Mar 6, 2022
Needing to be
From any store.
To lift something
You already had
And set it down in
A new place.
What does that do to
The old blood moving through
~ Naomi Shihab Nye
Dear Poetry of Nature Friends, Greetings! I hope this letter finds you all well. There’s much going on, on our beloved Earth. How is late winter informing your life? Despite freezing temps, in my mind hovers a haunting image of Spring unmasked. This week I found a Mourning Dove feather inked with delicate ice kanjis. This tells me the molting season of birds is here. They’re donning their spring flair and finery in preparation for breeding and bringing the next generation into Being. Just this morning I found myself lifted and carried away on the jaunty “conk la ree” of a male redwing blackbird. What are you noticing about your neck of the woods? What do the plants and trees whisper to you? What are you noticing about the birds and animals? What does the weather tell you? What are your body, mind, and senses conveying about late winter? For me, in this season Naomi Shihab Nye’s marvelous poem “Fresh” comes to heart and mind. In such a few words Nye packs powerful images. “To move / cleanly”, “Wanting nothing”, “And set it down in / A new place”, “Awakened eye / Seeing freshly”. I breathe into my heart, her question: What does that do to The old blood moving through Its channels? I invite you to breathe it in too. Rest here in openness, receptivity, and curiosity. Spend some time listening deeply to your heart.
Fresh Free Write For this prompt, I invite you to try a free write to Nye’s question. A free write is a lovely way to bypass your inner censor. To do a free write, grab your journal, set your timer for ten minutes, and just write. Don’t let your hand stop moving. If you don’t know what to say, keep writing, “I don’t know what to say.” Muses adore that! Please refrain from editing your free write. This is pure stream of consciousness. And it’s just for you. No one else ever has to see what you’ve written. When you’re complete, you can set aside your free write to marinate for a time. I invite you to practice openness, and receptivity. How does fresh show up for you? When you feel ready, return to your free write. Notice what wants your attention. Are there any words or lines that stand out? Any images or feelings? What is speaking to you? Let this inform your poem. I’ll share a bit from my free write- … I feel I need to freshen my physical, mental, and metaphorical neck of the woods…fresh is about emerging from the much needed quiet and stillness of winter. It’s about turning up my inner light…I am the trees waking from their much-needed rest, I am freshly rising sap, moving through my channels. I am Mourning Dove in flight. I am the freshness that rain brings. I am crocus and daffodils celebrating. I am being given a clean start, a fresh slate. I am Spring unmasked. * * *
Mourning Dove in flight * * *
Check in - How is the experiment going for you? Last month, I wrote about honoring your "turn around the sun" by being in relationship with Nature. I shared Nancy Wood’s poem about quiet time, and I invited you to begin your Nature practice by connecting with your breath and your “neck of the woods”. I offered a simple four-breath meditation that lets you connect with the ground of your being. You can do this breathing anywhere, anytime, and linger. We deserve this peace! We practiced openness, receptivity, curiosity, and deep listening by taking Nancy Wood’s quiet poem out to our Nature spot. On the offering of our breath, we shared her poem aloud with Nature. We listened. Geoff and I would love to hear from you! How did it go? What did you notice about how Nature responded to your offering? For me, I was met with deep peace. The profound stillness and silence of deep winter hugged me. I nestled into that. I felt that Nature had received my offering. The Poetry of Nature is an ongoing experiment! We want you to know there’s no right or wrong way to do these practices. You should always feel free to modify them to fit your needs and your energy. Right now, there are nearly 40 of us practicing, and observing our humble, beloved experiment of attuning to and being in relationship with Nature. Know that as an observer, your looking changes things! We can awaken and come together around this. And we can all learn and grow from each other’s experience and practices. Please feel free to share them in your private online community, or you can press reply to respond to Geoff and me directly. We look forward to hearing from you! * * *
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ~ Mary Oliver * * *
Nature Meditation Get thee to thy Nature spot! If you're unable to go there, please step out of doors. If unable to do this, use your beautiful imagination and place yourself in your favorite Nature spot. Once you've settled, close your eyes. Take long easy breaths in and out. Place your hand on your heart. Invite Nature to infuse and quicken you, until you feel completely filled. When you're ready, let Nature's energy radiate from you. Let it expand and envelope your Nature spot. Rest here in Nature's light and energy. Breathe. When you feel complete, open your eyes. Notice your surroundings. Do things look brighter? Different? If you feel a shift, notice that. What is it like to energetically connect with Nature? I invite you to muse on these questions. You could journal about them. Let them guide you in writing a poem about your energetic connection with Nature. Please carry this Nature Meditation into your day. Let her infuse your week. Let her light and energy inform your month. Like last month's breathwork, you can do this meditation anywhere and anytime. Before you read on, I invite you to practice this Nature Meditation right now. * * *
“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” ~ Theodore Roethke * * *
An Earth Song It's an earth song- and I've been waiting long For an earth song. It's a spring song! I've been waiting long For a spring song: Strong as the bursting of young buds, Strong as the shoots of a new plant, Strong as the coming of the first child From its mother's womb- An earth song! A body song! A spring song! And I've been waiting long For an earth song. ~ Langston Hughes
I love Hughes poem. It feels joyfully ecstatic. I appreciate his song, and keen noticing. I feel his yearning for spring, and I feel like "An Earth Song" fits with the vision I have right now of Spring unmasked. I love the shape of Hughes poem. He has put the signs of newness "out front": the bursting young buds, the shoots of a new plant, the coming of the first child from its mother's womb. Hughes' poem looks and it feels pregnant with his longing.
