Aliveness, herself

Rattlesnake plantain roots and blooms here.

Small, smooth, silver-veined leaves of snakeskin

nestle intimately into rich humus beneath the shade of red cedar.

Her branches, the warm embrace of the mother, of forest-kin.

This mother tree welcomes all of me.

Kingfisher dives dramatically, rising dripping,

arrowing across glacier-fed lake to perch above,

calling in an enchanting rattle–

warning or greeting?

A familiar question.

The music of it calls me out of thought-depths,

out of doubt, of fear, out of lostness spiraling.

I am called into the senses of body–

this animal of pleasure and pain reclaimed–

known only to these hands and this heart,

by this mouth, this nose, these ears,

by this skin, this soul, this spirit, in this time.

Dreams of phantom lovers, mystery-seekers tame loneliness and loss.

Tears of praise fall onto the earth, rising to join gathering clouds.

Prayers whispered to the seedlings, to the fungi, to the ancestors.

Prayers sung from rocky mountain ledges into the unknown

future taking shape, circling, disappearing from view,

returning transformed on eagle wings.

I vow to cease the mad pursuit of happiness.

I vow to receive and release, freely, all emotion.

I vow to strive, not to be any one thing for too long–

to be instead, all things, in turn,

to be vivid, vibrant, brightness, darkness,

to be aliveness herself.

 

Love through chaos

Our eyes steal glances of beloved, grazing on form and flesh,
translating energy into fantasy.
As the wind belongs to this forest of fir, hemlock, cedar,
your hands belong to the soft slopes of my body,
caressing cells to whisper, hum, moan.
We have known each other
by other names
in other times:
wild shadow-dancer
lakeside star-gazer
moon-tracking tent-dweller
roaring river-rider
hearth-keeper
soul-healer
terrestrial trail-bound lover.
We satiate bodily desires with huckleberries and afternoon swimming–
momentary pleasure quenching.
Great longing spans the distance between our lives.
Longing follows us home,
fuels our dreams, awakens our senses.
Longing asks us to remember how to love through chaos.

 

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When I think I may succumb to loneliness,

art saves me, every time,

as does walking to riverside.

Wildlife draws near,

stirring up some kind of magic,

reminding me I am of this earth.

I am rabbit in the meadow at dawn, vanishing elusive.

I am doe at forest’s edge locked in gaze, awareness pure.

I am crow sharpening black beak on river rock.

I am coyote bewildered on noonday city block.

I am midlife she, crouched, one hand upon knee,

one hand in gesture sacred, relaxed and ready.

In the dream-time season,

the spiral of descent pulls me inward,

a deep breath,

a pulsing path of shadow and light.

I encounter you there in surprise.

Tell me,

are we ourselves?

or, are we reflections of each other?

August

August longing heats

the quiet terrain of solitary bodies.

August longing radiates

cells that ache with thirst,

parched, dry tinder.

Skin, not as tough as bark,

ignites under touch electric.

Stoked and stirred by hot fingers of wind

encircling,

caressing,

filling in,

drawing out.

We burn for days.

We burn for months.

We burn for years.

We are burning now.

Smoldering cores of coal.

Lover’s kisses quench the moment.

Earthy blackberry crushed on lips.

Salty blood-licked thorn-prick.

Callous hands meeting softness.

We smell of cottonwood resin,

of river rock,

sun-baked minerals.

We listen intently for the call

of water at twilight.

Entering slowly,

savoring coolness.

Our roots,

our hearts,

our crowns

emit steam, rising.

We immerse

one and two,

becoming one, then becoming three.

We are multiplicity.

We are transitory.

We are fluid,

playful dreamers frolicking like otters,

our eyes reflect the starry seas of our birth.

We are wounded

warriors seeking

the medicine of touch,

love healing,

willing community.

Community willing the will–

the will to resist,

to undo violent behavior inherited, learned,

the will to cultivate what does not yet exist.

 

Summer

I have loved you from the beginning,

like the hot eternal flame of creation that stirs in every life.

I held the memory of spring’s renewal,

of summer’s abundance

through the deaths of autumn

for you.

I kept you warm in winter’s veiled dormancy.

I blessed your sown seeds

with water, time, heat and light.

now I await,

I anticipate,

I watch for the opening of your blossoms

and the development of your fruits.