©2014 Mandible|Photography

I used to run to the sounds of popping trees,
when rivers whispered underneath a layer of thick ice,
when maple trees lay dormant in their groves,
the taps and buckets the neighbor used on them
still stacked in his shed.

I used to say to my brother,
“we need to find a way out,”
my mind so enraptured with the creative thought
of survival in the natural world it all but took over
my reality.

In the summers
I ran to the sounds of coy-dogs under a full moon,
vixens screaming from their dens
the pine trees creaking as they swayed in the heavy winds
that brought out the seven brothers of lightening
and the great tall beast, Thunder, that trailed behind them.
They always moved quick over the mountains when we sat in our front yard.

But when we were safely beneath the thick overhead canopy of aspen and birch and pine,
we heard them coming but our laughter cut through their noise,
the trees rumbling – but we didn’t care.

We’d climb up there with them, into the great old pines
that our neighbor warned us could break under us easier
than the other trees, but we never paid heed
because these were more fun to climb.

We’d hug the great mass, its rough bark
tracing marks across our palms,
already sticky and black with its sap.

I used to run to the songs of the earth
and now I run to the songs of men,
breathing in, and out, and in
and out.

I realize one day that I am alive
and I have somehow grown,
my creative mind no longer intrigued with the thought
of survival
in nature

But I am just struggling to climb up instead
from some dark hole I’ve been thrown into,
my mind an eerie abyss,
surrounded by cement and pavement and
huddled up people with their shoulders around their ears,
by cars with horns like grating cries that try to kick me back into that dismal grave.

I wonder,
“how in the world did I get here?”

7 thoughts on “Untitled

  1. I too often don’t understand how I/we can live, so dislocated from the natural world … I loved the imagery of the trees in this piece. If I had a totem, it would be a tree – they’re very important to me. Thank you for the beautiful images!

      1. Yes, from down here in Australia I’ve been thinking of all my friends in the northern hemisphere, coping with your ghastly winter. Meanwhile, we’ve had searing heat, bushfires and drought in places. Our poor planet …

      2. I was just thinking about this. I don’t have kids of my own (two stepsons) but one of my sisters had her second baby last year. We were talking about global warming, pollution, etc and I said I wondered where we’d be at in 10 years’ time – because that’s the timescale I tend to think forward in, decades. She wondered what it would be like for her girls, growing up. Different perspectives, right?
        Are you into the Gaia theory at all? I’m into it in a non-mystical sort of way, in that I think the planet as a whole is a system of very interconnected parts, and that systems have a tendency to organize and repair themselves. I know others have a more spiritual take on it. Just wonderin’ …

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