Wild Night (based on a true story)

Dear young lovers,

or perhaps not so young.

The nylon shroud of your tent was only sound-permeable, so I do not know

if the flesh that joined with such high verve and volume

was crinkled crepe, or wet whale sleek in youthful perfection.

What I do know is that your cries ricocheted from fir to spruce

and your unquiet murmurings pinkened the tips of my twitching ears.

The owls ran commentary on your display,

offering soft round vowels in bursts of breath and clenching their curved talons tighter to

the branch, lest the quake and thud of your flailing bodies

shake them loose.

I know that night-hungry coyotes threaded their high whines through yours,

and that one descended to the earthen trough where I lay.

Her musk was so forceful I was sure it would break your spell,

but even the crunch of toothpick rabbit bones and plaintive death squeals

were mere harmonies for your ragged tune.

Inside the womb of my tent, I gripped a cured sinew of burdock root in one hand,

and a cool cylinder of selenite in the other, a balance of heaven and earth

to anchor the meditation I couldn’t bear to begin-not with your mewling cries plucking at

the very thoughts I sought to braid into calm.

But even rabbits need sleep, the better to evade capture and breed another day,

and so at last you fell still.

My sleep, when you allowed it, was as wild as the waking.

I was up and hunting for bloodied tufts of rabbit fur before the dawn,

and stole a glance at your shaken tent, slumped and silent as a tombstone.

It’s midday now, and despite the sleep you stole, my wakened wild refuses rest.

Yes, even rabbits need sleep, but today, my weary darlings,

I am a coyote.

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“K” is for Knowing (and Kardashian)

A few years back, when I was charged with caring for my young niece and nephew in Hong Kong while my sister and brother-in-law jetted off for a dream vacation in Bhutan (#sisteroftheyearaward), I suffered some serious delusions. I thought that amidst shuttling them around to their various engagements, feeding them, and keeping them clean enough to prevent their teachers from sending them home, I would get caught up on my writing. I would read a read a literary classic or two. I would meditate by the windowed wall while inner peace and the distant skyline of downtown Hong Kong lit my face with a transcendent glow.  Alas. Continue reading

Unwritten

What do you call a blog post composed on a no to low-tech semester, from campgrounds and backcountry tent sites in the midst    of a job that takes 24/7 engagement, permits few comforts or private moments, and gives back the world? Unwritten. 

The obvious irony is that there are a hundred stories to tell each day, lessons upon lessons and breathtaking vistas but there’s Just. No. Time. No time for stringing together thoughts, and little access to the means of sharing them.

I find myself stealing away to snap early morning photos of campgrounds, wet moss, and more pictures of sunlight through cedar, through hemlock, through fir, than a person could possibly justify, yet I lack even the words to create the captions that would give them context. I’m living outside of time, in no time, and most of the time, it ain’t half bad.

 But then time returns and reminds me that it’s still passing, and carrying along with it all the dear loves I can’t reach out to from here. That’s when I feel the void of words, and so instead I take one more picture, measuring time in trees. 

An Adventure By Any Other Name

Earlier this summer, I went on an adventure with my friend, Bento, a Brazilian acupuncturist and student of arts both martial and spiritual.

bento

I took him to visit a meditation cave tucked away at an ashram in rural Vermont, then we went for one of my favorite hikes. Mt. Worcester is said to be inlaid with large inclusions of garnet in addition to the gorgeous swaths of snowy white quartz that adorn its higher reaches. Its Western face looks out over miles of emerald patchwork fields interlaced with quicksilver rivers and winding rural roads. On a good day, you can watch hawks ride the thermals that belly their wings for hours, and it was a good day, so we did. The ashram was sublime and powerful and the mountaintop a heaven, but it  wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Continue reading