Sunday, July 31, 2022


Ten years and more later,
walking without you,
there is a familiar loneliness, that
has always been mine, ten years of being alone
at the edge of aloneness,  a peaceful stillness,
a solitude that understands there will never 
again be you and me, the complete companionship
of two wild hearts.

At the river's edge, the dappled sunlight
plays across the water; the great trees
lean down. We walked here, so often,
together, your brown eyes gleaming,
nose to the ground, smelling all 
the wild smells, tail and ears up,
alert for scurryings in the bush.

Ten years ago, I dreamed of you.
You had been gone for more than a year.
You looked uncared for and sad.
You were missing me,
as I was missing you.

I am always missing you.

I carry you within, a big black wolf,
in my wild wolf-woman heart.
On nights when the moon is full,
we both give a long, silent howl.

Inspired by David Whyte's Ten Years Later. The italicized lines are his. Sharing at earthweal's open link.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

I Would Not Have Been a Poet....


I would not have been a poet except
when I was just turned fourteen, sitting
in my grade nine class, a poem
began writing itself in my head;
quickly, I wrote it down,
then sat back, amazed.

I would not have been a poet except
I have always been in love with blue sky
and trees, with lakes and rivers
and the shimmering sea,
and have tried to capture their beauty in words,
more or less unsuccessfully.
This hampered ability has
kept me writing poetry ever since,
thousands of poems,
by now,
all saying some version of
"this is all that I know of beauty
and most of what I know as joy."

I would not have been a poet except
I have had my heart broken, and have lost
everything that I had more than once,
have loved more than I have been loved,
except by a big black wolf, who showed me
how love was meant to be done
when two hearts love as one.

I would not have been a poet except
every morning, when I sit down at my desk,
even after all these years, the words still come,
singing my song of gratitude for that blue sky,
those ancient cedar, for the beautiful
non-human creatures that are the true wonders
of this world, and for pearly pink dawns
and amber sunsets that lift our eyes
up above the cacophony
of our noisy human day
to seek a higher path that will
lead us forward
in a better way.

Inspired by VII by Wendell Berry. The italicized lines are his.

Monday, July 25, 2022



Between bombs falling and wildfires burning,
grain not getting to market and people hungering,
midst floods and storms and distressing shootings,
as we catapult ourselves into a fiery future,
lie the moments of our lives: the sweet slow waking,
on a West Coast summer morning, to blue sky,
the memory of standing, late last night, star-gazing,
the waves calling me forth with their forever siren song.
The tiniest wildflowers poking from rocky cliffs
are whispering: sometimes you have to just hold on.

There is an apple orchard in my heart,
incongruously, as I live beside the sea.
My childhood resides there, underneath
the blossoms, full of dreams
that did not include all I have come to see,
or how this long, surprising journey
fashioned me.

It is the sacred glimmers that have drawn me forth:
sunrises, sunsets and the glimmering sea,
forests of ancient cedar, dusk and dawn,
the way each early morning smiles "trek on!"

These sacred glimmers are still shining here
as we hobnob our hectic way along,
still flying, driving, consuming desperately,
humming our frantic, existential song,
the only earthly species that does not understand
that we belong.

I am nearing the end of the journey
at the end of the road
with gratitude for every shining
glimmer life bestowed.
I would like my casket woven of seagrass
so that I can all the more quickly pass
into the welcoming, mothering,
nurturing earth, the better to have
a swift transition,
and a swift rebirth.

for Brendan at earthweal: Sacred Glimmers

Saturday, July 23, 2022



The search for home began in childhood.
White picket fences, milk bottles on doorsteps,
safe imagined domesticity,
made her cry.
As a young unhappy wife, she walked
city streets by the hour,
after dark,
looking in at the warmly-lit rooms
of others.
She still remembers a young woman
reading a book, looking up, smiling,
as a young man brought her a cup of tea.
Her wonderment, that such a life could be.

As a single mom of four, she pushed
baby buggies up and down country roads,
kibitzing women hanging washing
on the line, men washing their cars.
The dinner hour,
with all the fathers coming home,
was a hard time of day at first, until
she realized she was happier
and laughed more when it was
just her and the kids.

