This morning I read an article in Orion Magazine about a small shorebird, the Calidris canutus rufa – commonly known as the red knot. Writer Deborah Cramer penned a number of essays that accompany paintings of the birds done by artist Janet Essley. These little birds, just the size of a robin, make one of … Continue reading Wisp
The cold, though not unexpected, is startling. It feels good to walk through fields that have provided nourishment of all sorts to beings of all kinds. Ice clings to stalks of bowing grass. Every step crunches in the stillness of freeze. Muted colors announce themselves in burnt umber, dark brown, and burgundy, reminding us that … Continue reading In the Shadow of an Old Barn
This post is a slightly updated version of one from three years ago, since the message is still relevant. The second to last paragraph has also been adapted as a poem that is found in Cold Spring Hallelujah, available now anywhere books are sold.
It’s Thanksgiving time [a complicated holiday if we look through the lens of colonization] here in the United States, and what a strange season we are in. The Amazon burns while floods swallow sea level neighborhoods. Planned power outages become business as usual to prevent wildfire while incredible amounts of energy are used to keep indoor ski resorts going in deserts. People in high office in too many countries seem to have missed the history lessons about the horrors that result from unchecked, systematic racism and the dangers in acting from fear and entitlement. Constant growth remains the goal while finite resources vanish. Work hours are long, jobs are lost, people are sick, loved ones are hurting, the dog is getting old. There are many things to lament and grieve. Grief and lament have their place in the world, and they are necessary. Yet so is giving thanks. Gratitude is nearly always possible.
Elie Wiesel wrote, “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” Gratitude doesn’t mean burying unwanted feelings or looking for the silver lining in the midst of a bad situation – gratitude means acknowledging what is still good even alongside the mess. Continue reading “Gratitude, anyway”
A few weeks ago, I took a notebook and a camping chair down to the dock and parked myself there for 45 minutes while my daughter was at her violin lesson. My goal was to observe and note what I was observing in my new journal. I’d filled the old one, the one that I’d … Continue reading A Bit of Practice
To be fair, sometimes I run, which has its own merits and joys and reasons, some of which are the same as walking in the woods. But when I slow down to a walk, when I take the time to really notice what’s going on, things come to light that wouldn’t otherwise. Here are some … Continue reading Why I Walk in the Woods
I wrote a post nearly 10 years ago, on the blog that eventually became the book Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth that basically just listed a bunch of things I didn’t like about the world with a bunch of things I did like about the world. That particular entry didn’t make it into the … Continue reading Wild Love for the World
The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; … Continue reading Earth Day in a New Story
Anne Herbert, in an essay titled “Handy Tips on How to Behave at the Death of the World” writes, “Falling in love has always been a bit too much to apply to one person. Falling in love is appropriate for now, to love all these things which are about to leave. The rocks are watching, … Continue reading On Love
This post originates at Red Sofa Literary. The agent I’m working with for a new book project posed this question for her agency’s annual NaNoWriMo series: Did you choose writing or did writing choose you? I had to think awhile on this. Why do I write, day after day, word after word? Did I actually choose it, or … Continue reading Fuel for Writing
Evening is falling into the day like a silk scarf slips off a woman’s shoulders when she relaxes into a lover’s embrace. The lake is dead calm, and the fully clothed trees admire their reflection, flaunting their leafy abundance a second time over. As the sun sinks lower in the sky, the shoreline across the … Continue reading That Wild Family of Things