Remembering Mary Oliver

I ran early this evening
Thinking of her, and missing her voice
Shadows growing long,
then fading into twilight–
In January you can see
A long way through the woods
Stripped of leaves and other finery
Earth’s bones, contour and shape
Truth without adornment
Like her words, precise and spare.

Pausing at the lake, daylight fading
Two ducks silhouetted against
The orange-stained mirror
I watch, find the words and continue on—
Moon rising now through the trees
Casting a silvery light on my path
Up ahead, pale reflection on Sycamore Creek
I hear splashing below the bridge
And realize that it is always there
But I did not hear it until nightfall.

Climbing now, I pass the red oak
Two years since her proud limbs reached skyward
I grieved the loss each time I passed
But today I see her
Sinking gently into Earth’s embrace
Sharing energy and minerals and earthy rot
Housing wild creatures as always
Feeding hungry young seedlings—
Nurturing tomorrow’s forests with unbridled joy
She is here; her words are everywhere.

Umstead Lake at sunset. Two ducks in the middle.

Thank you, Mary Oliver. Rest in peace.

Forest Ecosystems Daily: Satulah Sunrise


sunrise over Satulah Mountain

Dawn breaks this morning on the summit of Satulah Mountain. From my journal: “Booked up to the summit of Satulah in the light of dawn to witness the coming day and the start of my 5th Forest Ecosystems class. Ancient, lichen-crusted granite beneath me…ruby-throated hummingbirds whirling above, airing petty grievances and territory disputes with furious vocalizations…watching clouds blow across the front of Whiteside Mountain. The small moments are so often the ones most treasured.”