Finally, she managed
a home of her own - a run-down trailer
in a trailer park,
a total fixer-upper.
She rolled up her sleeves
and made it home.
By then she was joyously walking beaches
and forest trails.
It had taken half her life,
but she didn't have to
walk past rows of
other peoples' houses
any more.

Friday, July 22, 2022



Wickaninnish Beach Sun Dog
(the driftwood looks like a wolf to me)

When sun dogs dance across the sky,
the sacred prophecy is at hand,
as the Children of the Rainbow
begin to walk across the land.

Hush, now, and listen;
the Grandmothers are speaking:

"Like a new-born, wobbly foal,
you're trying to find your skittery legs,
in a time of great change
as land and waters re-arrange.
You'll feel the wobble in the earth,
turmoil in the land and sea.
As our Mother Earth gives birth,
we'll learn a balanced way to be."

The people of the Rainbow
were born seeing with new eyes.
May those ready to awaken
hear our Mother's painful cries.

"Getting More must now give way
to sharing All with All.
We must return to the Old Ways,
let polluted systems fall.
There will be turmoil in the turning.
Trust those with kindness in their eyes.
They are cool water to ease the burning.
They are the Messengers, so wise."

Mother Earth, I feel you quickening
as the new world is a-borning,
like a shape-shifter, transforming,
response to evolution's dawning.

"In the time of whirling rainbows,
dance your prayers under the sky.
Hear the song of Brother Wolf,
fate of the wild world in his cry.

"Sing songs of love and peace.
Watch for a rainbow 'round the sun.
When sun dogs dance across the sky,
the Fifth World of Peace will have begun.

A'ho. Now we have spoken."

Thank you, Grandmothers,
for this hope and trust.
We will help the people change,
because change we must.
We will sing with the wolves
our song of tomorrow,
work to heal the planet's people
and the earth its sorrow.

To the Navajo and the Hopi, the Prophecy of the Whirling Rainbow speaks of Ancestors who will return in white bodies, but who are Red on the inside. They will learn to walk the Earth Mother in balance again. The generation following the Flower Children are prophesied to be the ones who will see the dawning of the Fifth World of Peace.

An older poem to share with earthweal's open link.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

The New Normal


There is cloud cover, this morning, as on
so many mornings this summer - better than
the heat which is setting towns and cities ablaze
across the world. Would we ever have dreamed
the world would be in such distress this soon,
with politicians setting target dates farther
and farther away, hoping it becomes
someone else's problem?
Now you are getting used to things
you never expected - the "new normal",
and it isn't normal at all.

Uvalde, a shooter at a 4th of July day parade,
rockets bombing civilians and towns into rubble,
poles melting, animals starving, people dying
of heat, from floods, from drought and famine.

But yesterday I went to the local animal rescue
and volunteered. I met a diffident white wolf
whose trust has been broken a time or two.
I looked into his wolfy eyes. He doesn't know
what truly belonging somewhere even means.
I will go back and walk him. I will hope
his forever person finds him and teaches
his watchful brown eyes to shine.

There is a bird that can only be heard
by someone who has come to be alone.
That someone is me, content in my silent rooms,
my silent life, ears tuned for birdcall
and ocean roar. Grateful that this moment
is peaceful, and Enough, and knowing
all too well, watching the news, that,
at any moment, everything I am used to
and take for granted
can be gone.

Inspired by Into the Mystery by Tony Hoagland - the italicized words are his.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

It's the Smallest Things

It's the smallest things.....
after days of overcast skies,  
it's blue and cloudless overhead.
I go out first thing to take
sips of water to the flowering pots,
then open the windows to 
the cool morning air against
the heat of the day.

It's my cup of morning tea,
a ritual of 50 years, watching it steep.
Over 18,000 teabags in a lifetime.
Twinings are best.

It's smiling at people going past
with their dogs, knowing tomorrow
I am going to help at the local rescue,
and will meet all the critters.
It's walking into town where my eyes
bless the shops, the water, the small
bouncing boats, and the rounded
womanly slopes of Wah'nah'juss.

