Thursday, November 16, 2017

Forest Bathing

Dark green spindles, from long stark branches
Towering trees in soldier-straight formation
They reach out their arms to one another
Block the sun
A shadow falls heavily across the plantation floor
Barren, carpeted in the soft orange of years past

Life cannot thrive here
Or so I think

"Breathe deeply," she says
"Close your eyes and listen."
I hear silence
But then...

The rustle from above - an unseen bird fluttering from branch to branch
And the wind sliding through those tight boughs
And the creaks of gently yielding pines

"Now let's walk - go more slowly than you've ever walked before;
Look for movement"
Once again, I see nothing
Quiet emptiness, still and sterile

There is movement from the corner of my eye
And then a bright white clown-like face is peering inquisitively
At our slow-moving group
A nuthatch watching these padding, plodding, lady sloths

A yellowed leaf, not long for this shrub
Twirls dervishly in the a breeze I cannot feel
Frantic among the quiet understory
And an insect zooms through the air, just above me
Bound for the next tree

I crane my neck backwards
And see those orderly soldiers swaying together
Concert-goers, shoulder to shoulder
Gliding back and forth to an old favourite
The stir of September wind

At this speed
(Which feels like going backwards it's so slow
To my frantic and frenzied feet)
Even the quietest of nature comes alive
With sound, movement, sights and smells
And I see for the first time
The thrumming, humming jungle, packed with life
Where I thought there were only pine trees

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tree Cathedral

Footsteps absorbed by packed dirt trail
A lone pewee issues a plaintive cry
A light breeze ruffles leaves of maple
Otherwise the forest is quiet

We sink deeper into a valley
And the hills rise up higher on either side
As our muffled for footfall propels us forward
The sunlight is muted and dappled on the forest floor

Enjoying the sights passing by my boots
     Splayed sarsaparilla
     Shiny mayflower
     Yellowing cohosh
I suddenly feel compelled to look up

In the world is awash in emerald green
Where July sunshine hits richly chlorophylled leaves
Green ignites
Firefly green, fireworks green, phosphorescent green
My footsteps slow

I crane my neck back in awe
How did these trees get so tall?
They CN Tower over my humble head

And what do they know? 
What have they seen?
And how come they're talking to me?
I stand, reverent
Unable to pinpoint the feeling, other than
I am part of this.
I am very small.

Then our path winds up… up… up
The trees fall back slightly from heights of giants
Their bark once more in reach of my searching hand
Cool to the touch even in summer's heat

When we pass through the sacred spot again 
On our way back out into blistering unfiltered summer sun
I nod my respects to the cathedral's green
To its towering statues
And look forward to my next worship

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Sunlight streams through winter-smudged windows
Cold blue sky and puffy clouds
Over yards of white snow, coarse like sugar
It could be any February day

Then a fly
Catches my eye
Clinging to the window screen
Circling hesitantly, one tentative footfall after another
Peering in at me from outside

Curious, I ease open the front door
And as February air gusts in
I instinctively hunch my shoulders against impending cold
But instead, warm spring washes over me

Almost simultaneously, I'm racing through my house;
Frantically pumping bicycle tires;
Searching for helmets and sunglasses buried under so many toques and scarves;
As if at any moment a blizzard could crash through
And take it all away

And then I'm soaring
Bathing in the moist, warm, scented day
Pedaling faster and faster
As if not to miss a single square foot of spring

Whizzing over a bridge
I hear the rush of meltwater crashing through a riverbed
Tree branches heavy with buds rustle over the stream
Murmuring polite hellos to one another after months of silence

I speed past a farm field
That blinks green where snow is rapidly slinking away
I breathe deeply
And smell the damp, sweet, earthen scents of life

Where ice still stubbornly coats trails
I ease off my summer ride
And step gingerly through April-deep mud
My footfalls stirring the slumber of insects
Who spiral lazily upward, then down again

I reach my arms wide
Tilt my face to the sun

It's eerie, though welcome
And it won't stay
But awoken from my own torpor of winter dormancy
Today I will fly a little too


Temperatures fall
Muddy footsteps immortalize, frozen in time
Snowflakes swirl from steel gray skies
The ground dusted once more in white

And I wait...