Poems.  I don't mean the written word, but the seen, the heard, the felt.  I find them most often in the forest, for that is where Douglas fir, Mahonia, licorice fern, and Trillium live.  It's where wild ginger, chanterelles, singing birds, the scent of humus, and a thousand glorious shades of green live.  It's where life and death and love and all manner of magical unseen things live.  But I also find poems in my own back yard, crawling under piles of rotting leaves, inching their way up tree trunks, or dripping from the rain-filled gutter.  I feel them settling into my bones like a valley fog when I walk with the moon.  I can sometimes taste them, salty and wild like a coastal gale, and my heart becomes an ocean.


slow notes: 


Have you found these kinds of poems?  Maybe in the touch of the dog's nose on your cheek?  In the rhythmic ticking of an analog clock?  In the caw of the crows outside your window?  In the scent of the garlic you grew last year browning in a cast iron pan for tonight's dinner? 

I know that some may feel that there is no poetry in the world right now, and my heart is with you.  

Maybe today you are the poem.   



January was slow and quiet.  Its calm and nothingness felt so soothing after the busyness and social activities of the holidays.  The chance to decompress and go inward was deeply appreciated.  I inhaled soft silvery fog on long morning walks and spent  many  dark evenings with a book in my chair by the wood stove.  We took four trips to the coast, where winter's king tides luxuriated on our favorite stretch of sand.  High winds came to visit our town more than once, scattering gifts of soft mossy branches with each gust.  Clear blue skies and sunshine were often present, too, giving us a lovely balance of the natural forces.  We baked bread and made stews, deep cleaned and decluttered.  We had movie nights and music nights.  We bird-watched and book-browsed.  

As we now approach mid February, daffodil greens have pushed up through the sodden ground and the towhees are back in the camellias.  Trametes versicolor (turkey tail) is taking my breath away on trails by the river.  Buds swell on the end of branches in joyful rebirth.  Baby cleavers, so delicate and bright green, tell me that the wheel is turning.  I can hear spring gently journeying up through roots and rocks, whispering sweet promises of fragrance and color and things brand new.  

I can feel the lists of flowers I want to plant / vegetables I want to grow / projects I want to start all beginning to germinate in the back of my mind.  I dream of tomatoes, hollyhocks, suppers outside under the twinkling lights, bats swooping through the trees, and bare feet in touch with the earth once again.  But, for all of these stirrings, I'm not ready to part with beloved winter just yet.  That soft silvery fog is calling again today and I'll happily fade to grey once more for the chance to be wrapped in her magical spell.


slow notes:



Here we are about to welcome a new year (even though the calendar says that starts tonight, Solstice has come to feel more like the start of a new year, as it marks the start of the slow passage through darkness into light) and I think we're all ready for it.  It's been a rough year for many, perhaps for most, and I'm hoping 2022 holds better things for everyone.  

Last night was a night of very little sleep.  I laid in bed for hours, ears pricked to every sound, eyes wide open watching the wind in the tree branches just outside the bedroom window.  When I finally drifted off, I had strange dreams.  One was full of moths, toads, and an orange tabby kitten.  In another, I found a mountain of tiny bird eggs in varying intensities of blue resting in a large nook of a tree near the barn at my childhood home.  (Those blues again, like the snakes I dreamt of in May.)  A hole in the nook was a passage to the heart of the tree.  Are these dreams showing me grief and hope as the year winds down?  Danger and new beginnings?  Showing me where to find comfort or ways to let things go?  

I've been thinking about daily practices and what I give my time and attention to.  Someone gave me a beautiful nature journal a couple of years ago and I'm ashamed to say I never got started with it, but I've done nature journals in the past (given to me by that some wonderful someone) and it's a lovely, lovely way to walk through the world, observing the seasonal changes.  As they say, the more attention we give to something {nature}, the more sacred it becomes to us and the more we will do to ensure its care.  


slow notes:  

  • I shed some tears for more than one reason when reading this, at Terrain.org.   Orca rituals and celebrations - so beautiful.  "Have we reached it yet?  The point where we circle up and take turns, holding and pushing a collective grief?  The day we leave our denial behind and come up for air?  On this dimming horizon, with everything on the line, can a matriline rise?  Embracing a maternal instinct to protect lives beyond our individual fingerprints, willing to die in the process like the Chinook guarding their eggs? Can we gather like the J-Pod and hold what is precious—centered in moonlight—even as the moon moves?" - Christina Rivera Cogswell 
  • Speaking of moths, this, from the Aeon+Psyche newsletter. 


As far as intentions or goals, I think that mostly I'll just take one day at a time and do what feels right in the moment.  I'd like to keep my attention on the present and savor what is happening right now.  Despite damn COVID and heartbreak and tragedy (I don't want to diminish what has been lost, and some have lost so much), there are still sweet and wonderful moments and discoveries happening all the time in the world around us, and I hope we can see past the detritus and notice all we can.  

Wishing you peace, much love, wonder, joy, and good health in the year to come.  xx 

by mlekoshi