It's the smallest things that bring us
comfort in life - keeping our eyes open
to the beauty and the wonder,
even though we know 
about the climate crisis, 
we keep up with the news,
and so much of it is bad. We know
what we know, and it is hard to bear.
But, for now, there is no
state of emergency, and we know
only too well, one day we might be looking back
thinking how much we 
took that for granted-
ordinary days.

We fall back on the beauty, the cups
of strong tea, the small things that
comprise the goodness of life,
ours still to enjoy with gratitude
that I woke up still alive,
for eyes that opened this morning
that still can see, for knees that ache
but will still get me into town,
for the beach calling to me
with its siren song
in this place where I the most

for it all -
the things we thought so small
are the big things, after all.

Inspired by Laurie Wagner's "It's the Smallest Things". Different for each one of us,  the Lego blocks that build our lives.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Wings of Thunder


Migrating birds at Great Salt Lake
Audubon image

Great Salt Lake, Utah, drying up
in drought, 2022 image

A mega-drought is choking the southwest.
The Great Salt Lake is drying up. Yet the birds
with wings of thunder still touch down,
ten million strong, as they have done for centuries:
shorebirds and sandhill cranes, dowichers, grebes,
teals and snowy plovers, all singing
life's sweet song.

They crowd into what lake is left
along the widening shore, hungry
climate refugees in need of food and rest,
not finding enough of either, searching
in vain for more. 

And yet they come, because they must,
as they have down all the years, in trust,
that there will be some of what they 
most depend upon,
before they can fly on.

The shores are dry and cracked; heat holds
the desert in its grip. And yet, the blue bowl
of sky still arches over; a tender coloured slip
that reassures there is still wonder here.
At the edge of death,
heartbreaking beauty
is still shining
sharp and clear.

Sunrises and sunsets still paint the world
in wonder. This place has always
welcomed the birds with wings of thunder.
Juniper, aspen and cottonwood roots reach deep,
as if in prayer, stretching down in hopes
of finding some needed moisture there.
Sweet William and Indian paintbrush
still dot the dusty sand. 
All creatures pray
we humans will awaken from our sleep,
while there's still time enough
to heal the land.

Gary Crandall photo

In Utah, the Great Salt Lake is drying up; it is now one-third of what it was. This is devastating to the annual bird migration, millions of birds who depend on the lake for food and rest. They feed on brine shrimp and plants which can only survive in the water. Thus, millions of birds are now competing for the small area that remains. 83% of Utah is experiencing extreme drought. Scientists warn that as the lake recedes, it leaves behind a bed of toxic dust filled with arsenic, an environmental apocalypse.

State legislator Joel Ferry calls it "a potential environmental nuclear bomb." He says the area is at the precipice of environmental collapse. Water for humans will be gone by 2040 if nothing is done. But officials are reluctant to do anything,  placing the current needs of population growth and agriculture ahead of these dire warnings. Not very forward-looking, which seems to be one of human nature's most glaring faults.

Sigh. I grow weary. Yet as Brendan says, we must keep singing, like the canary in the mine.

for my prompt at earthweal : In the Wake of Progress,  based on the stunning photography of Edward Burtynsky.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

9 Things About July 16, 2022


1.     The rain washed most of the dust and pollen off the car, so I can put off washing it a while longer.

2.     The tourists are all sitting indoors by electric fires; the locals are walking their dogs on the beach. We're used to rain. You can tell the tourists from the locals - they wear matching expensive all-weather gear. The locals wear worn and shabby clothing, and big smiles, because we get to live here all year round, and the tourists pay thousands of dollars for just a few days.

3.     A wildfire is burning in Lytton, the town that burned to the ground last year.

4.    A small finch is sitting on the hydro wire, surveying the morning.

5.     The Great Salt Lake in the U.S. has dried to a parched sandy desert. They say tens of thousands of birds who depend on it for food and rest during migration will die.

6.     The potted blooms out front are soggy and rain-soaked; they droop. They need sun. But, just like us, they do their best under current conditions. They were planted; their mandate is to grow.

