“Such Phenomena” – New Poetry

Rare snow this day– normally too warm for such phenomena.
Blood flows at last from my darkened places,
auspices of Winter’s night. Long travels.
Cramps loosen. We are not yet to the Land of Spring,
and I am not too eager for light’s exhausting dominion.
We know we sleep deeper still, time slows to observe inwardly
the Soul’s guiding lantern.
Footprints mark a path outside my small burrow;
Who comes to visit me now from you, Darkened Woods,
who are most beautiful.
The Lord’s beasts may visit our dreaming
and will lead us unto snow’s contemplations,
and to the heart’s spark of candle’d delighting,
and to the Visitor who is the face of the good night
Whose footprints draw nearer now
to my aching door.

Gentle J. Pine

Further journaled thoughts today:

Being sensitive is no joke: it means hearing every different type of music your apartment neighbors are playing and therein hearing and feeling precisely every different personality in physical proximity closely around you. It means being painfully intolerant of the smallest insincerity or manipulative lie when it would be easier to not feel or care, or to conspire therewith. Fatigue and Depression hound these good hearts of the Sensitive; it is nothing to mock and everything to respect. A Soul Guide, a Holy Teacher, a Truth Teller, an Underworld Guide, a true Elder, a Mentor to the Heart: all these are the ones whose baseline hyper awareness is ultimately empowered into a rare gift to The World. They learn to concentrate their gift into deep power and truth, without being overwhelmed by the massive, life-giving intensity within.

Dreams of Two Spirits

On a different night I met her whom I saw die bloodily, as I did not want to see, but how she threatened me, and what spirit stood over her to vanquish her too much I angrily don’t know but that I was floating there with it, gone from her violence against me, but witnessing her own self-brought destruction? What Question mark is appropriate when you face Wicked Chaos in the shape of a known face, and I have dreamt often, too often of female demons, terrible and manipulative and overwhelming as their insanity. She was cleaved in two halves, I saw her perish, vertically and what was inside was a mortal form as my own, and what was lost was unknown.

She appeared to me as if she were a priestess and I were welcomed back into her holy fold after expulsion. At last. But I did not adore her as if she were mighty. She was a beast who became lost in a human’s body, and could not grapple stably with the terror of human awakening, and she grasped for the watery depths of the dark earth where, in a room of well-lit and comforting candles, we spoke together and stood and rejoiced on a cob floor in creaturely dancing under festival lights strung for us, celebrating reunion. It had been a long time since I had seen her, since she left into anger and took no-speech as her feral tongue. She couldn’t go back, now. And I knew that I may have beheld in her only a shell that bore a rare spirit, visiting, as strange as our first meeting, stranger than the blue depths of her vanishing back again.

A Sabertooth Presence of Mind

Something I really, really struggle with is changing my focus from one thing to the next. I am an obsessive, hyper-intense thinker and producer of human words; corraling my fire-active mind to the side while I try to do calm things is like trying to shove a sabertooth tiger into a kitten carrier. I see the humor here and my need for self-compassion while I grapple with this, but I also worry about how it affects the animals I work with when my human mind won’t shut up in the presence of their greater wisdom and extraordinary ability to always be in the present-moment. I hope these better beasts than myself will yet love me and forgive me while I have the ridiculous role of caring for these Masters of Mind in whose grounded magic we humans are privileged just to be close to. Matter over mind.

No Mind, Doesn’t Mind

Nonhuman friends like the Coast Redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens, know how to drink the darkness of fog to make for us small creatures -a breath of amazement- dappled sunlight higher above us than any other creature’s making. They do not mind who walks below them, or what goes on in our human minds with such heaviness. Sequoia sempervirens does not mind, nor has care of mind, nor thinks in the worries of mammalian minds at all. No mind, doesn’t mind.

Four Native Species to Know

Here are four species of native plants of the Pacific Northwest. If you live in this region, do you recognize any of these? They are common friends to know.

The first, Oregon Grape, is a delicious (albeit rather tart) edible berry. It is most ripe at the time of my writing this in late August. When the berries start to shrivel up just a little bit is when they are most sweet to eat by the handful. It’s okay to eat the little sift stems attached to the berries, too. In springtime, the new leaves of this plant are deliciously edible; they are very soft and light green and taste like a tart apple.

It is said that parts of the Nootka Rose can be edible. I am not certain about this, and beside, we should all do our research to make sure we can absolutely identify any wild edible plant before eating them. Some wild plants have parts that are edible and other parts that are poisonous. Others are completely edible, but only at certain times of the year. It’s not hard to learn these things, but it does take a bit of real-world identification practice.

Salmonberry is one wonderful species that I can say for certain is edible. The berries are totally edible, being ripe in early summer, around early June. The flowers, which come out in springtime before the berries, are also edible right off the stem. They have a very subtle, soft, sweet taste. I don’t think the rest of the plant is edible. Salmonberry is super prolific in this region, so I’m never concerned about over-harvesting. It even competes with Blackberry.