I Have Been Waiting For So Long If you haven't already, please practice the Nature Meditation. Once you’re complete, I invite you spend some time with "An Earth Song". Please read it aloud twice. I invite you to share the joy of “An Earth Song” with your friends, and family members. As we spring into March, what are you feeling in your environment, right now? Are you feeling a spring song? What have you been waiting for, waiting for so long? Use this sentence stem as a prompt, "And I've been waiting for so long..." to create your own poem. Please share your poem of longing, of waiting in your online community.
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Tiny, our resident Douglas Fir Squirrel * * *
Online Community And that reminds me to be sure and ask - because Geoff and I are not on social media, we’re looking for one or two people who would enjoy shepherding the online virtual community. This is where you can share your poems and Poetry of Nature experiences with like hearted folks. What would be most helpful is if you could please check in a couple times a week and respond thoughtfully to other’s poems and posts. You could resonate a word, line, image, or feeling to the poet. If this sounds like your cup of tea, please reply to this email, or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Geoff and are deeply grateful for your assistance. Please feel free to reach out to us! You can always share with Geoff and me via email. You'll find Geoff at email@example.com. We always look forward to hearing from you. * * *
"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems." ~ Rainier Maria Rilke * * *
Ponderings from Geoff: Dear PON Friends, Spring arrives on March 20. We’re seeing new green signs of its approach here in the Ozarks. I go forth to the woods on the hill behind our home and watch Venus fade into the blue dawn. The world-winds at dawn have secrets to tell--I tune up my senses to receive tidings of renascence, of rebirth. May the opening lines of this magnificent poem by Walt Whitman warmly invoke and invite your innocent open Child Spirit, your Awakened eye Seeing freshly as you go forth to your neck of the woods; as we draw near the threshold of spring: There was a child went forth everyday There was a child went forth every day, And the first object he looked upon and received with wonder or pity or love or dread, that object he became, And that object became part of him for the day. . . .or for many years or stretching cycles of years. The early lilacs became part of this child, And grass, and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phœbe-bird, And the March-born lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf, and the noisy brood of the barn-yard or by the mire of the pond-side . . and the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there . . . and the beautiful curious liquid . . and the water-plants with their graceful flat heads . . all became part of him. And the field-sprouts of April and May became part of him . . . . winter grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and of the esculent roots of the garden, And the apple trees covered with blossoms, and the fruit afterward . . . . and wood berries . . and the commonest weeds by the road… Please touch Mother Earth with love. With Love, Geoff * * *
Last month I was so glad to share with you the visitation of the male Pileated woodpecker. Each time I look out my window, I see his chiseling on the snag. Every day, I am reminded of his visit. His is a gift that keeps on giving. This month my husband was called to build a nesting platform for Robin. Once the huckleberries and dogwood seeds are gone, Robin leaves our neck of the woods. So, I’ve missed Robin since late last autumn. Right after admiring my husband's work, I went out to feed and water the birds. I heard Robin squeal and chuckle in the huckleberry thicket. I ran back to the garage to let my hubs know that his timing is perfect. Today I learned that Robin is one of the first birds to nest in Spring. As I look up from my computer Robin makes her first appearance! It is her gift of vitality and cheer that I share with you today. May your spring be fresh and resonant with miracles. NanLeah
The first Robin of spring
Poetic Medicine Circle – March 14th from 1-3 p.m. PT In our March 14 group, Geoff will facilitate a celebration of the Spring Equinox, which arrives on March 20. We'll begin with a guided attunement to heighten our receptivity and creativity, then share a responsive reading of the great Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) Thanksgiving Address. Finally, we'll dive into a writing exercise to further deepen and express the strong sense of gratitude for and connection with all life on the planet the Address was anciently designed to evoke. Then we'll share what we've written, amplifying that warm sense of connection and celebration, in the spirit of peace and goodwill to all.