7.     The days move slowly and peacefully. The weeks speed by. I grow older every day.

8.     I have a To Procrastinate list that I know by heart: memoir, clean the pantry, wash the car, tie up some essential loose ends. Each day I move the list to tomorrow.

9.     As the world grows more clamorous, I grow quieter and quieter. I Become the Observer. I have given up insisting humanity do better; it will do as it will. My grief for Mother Earth and her non-human creatures is an ache that never leaves.

Inspired by 9 Surprising Things Worth More Than This Shimmering Metal by Hannah V. Norman.

Friday, July 15, 2022



Song of the river wild,
Song of the rapids leaping
Through the chiseled rock-walled chasm
Green with weeping,
A plunging torrent
To the ocean seeping.

Song of the sea-green foam
Song of the white froth dancing
Sun-dappled baby wave-tops prancing
In the sunshine, all my dreams

Song of the green rock wall,
A vessel for the river's journey,
Guiding the flow along the channel churning
To the ocean and as it's

Song of the tall green trees
Rootbound and stoic in the deep crevasses
Rooted in bedrock holding up the mountain,
Sentinels for every year
that passes.

Song of the laughing brook
Below the rapids green, swirling and babbling
Huge salmon leap,
Fall back in shallows dabbling,
Plunge forth to lunge again,
Leaping and scrabbling.

Song of the river wild,
You sing my tattered soul a new song,
Bless the silver beauty of this new day,
Make me know the path I'm on
Is not wrong.

Song of the seasoned soul
That knows the underlying message
Of the river:
Flow with me,
Not against me as we journey;
Travel lightly,
Not a taker,
But a giver.

An old one from 2002, written about Stamp Falls, the wildest place I could find to take Pup in the years we lived in Port. In fall, the most amazing salmon migration happens there, the fish making impossible leaps up the rocky rapids. Breathtaking. Sharing with earthweal's open link.

Things I Always Knew I Loved


I didn't know, in 1956, lying in the hammock
in my grandmother's back yard, how much I'd love
that small yellow cottage all the years of my life,
how I'd remember being wakened every morning
by the slap of water against the bedroom wall
as she watered everything down against
the heat of the day, the canvas awnings pulled down
like sleepy eyelids on the two front windows.
I didn't know how I would still smell, in memory,
her roses and sweet peas and pinks - how I would 
look for pinks to plant in every nursery 
in my elder years and never find them.

I always knew I love the sky, that arc of blue
I gaze at so many times a day: mornings,
when the world is new, afternoons, when the light
turns the trees to amber. I have always loved
sunsets, but am now too tired to get to many;
how they shine in memory. I always knew
that I loved rivers, walking Stamp Falls with Pup
so many afternoons. He would lie in the yard
up by the fence where he could keep watch.
When he heard me take the lid off my lipstick,
he would run to me barking, excited, frantic.
He knew I put my lipstick on before we went out.

I always knew I love forests. At twelve, I biked
far into the country, parked my bike, climbed 
the hot, pine needle-strewn slopes, redolent 
with sage and Ponderosa pine. I drank from
irrigation trestles, wet down my blouse to cool
myself, walked back down the soft needley slopes
singing, once followed by a herd of cows
who must have thought I was taking them
to the barn. Their eyes as I cycled away -
no barn, no hay. They dropped their heads
into the grass, resigned and chewing.

I didn't know, back then, how much
they'd come to mean - my mom and her siblings,
who were so beautiful and tragically unhappy,
struggling through their lives, yet
emerging through the front door of Grandma's cottage
in the home video, with big smiles -
impossibly sophisticated in my 12-year-old eyes.
Golden, now, in memory, old unhappiness
forgotten - only their smiles remaining.

Inspired by "Things I Didn't Know I Loved" by Nazim Hikmet. I have always been aware of what I do love - the beauty of the natural world. So I went more in that direction.

Today's Sermon


The International Fund for Animal Welfare

Today's sermon is a world
that has turned away from the path -
the dream now a nightmare,
bombs falling on civilians, shooters with
assault rifles at a Fourth of July parade.
Today's sermon shakes its head;
its heart hurts. We are meant to be
better than this, it says, as it
turns off the news.