Snowberry, the fourth plant here, is poisonous. Many plants with white berries are poisonous; learn who lives around you, so you are not wrongfully fearful of an edible plant. It’s strange that this fourth picture is the darkest, an uncanny coincidence of an omen.

It was at Wilderness Awareness School that I adopted the practice of using the word “who” to describe plants and nonhuman animals, instead of “what”. This choice of language signifies a different way of thinking about nonhuman species; the sense that they are alive, and that a species need not be human to have a personality or be in meaningful relationship with others.

 

 

 

Plant photos by Gentle J. Pine.

Featured photo by luke flynt on Unsplash.

Moments from My California

In Fresno, and nearby areas.

The San Joaquin River at Woodward Park.

Incense in the air, like a spirit, in my grandparents’ house.

My cousin and I meet an adorable, friendly cat in the orange orchard at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno.

This kid is all KINDS of precious! What a cutie! He also let me pick him up.

I pass by my old house, where I lived when I was ten. A lot of memories here.

Back in my grandparents’ house, I always want to take in every moment of home. Even the oranges are beautiful.

This dining room is where we have shared many meals together. It’s emptier, now :,(

But still, I remember the joyful things my grandpa created, and I carry them with me.

But this is still the land of angels, and I wish to return again, again…

– Gentle J. Pine

I, Humanity, Memory of All Nations

 

 

I, humanity,
memory of all nations,
remember the savannah
within me.
Do not forget us,
but accompany us,
Ancestors,
friends of the heart,
on our trails into the future.
Remember us who come after you,
Remember us who go on before you,
Remember us who live in the heart-world around you.

 

… … …

 

I am one among millions who has known the loss of family. Maybe it is so that every living creature, when it becomes aware of its inevitable separateness from the beings most near it, feels this loss of unity, this severing of oneness. The genesis story of Eden is full of this metaphor. We were blind to our own abyssal awareness: then, we saw, and we became like gods, who who knew death, and the foresight of death, and the meaning of the anguish of self-awareness that accompanies the hominid brain.

I am a face in the sea of time: who will remember this one face? Genetics, maybe, or written words or painted images, better yet. Text is incarnated. You, God, would know most of all; You, who are always present and listening, it is your remembering us that I want for sure. You, who fill the whole earth with your breathing, must know and feel all that we feel in our creaturely lives. Being as that you are in us, and we are in you, then not one of us would be lost to the depths of time. And If you are truly omnipresent, then you would know how sacred the World is. I want to become an ancestor when it is my time. I never want to leave it.

 

 

 

 

Poetry by Gentle J. Pine

This Time, We Have Come

Slowly enough to be steady, rowing sturdy canoes,
old-speak appearing in the fog on the water
first language, hand-spoken, fur-hackles
predating the migration of babble.

The land that we love should not be carved into prizes.
Nobody owns a place until their dead are laid down in it.
Are you a wild god of fury?
Are you untamed, as suspected?
There is no safety with you, then,
Unpredictable Storm.
You are the end of safety,
but somehow you are comforting.

You would know, if you are here.
You must know, if what they say of you is true.
You too must have also suffered
a severance from family and tribe.
You must know the sadness
of all songs.

This time, O Lord of Burnt Offerings,
We have come bearing a trial of lanterns
to hunt you, whispering your darkened name

and your old shadow reclaims you,
curls in relief
down in toward wooded night comfort
slinking back into thickets
evading intrusive light.

This time, God,
we have come ready to find you,
wherever you are.

This time, Mother,
whoever you are now.

A Bird, a Frog, and a Patch of Woods

For your inspiration.

 

T and I found this tiny little guy! He’s an adorable, special little creature called a Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla). Location: a patch of woods near our home in Sammamish, WA, July 2018. The Pacific Tree Frog above was surely the guardian of the threshold who greeted us on our way into the woods that evening. It makes me think about how the Japanese word for frog, kaeru, かえる / 蛙 , is a homonym for the word return or come home, かえる / 帰る, and also for transform, かえる / 変える.

We don’t know what creature formerly owned this bone, but it was pretty cool to find.

This beautiful little birdy is a Black Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). He flew into my windshield one sunlit evening this summer. After realizing what it was that made that tiny impact without a second’s notice, I pulled over to get out and go back for the poor cutie. He died on impact. I held his still-warm little body in my hands, and thanked his little spirit for the remarkable opportunity to to hold him, examine his remarkable self up close, and learn from his life. I took him home to let my kitties have a sniff: Mawzawoo had no clue what to do with the tiny corpse, but Aiboorah was adorably desperate to eat it (he got to softly gum the wing for a moment, not believing his good fortune). That’s when we took our little Chickadee body out to the woods, laying him to rest in the hollow of a great Big Leaf Maple tree.