Category Archives: nature

Spring!

Rain, a gentle one. My dog and I take a quick walk in between the drops.

It is officially Spring.

It’s rain not snow, after all. After all, I’ve been out on my deck several times in March. I watch for bulbs I planted in the fall to transform into irises and daffodils.
I watch for a less stiff and cranky Phebe. Being cold is my idea of hell. When summer comes and it’s hot, remind me I like heat better than cold.

Not writing as regularly as I prefer. Must, must, must make this a priority. Focusing on poetry, I am taking a class on poetry gathering ones I’ve written, making them stronger. When you can’t write, edit.

Yet creating is much more exciting! Worth the angst and dread of a blank computer screen.

Spring – creation!
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The creek spoke to me this morning

It’s Saturday morning. I’m retired, yes, but this still means something after thirty years of working with the public. The animal companions and I had a tough night: 4:00 a.m. a loud blast of thunder awoke me.

Winnie, the oldest dog, began shaking and pacing. I comforted her, put my slippers on, and went to the front door to grab Jasmine the cat who likes to spend summer nights outside. I got her in and she and Winnie and I sat on the upstairs love seat to wait out the thunder and lightning.

So, with my sleep interrupted, I awoke later than usual. While the coffee pot was creating my stimulant, I went out on the deck. Ahhh, how lovely it is after a good rain! And the creek…..

It is practically in my backyard. From the edge of the deck it can’t be more than 10-12 yards. The sound of the water coming around the arc and hitting the rocks is like no other. Scientists say the negative ions produced may boost our moods. This morning it did.

Here’s why it’s so especially important: for the past year I’ve been actively considering moving.

There are days when I sigh when I think of how much money I’ve sunk into this house. Lately, it’s Champion windows, a new heat pump and furnace work, the plumber….. I know I could live more cheaply. Yet….yet I have a pension (glorious karma!) and money to pay the mortgage plus take on the Champion Window loan. But my fireplace is unusable; let’s say I’d been using it a few winters until the chimney sweeper told me I was lucky I didn’t catch my house on fire! Why in August am I looking ahead to December?

I can be a worrier. A thinker but sometimes my thoughts turn to trying to solve things. Like my future. I will turn 65 next February. I think about aging especially when I don’t awake as refreshed as in my earlier decades. I’m a “young 64,” I’ve been told by many.

Back to the creek, that sweet creek. No one owns a creek. I side with the Native Americans’ philosophy of Mother Earth. Yet the County Auditor tells me the part behind my house is mine. Yes, I’ll claim those wondrous negative ions! Right now I hear the water telling me something clear and compelling: why would you think of leaving this place and not hearing the sound of the humble waterfall? For in this sound and nature’s activity lies truths I’ve searched for.

I’ll let Lao Tse, the founder of Taoism have the last word: “Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river.” For now I will be still and remember to watch that humble creek that lies right before me.

contemplating my “interior castle” on the first whole day of Spring

I try to sit here
quietly,
find my inner landscape,
that chamber in the castle,
the divine dwelling,
and all I hear is
a bird singing outside.
I know the grass is growing
one blade at a time
this first whole day of spring
but I don’t hear it,
only trust that
it is doing its work.
Am I doing mine?
And what is it
exactly?
I strain to remember.
The bird sings on,
oblivious to my question.
She is in synch
with the nature of things
as I sit on the side.

Only the birds and I

Only the birds and I
are awake now;
it is good.

Now I hear insects
singing in the trees
and from the leaves
that overhang the fence
and creek and really,
all around this
glorious backyard.

I cannot call it mine.
Someone else has
property rights
across the sweet creek,
a stone’s throw from my deck.

