Soul at Rest

Lay down like the snow
wet and peaceful
in this wintry March storm,
your heart calm
as the white blanket
dusting early spring flowers.
The urge to upset
roils like a river,
hollows us for a harvest
we rarely understand.
Resist that threshing
with the power of silence,
let your soul come to rest
with the gravity of snow.
We’re all connected
like evergreen branches
fed from below by dark wet roots
while reaching upward
toward the light.



photograph by Tim Petersen


Quietly Awake

After a night of rain
with clouds so dense
the full moon barely shown,
a gray morning
of dim light and showers;
tall evergreens stretch their limbs,
birds circle in the mist and quietly
the budding plum tree awakes.



photography by Louis MacKenzie


Unfasten the Lock

I see your struggle,
the weight etched
on your face
as you bear up
under the gravity
known only to you.
The world pulls
while you strive
to gain altitude,
clawing at the trap
set on the day
you were born.
Don’t bother
with confession
or aphorism,
just reach down
to the glint of metal
at the bottom
of your soul,
the remembrance
of who you are
clear and shining,
and with that key
unfasten the lock.



Grief by David L. Miller


Something Like Praise

With first light
the soul of the earth rises,
reaching through evergreen
and shy herds of deer,
silver cords of river fish
and human hearts
no longer sleeping.
The dome of the night sky
recedes to the west, leaving
the earth altar silent.
Quietly we come,
something like praise
a lilt in our voices,
gathering the stones
of what we’ve forgotten
in a cairn of remembrance
to mark the day
we chose to awake.




Shedding the Old Cloak

The plum trees signal
leave the cave,
their delicate pink buds
brave enough to face
the last winds of winter.
I have rested, gathering
strength from the dark,
the silence of root.
From the wet ground
new life slowly rises,
the comfort below
shed like an old cloak
for what waited unseen
with the colors of spring.



photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen


Across the Alvord

We scurried around
staying busy while winter
passed over the valley
and capped the mountains.
Warm air invited crows
to mass beside the river,
street people to flourish
in makeshift tents.
Even the rain let up
so no one complained
except a few old men
who remembered snow
and the way the great Columbia
used to flow from Canada.
They talked of beaver and wolf,
rivers filling the Coastal Range
and along the foothills of the Cascades
floods that stretched over miles
bearing silt from massive glaciers.
How fox would patrol the banks
and lynx screech unseen on the ridges.
The old men bagged groceries,
pumped gas for Costco
then with a grubstake
left for the Idaho
and across the Alvord
into the mountains of Nevada.
We won’t see them
until the snow gods return
when people tire of hot air
and pray once more for winter.



photograph @flaneur1874


Winter Rest

The weight of winter
blankets the mountains,
burying dark caverns
and rivers beneath blue ice.
The silence of snow
while the giant sleeps,
the only sound the crack
of a breaking branch.
Down in the valley
coils of wood smoke,
the restless cars
and persistent rain.
The Earth weaves her spell
as the fat bear snoozes,
vole and marten peeking out
from their snow covered dens.
Vast clouds stretch across the ocean,
covering the land, inviting us
to enjoy the winter rest.
There’s wood to split,
the brightness of fir logs
as they shine with inner light
and the slow cooking soup
lifting marrow into stock.
I sit by the fire,
something cooking in me,
giving myself to darkness
as the blanket of snow
stores in root
for the season to come.



photo @50shadesofpnw


Grandmother’s Blanket

Crow came by
bringing news of the forest,
of salmon asleep in branch water,
beaver at work in the creek flows
and rooted beneath the ancient trees
the peace of the earth gathered in pools
still and deep beyond measure.
Beside the old well
grandmother spreads her blanket,
her shells and stones laid out
in circular patterns,
her hands weaving stories
of what has been
and what will be
she softens with her teeth
for clothes we may wear
as we walk upon the earth.
Crow carries her heartbeat,
his black eyes and feathers
shaped by her in the long ago,
the messages he brings
reminders to be alert,
think of her beside the well
as we follow the great river
on our journey to the sea.



photograph by Edward Curtis


Soft Snoring Animal

Gray sweeping clouds
pass over the rain soaked land,
carrying ocean’s gift
to the high mountains.
Winter takes hold these long nights
while bear sleeps in his cave.
We carry on above ground,
displaying our flags
and assured opinions
as if what seems solid
will not pass in time’s river
or dissolve in the great sea.
For now I’ll join bear
with an eye to the moving clouds
and the star wheel when it appears,
letting my mind drift
with the soft snoring
of an animal
beneath the earth.




Lord of the Dance

Big drop rain and gray skies
settle over the land,
cold air and wet ground
bringing rest to the earth
in the deep sleep of winter.
Guides inform me
during blanket weather
in the shape of crows
and bare branch trees,
telling a story
older than time.
Bear dreams in his cave,
salmon come to life
in upland creeks and rivers
as the Old Ones shape a future
under the January moon.
I hold fast in the rushing water
of time and familiar faces,
letting care be taken
before speaking a word,
bowing to the Lord of the dance
then entering the flow.



photo by Shlag