Today's sermon is the terrified dogs
in Ukraine, trembling as the bombs fall,
starving, looking for food and a safe place
in this unimaginable hell.
Today's sermon is the few brave people
who stayed, who opened rescues,
and are trying to save
as many as they can.

Who ever dreamed a planet at war
and in turmoil? God gave us a garden.
And now it is bleeding. Because of us.

Today's sermon is geraniums and petunias
not doing well in their pots. The weather
has been spotty, sometimes too hot, mostly
not enough sun. The soil must not be rich.
Yet they grow bravely, in spite of falling
petals and shriveled-up buds. They have
no choice. They were planted; the message
is to grow.

Today's sermon is an overcast sky and
a tired old woman, growing ever more silent.
She Becomes the Observer. No more
does she believe the transformation
of consciousness will come in time.
A sunny optimist has become a fatalist.
Humans learn the hard way.
It was ever thus. 

Today's sermon is the last three reports   
on the morning news: the Great Salt Lake
is almost completely dry due to drought,
and tens of thousands of birds
who depend on it as a feeding ground
will die during their migration.
There is flooding in Virginia,
and a wildfire in a forest
of Sequoias.

What is a poor human to do
with this knowledge? She can write
a poem. She can turn off the news
and walk on the beach, where
the song of the waves will ease
her worried mind. She can remember
standing in the redwoods as a child,
those gigantic trunks, with her parents,
whose beauty and pain and struggles
haunt her still.

Inspired by Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner, where the poem was "Today's Sermon Is" by Cheryl Dumesil. Shared with earthweal's open link.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Nine Things on a July Morning


This is the first July that I am 76.

The weather goes from cool to hot, then back again. I stay in when it rains.

Mornings are my favourite time, until I turn on the news. Bedtime is my next favourite, when I finally get to lie back down.

Sometimes I go a whole day without saying a word out loud. When the phone rings, I wonder if my voice will still know how to work.

I carry treats in my pockets for dogs. Some of them drag their owners to me when they see me coming. Some of them don't want to walk on, after. One even sat down and refused. I have been yelped at by dogs who know me  from passing cars. Better than being whistled at when  I was young. Dogs make me happy.

What do I say about the state of the world? Humanity has lost its way. I can only pray we find it again,
but suspect we will only do so when forced by dire consequences.

The beauty of the wild world, and the way every being goes about living gives me hope. My heart is full of wild creatures, old growth forests and the beach. The song of the earth lulls me to sleep.

The past moves across my mind like a movie screen. I writhe at how unawakened I was for so long a time.

Now I know too much for my mind to be at rest. But my body and spirit move through peaceful days; my heart has what it needs for happiness. Especially if I add a dog!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

What Do The Critters Say?


Herring in the bay

At two a.m., hooty-owl calls from Centennial Park,
eerie in the fog; Mr. Bear pounds in frustration
on the garbage can lid. He can smell salmon skin
and he hasn't had a square meal in a while.
The lonely husky, confined to a porch across the street
sends his mournful howl
over the fence which blocks his view.

Up the inlet, from the floathouse, she hears
a family of wolves on the shore. The babies
thrust their small noses up and howl their first howls.
She shivers with delight. Hummers perch
on the tie-line; River Otter loudly crunches
his crab dinner just under the deck.
Two porpoises pass her kayak at dawn, on water
as calm as glass. She watches, not breathing,
as an eagle passes slowly above a family
of baby ducks. Their number decreases
by the day.

A million small, important lives
go on living, everywhere.
Tide pools harbour
small pockets of life along the rocky cliffs.
Mussels click in the thousands
on rounded stoney slopes.
 Oysters grow incrementally in the farm
across the way.
Herring dimple the water's surface
atop the rounded bay. 

So much life is throbbing all around us. 
The beautiful wild world sings.
Their message is clear
to we who are listening:
To Life! they cry, and carry on
living, as our disconnected, entitled, 
noisy species makes of our survival
a dismal thing.
May we learn from earth's creatures
a wilder, truer and
far more worthy
song to sing.

for earthweal: An Ear for Wild Language

The first stanza is what I hear in town. The "she" is my friend who lives in a floathouse a 40 minute boat ride up the inlet. She leads a charmed life among all the wild critters. She hears their voices all around her, all the time. They sing the song of life.

