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.
“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.
“’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. https://www.francisweller.net/ 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.
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.
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.
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 http://yesmagazine.org. The Greater Good website http://Greater Good and others resources for wellness during this challenging time. Moreover dear colleagues Francis Weller, Wisdom Bridge http://www.wisdombridge.net/ and John Fox, Institute of Poetic Medicine https://www.poeticmedicine.org/ 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.
“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