

Therein is mystery: becoming one within the whole of it.

How deep dwells the meaning of all things?

When I come to one stop there is

a doorway, still, and that clarion beckoning.

Even a stitched and worn heart gives way

to a glance of compassion,

a flicker of fireflies, a rain dance on leaves,

and the slow laydown of sun upon sinew and bone.

That I meet face to face with such life, a miracle.

So I move forward into ever more

thrum and shush and jangle and slide

of each day and night, a holy human ride.

There is all that is still unfinished,

so much more to pluck out and love.

Friday’s Poem on Saturday: Rumors of Beginnings

The rumor is that the year changes.

Still, I breathe with my heart, earthen and
cosmic oxygen rising from conduits
hewn of shadow, light, water.
If it is a new entrance before us, also an exodus
that carries us to beginnings. A labyrinth, a journey
with pilgrims come round from afar. You and I.

I say, remand our treasures to the fire
of life, of loss. Plant random bits in good places
where springs quench deeper thirst.
Move among trees and mossy rocks, hollow and peak,
greet sea’s leviathans, guardians of earth, winged messengers.
We can recall such language; God recalls our names.
See, evening is seeded with starlight and the heavens
shed grace: mercy and knowledge given with no falsity.

I hope for a miracle of start overs. Righteous indignations and
angers loosed to be upended, disbanded.

For the poverty of fear and shame with their
failed assumptions, viperous words to be relinquished.

For the superfluous to fall away so ears hear
and eyes see each moment now with the best expectancy.

And fissures and fractures that divert us from
transformation to be healed, and lives that strain
from pressures of the world to be reinforced.

I call for a shepherding of our errant stories,
each one born of blood and bone, erupting with
a capacity for love: let us carry them to country and town.
And reimagine shards of beauty, breakage of sorrows
to remake and brace our living, a creation amid the harrowing.

This labyrinth of prayer is a minor strand of our tapestry.
We hail from a fathomless universe, crisscross earth
in designs of tender bodies. This is what is given us.
We are not ever quite lost as imagined. Nor alone in our cocoons of flesh.

A new time, the talk goes. A chance for reclamation, reaffirmation.

I give it credence, my face tilted to sky, then street.

May we grant favor to one another,
and hoist compassion, a torch from dawn to dark.
Greet peace upon entering and leaving each door, feet
casting off the chains of futility.

Here, my hands, joining the common circle.

Monday’s Meander: A Time Out

Willamette River, OR.

Meditative view of kayakers taking a pause before gliding down the waterway…though I didn’t go to the river (for once) today but to a Pacific Coast beach. I needed a time out from the cacophonous world. I had every intention of getting to my list of tasks and working on my Monday WP post this morning. But a twitch or two in body and mind emphasized a growing nervousness about this coming week as political fomentation increases by the hour.

So, when Marc was all set to go to the beach, it was easy to change my mind — despite a forecast of cloudy and chilly. No problem, it’s natural theater, the Pacific Ocean.

A tidepools area, Yachats, OR.

The past two weeks I’ve been getting in a lot of day trips with good walkabouts and satisfying (easy to moderate) hikes. By Wednesday I will have sorted out tons of new photos, and then will offer my usual “Monday’s Meander” post. Until then, keep your hats on and chins up–we have to ride these greater waves of discontent, cope with the pandemic and still maintain or create balance and cozy ways. One of mine is right here, writing and sharing a life like you fellow bloggers and readers.

There is still such beauty and wonder to find and savor. Take care out there.

Duck Lake, Interlochen, Michigan. From a trip a few years ago.

Monday’s Meander: Roving Along the Columbia River

Seen from the WA. side: Columbia River and OR.’s, Mt Hood
Steigerwald Wildlife Nature Preserve was sadly closed.

We started on the west side of the Columbia River in Washington State one hot afternoon. We had headed to a nature preserve but found it closed, so when we went on, seeking a different area. We found a small parking lot that with access to a walkway by the river. Since we’d not been on this southern part of the the river walk, we checked it out.

There is a reason why we hadn’t intended to stop there. The Captain William Clark Park (of Corps of Discovery, 1806–though we know Native Americans resided there…) is by a small city, Camas, so lots of people traverse that part of a very long, winding walkway. And we enjoy nature with far less people. But any river calls to me–I’ll stop at small or big ones, with or without parks or any path. Columbia River is one I deeply admire, am fascinated by–no matter how many times I visit it. At 1240 miles, starting in British Columbia and emptying into Pacific Ocean after flowing through seven U.S. states… mammoth. It also holds one third of our potential hydropower, so what a resource.

The photos attempt to share its softer nature that afternoon, and how people were enjoying it. We came to Cottonwood Beach which I did not photograph much; it was packed, to our surprise in this pandemic, and we avoided huge groups of friend and family gatherings–but they were having a pleasant time in the unusually warm sunshine.

It is hard to describe how big and deep and restless this river is. The often strong winds were were rather still; the water surface fairly calm. But when I see the boats out there with fisher persons, I wonder if they ever feel intimidated by the mighty currents that occur, the breadth and width and depth of it. It is one of the biggest rivers in the U.S. flowing by Portland as well as Vancouver, WA. metro. There has been. alas, flooding occasionally…

I leave you with a truer perspectives below, displaying both Oregon and Washington sides of the Columbia River Gorge as it rumbles, winds and sweeps toward the vaster Pacific. It was a relaxing afternoon on the WA. walk– but we do hope to hike in the Gorge soon again!