Penguins, Color Lines

With gratitude to TheNewVerse.News for publishing a poem today that emerged from a virtual Willamette Writers Resilience workshop with Claudia F. Saleeby Savage.   The New Verse News presents politically progressive poetry on current events and topical issues.

See Saturday, August 8, 2020 6:00 AM:

Activist Janaya Khan, explores equity and inclusion, learning from penguins.

Day out of Time

Black Bear Eating Dandelions in July

“According to the Mayan galactic calendar,” Stephanie Austin writes, “July 25th is The Day out of Time, marking the end of a yearly cycle and the beginning of a new one. Similar to a new moon and a new year, this is an excellent time to reflect on how far we have come, to express our gratitude for what we have, and to set new intentions.”

These days bears have been visiting in my dreams. I have seen bears in the wild in Alaska, the Teton & Beartooth Wilderness areas, and on the Yakima Indian Reservation. Brown Bears, Grizzly Bear, and Black Bears. The most recent was when we heard snuffling in some thickets, and a young bear emerged with black berry juice on it’s chin.

Now I have a couple of bear paintings that emerged this summer inspired by a line up of hand sewn teddy bears that my father created in his retirement. My little bear painting accompanied by one of my father’s hand sewn Teddy Bears may be found in the The CAVE gallery Art in the time of quarantine…. bears honoring my father and all those who have crossed over.

Bears show up in the West for me on the medicine wheel, a place of mid-life, late summer to autumnal time.    A deep time of honoring, listening, taking in salmon, black berries and honey for healing & sustenance in the midst of global trauma.  May we find time to care for ourselves as we care for the world.

Scorpio Full Moon, May 2020

Black-faced ibis

“’Where there is sorrow,’ wrote Oscar Wilde, ‘there is holy ground.’…  [grief] enables us to walk in this world with its realities of life and death, how it shakes us and breaks us open to depths of soul we could not imagine. Grief offers a wild alchemy that transmutes suffering into fertile ground.” — Francis Weller

Francis Weller’s book The Wild Edge of Sorrow is on my studio bookshelf, the spine slightly sticking out of the line of books.    I am grateful to have known Francis Weller as a friend, colleague and mentor for nearly a decade now. As a poet and writer, this early winter through spring has been one of witnessing and accompanying others in the incredible journey of grief and loss.   Of listening to the deepest places, which is the path of poetry.

Happy news in the midst of grief: Before the Sun Rises is a Nautilus Silver award winner in poetry —  announced publicly this week:

Black Swan at Salmon Creek, Shelter in Poems

Photograph by Paul Downs, Salmon Creek, 2020

This Black Swan (native to Southern Australia) has been seen along Salmon Creek trail. May you find shelter in winged ones and poems, needed medicine for our spirits.

The Academy of American Poets has a new Spring project entitled “Shelter in Poems.” I am honored that an edited piece of my short reflection was included in their first post. As we enter National Poetry Month, may you have time to read and hear many poems that bring you courage, inspiration and hope for the journey.

Unexpected Snow

In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.
— Howard Thurman

“Fasten your spiritual seat belt”  – Stephanie Austin, Port Townsend, WA astrologer, often writes.

The last two mornings, unexpected snow! Flowering plum, daffodils, crocus, and early Spring flowers are already blooming.  A few deer in the yard eating birdseed out of the bird feeder and off the ground along with the Varied Thrush, song birds, squirrels and rabbits.

Each day of this global crisis I return to my perennial reminders to myself and others — now is a time for each one of us to access our spiritual and wellness practices, creative and gratitude practices, mindfulness and meditation practices.  From these centering practices we bend to offer extra compassion, lovingkindness and care to ourselves (in every aspect of our lives) and to those around us.  To remember our North Star, our compass, our guiding light. 

Many are reaching out to offer support and care in the midst of this pandemic. Grateful to be in conversation with poets, writers and activists at AWP, with on-going conversations about how we care for ourselves and others:

There are many new on-line resources for poets, writers and community activists as well as those seeking connections. Look for invitations from YES! magazine to join in online conversations about solutions arising in your community and family, and to share ideas with others The Greater Good website http://Greater Good and others resources for wellness during this challenging time. Moreover dear colleagues Francis Weller, Wisdom Bridge and John Fox, Institute of Poetic Medicine share much wisdom.

May we take extra time to be in the natural world, to listen to the deer, the Spring migration of wild birds, the animals who gather in our yard.   In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear…

The deer arrived and the birds start singing before first light… may we keep them singing in our hearts.  

Leap Day, 2020

Un Río, Muchas Voces

One River, Many Voices,  Clark County confluence:

“The Columbia River is the fourth largest river in the continental United States. Seven hundred seventy-one (771) of its 1,243 miles flow through the State of Washington, descending south from the Canadian Rockies and eventually turning westward to create much of the border between Washington and Oregon. For millennia, Native peoples have called its banks home, developing a way of life in sync with the river’s energy, beauty and power. The path of the river represents a confluence of waters, of memory, of languages and ways of life, of human exploration and exploitation, of ecological upheaval, and of change and possibility.”

– Claudia Castro Luna, Washington State Poet Laureate

Imbolc 2020

Imbolc is the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.

With heavy rain in the Pacific Northwest, and heavy sorrow in the world,

we turn to the beauty of the Trilliums and Snowdrops

emerging through the rain-soaked earth, the Varied Thrush

reminding us it still may snow, and the enormous flocks of geese and waterfowl

beginning new migration patterns.

This midpoint of winter is a time to step into our intentions,

offer art and poetry, compassion and kindness in our troubled world.

With much gratitude for a Winter 2020 Centrum Artist Residency.

Winter Solstice 2019

Trumpeter Swans (photo courtesy of Holly Kuchera)

Que la paz y belleza de la estación brille, brille en tu corazon.
This Winter there is much turmoil and sorrow in the world, and much beauty, lovingkindness and joy.  
May you…
“Wing your way through
the sorrow,
lift your wings in gratitude.”*
— from Before the Sun Rises, p. 23. Gwendolyn Morgan©
Homebound Publications, 2019

May the peace and beauty of the season shine brightly in your heart.
May your candle of hope illuminate the spaces around you. 
May you speak up for those whose voices have been silenced, care for those who are suffering. 
May you be inspired by the beauty of the natural world, and held in love.