But the birds know about boundaries,
and I agree.
We know no one
owns a woods.
No one owns the sky.

the stone

I was attracted by the lines in this stone, especially the big white one which seems to have been drawn on . . . by a happening in nature, who knows what. That same line is lighter on its other side but its placement matches.
There is also an indentation on the more vivid white line side. I wonder how that got there and how many years it took? Maybe a fat animal – or person – stepped on it, maybe a tree fell over. This is one of the mysteries of my stone.
Funny how ownership just came into it. “My” after all! For just as no one owns a creek, no one owns a stone. I’ve heard crystals disappear and sometimes remove themselves from people. I’m fond of this stone even more, now that I touched it, held it in my hand. For it fits nicely, nearly the size of a quarter but with a shape more like an oval head. I like its smoothness, its comfort in my hand.
The stone is dark gray; it reminds me of obsidian though I don’t think it is. It’s actually quite humble, not flashy like some stones. It is what it is, no more. There’s a lesson here, to be sure. This makes the stone philosophical or emitting wisdom if only we will listen.

The Elephant Sanctuary and my poem about it

Why I cry for elephants

Sometimes I avoid that newsletter
until I get to the bottom of the stack.
Then I turn my attention to the sanctuary
for endangered elephants.

Tarra who forged an unlikely friendship with a dog.
When Bella was killed by a coyote,
Tarra carried her back to her people
who would know what to do.
After years living here, Tarra trusted.
They say Tarra still visits the little dog’s grave.

Training Lizzie to take pills for TB—
157 capsules in extra treats and Gatorade.

Rescuing Ramba all the way from Chile.
What love is so big it can circle a 6,000 pound elephant?

They say they let elephants be elephants.
The caretakers say they get back more than they give.
They’re here because of a calling;
they’re here to give to the Girls.
That’s what they call Tarra, Lizzie, and Ramba.

Ramba still does not trust human touch
but she is learning.
Now she can graze, swim, and roll in the mud.
Now she can be with her own kind,
just an elephant being natural
in the state of Tennessee.

After reading I realize
the sadness that started
is transformed to relief.
These elephants have found a home.
These fortunate ones get to be free
because of caretakers who wept, like me,
then gathered the hay, cleaned the barns,
led the school presentations–
people who believed
their sacrifice was worth it
for these amazing huge beings.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And what do elephants have to do with goddesses and the spiritual? I believe we are all connected, that nature is not something to be controlled, that human beings are not the dominant species wreaking havoc (though too often it’s true). I believe elephants are amazing and remind us of something bigger than ourselves (pun intended). I believe elephants do not exist for our entertainment. I believe we must make up for all the abuse and neglect already done.

So, although when I saw videos of Tarra and her dog companion Bella, I cried because it was so sweet. Then I cried because Bella got killed by coyotes. Then I cried because Tarra carried her friend of another species back to the humans to let them know. But after the good cry, I am content to know that the two got to befriend one another in this sanctuary. I laugh to see videos of elephants rolling in the mud, running in a field. This is good and I am lucky to see it for free, on the internet, in the comfort of my home. These caretakers of the girls (as they call their roles) are amazing human beings, dedicating so much time and effort for the elephants. The elephant is an amazing species. I like to think they remind us of our own amazing selves.

To find out more about this amazing sanctuary, go to http://www.elephants.com

Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see my mother

[This is a pantoum. If it seems like lines keep repeating themselves, they’re supposed to in a pantoum!]

Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see my mother.
She is gone now, passed into another dimension.
I heard her voice once when I was gardening.
Her wind chimes send messages when I least expect them.

She is gone now, passed into another dimension.
I inherited her cheekbones and stubborn disposition.
Her wind chimes send messages when I least expect them.
I hear, “relax – don’t worry – all will be well.”

I inherited her cheekbones and stubborn disposition.
She was fiery and often showed it.
I hear, “relax – don’t worry – all will be well.”
I am grateful for all she taught me.

She was fiery and often showed it.
I like those reminders when a breeze is blowing.
I am grateful for all she taught me.
Our lives so different; I learned from her.

I like those reminders when a breeze is blowing.
I heard her voice once when I was gardening.
Our lives so different; I learned from her.
Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see my mother.

Phebe

written in December in the poetry class led by Mary Pierce Brosmer at Women Writing for (a) Change