Saturday, July 9, 2022



The dogs of Mariupol look at us
with questions in their eyes.
As the bombs fall, they quake
in terror, but can find
no safe place.

The women protectors cannot stop
the bombs; they come non-stop.
But they give food and love,
and reassurance. They say,
"We will not abandon you.
We will not turn away.
We will be your light,
your warmth,
your comfort.
Our fates will rise and fall

On facebook this morning I saw this video about two women in Ukraine who are caring for the terrified abandoned dogs who are victims of the war. They are saving the dogs, and say the dogs are saving them. As dogs do.

If you wish to donate, you can etransfer, or use paypal, to

Shelter Friend is a non profit. For more info go to this link on facebook:

As always, it is the animals who have my heart in these human-caused situations under which they suffer, struggling to survive.

For Carrie at The Sunday Muse

Monday, July 4, 2022



So still, I can hear the timpani
of raindrops falling on salal,
almost detect the slimy progress
of the lowly slug, inching across
the forest trail.
The stillness here is audible: quiet
as a church, the rustling of leaves
akin to the sound of womens' gowns
as they stand and kneel
along the pews.

There be spirits here: an entire whale
that washed up years ago
lies under the forest floor, now covered
by several feet of blanketing green growth,
a land-locked being
imprinted with the sea.
I pause in reverence
at the silencing of its song.

The westerly blows in: treetops dance.
One looks like a clump of broccoli;
it sways and bends, perhaps
more like an ancient gentleman
practicing Tai Chi.

So many small sounds under the stillness,
when one shuts off thought, sound
and distraction and focuses to hear:
the sound of life, growing in its
many guises: creeping slug,
salmonberries ripening, murrelet
winging its way to its mossy nest,
a hummingbird's soft whir. The sound 
of my footfall snaps a twig,
and all creatures pause,
ears and leaves and branches
turned my way.

"I come in peace," I say,
and, more gently, now,
continue on my way.

for earthweal: Wild Stillness

Friday, July 1, 2022



I am a lover of the blue sky.
Perfect clouds
like a dream sail by;
of a green walk in the wild wood;
of tall trees dripping on me
where I stood;
of mist rising up where the river bends;
of the small sweet song
of a striped-headed wren.

I am a lover of the burning flame
lit for world peace
in hearts the same.
I am a lover of the morning sun,
already radiant the day begun.
I am a lover of the whale, leaping,
of the blue, blue hills
in the sunset sleeping.
I am a lover of the eagle's cry,
who sweeps and soars
without a Why.
I am a lover of life alone,
of the heart's peace
when it's at home.

I am a lover
of my old dog's smile,
of his warm brown eyes,
of his lack of guile.

I am a lover of the warm spring rain,
of the smell of earth stirring
to life again.
I am a lover of the ocean's roar,
of the sandy beach stretching all before.
I am a lover of rock and log,
of driftwood shapes
looming through the fog.
I am a lover of clouds, of stars,
of the falling dark, of soft guitars,
of the meadowlark,
of the summer breeze,
of days of struggle, days of ease,
of heartfelt love
gone away too soon,
of goodbyes
under a slice of moon.

I am a lover of fresh-cut grass,
of children's laughter,
of dogs I pass, of babies all
innocence and rapture,
of the bent and aged who tremble after,
of the falling leaves,
of a job well done,
and I am a lover of beasts that run,
of water that moves
and creates its own way,
of the journey made
and the price I pay.

I am a lover of brand new books,
those journeys that
I never took.
I am a lover of music that sings
songs of the heart, the hope it brings,
and the flight of poems
for a brand new dawn
that knows this life
is Moving On.

Like the heron, stalk-still
at the water's edge,
makes a sudden leap,
I am the same.
Poised to dive from a tilting ledge,
the horizon lit with a golden flame,
I'm waiting
to hear Someone
call my name.

An old one, written in 2002. Sharing with earthweal's open link