So, not a poem.
Maybe a conversation?
Friday, March 31, 2023—Waxing gibbous moon in Leo
Hello writing friends!
Did you know April is National Poetry Month?1 This year I’m participating in two (!) generative poetry classes. One of them invites folks to write a poem every day—something I’ve done before. (Maybe you’ve been around long enough to remember my Poems for Peace series and my Defiant Joy series?)
The possibilities this year feel ripe, yeasty and very, very alive. To shamelessly muddle metaphors, I’m sloshing with mud and leaf mold and vernal pools full of hidden places where new life and language gathers. Still, part of me is waiting for the “Two classes! What was I thinking?” moment to hit. We’ll see.
Are you doing anything for National Poetry Month? Writing poems? Reading them? Sharing favorite poems and poets with people you love? Spill some tea! I’m so curious! 😀
With all this coming focus on poetry, I decided to share a not-specifically-a-poem piece I recently wrote. It’s more of a story. Maybe a conversation? It falls under my definition of “Wild nature and human nature,” one of the things I said I’d be talking about this year in this letter. Let me know what you think.
Tracie: Late winter by feel. Early spring by date. There’s not much here. Just a sloping bank dropping a few feet into a shallow creek. Just a few feet, but deep enough to be too deep for my five foot few inches to comfortably step down.
I step down anyway—land, slide sideways in rusty red mud silted across rusty red stones shaped in strangely regular rectangles. Strange unless you understand that this is how they break—how the swell of frozen water snaps them. Rusty red mud. Rusty red stones. Mineral siblings, they are both separated and joined by the red-refracted water that surrounds and penetrates.
Because it’s March, the roots of orange-flowering jewelweed, or spotted touch-me-not, and lavender-flowering phlox still rest under their streambank blanket. Across the flowing two or three foot expanse of six-inch-deep water, white pine trees rustle and whisper. Squirrels rasp. Wrens trill. Chickadees trace droplets of song from bough to genuflecting bough. This place is a reverence of sound and movement.
The Trees: You stand there in the mud just looking, breathing the way bipeds do. Waiting. At least you seem to understand waiting. So many bipeds don’t.
You say “reverence.” You speak in sacredness. We speak in now—in this breath, this seed, this rush of water over root.
You seem to separate so much, to count moments as if they are needles on boughs. For us, there is just this—this flow from now to now. This movement where change is sap, stillness an illusion. For us, rest, or seeming stillness, is a dance of infinitesimal gestures in service to life.
I’m not sure there’s anything else to say once you’ve heard from Trees, so I’ll mostly leave things here.
I definitely encourage Tree conversations, if you’re moved. Or Creek dialogues. Bird singing. Listening to hear/sense what your ecosystem saying/communicating. Bear in mind, these conversations are certainly not limited to words or any form of human language. Perhaps ask yourself what your body senses from the living world? I’d love to hear! Another thing I’m deeply curious about.
Wishing you a reverence of sound and movement in your life,
Want to write together tomorrow?
Saturday Writing Circle is happening tomorrow, April 1, 2023 from 10 - 11:30 am New York time. Reply to this letter if you’d like to join us tomorrow and I’ll email you the link. Or, subscribe here: https://tinyletter.com/TracieNichols if you’d like to be notified about upcoming Writing Circles. (This link will only subscribe you to a list specifically for the writing circles.)
Or maybe later in April?
There are still spaces open in Listening With Our Bodies: Writing Toward Resilience. The point of this four-week class is to support word-loving folks who foment individual or collective transformation by helping those folks pause, take a breath, hear the beat of their own heart and develop personalized noticing and resilience practices. It’s about getting into the habit of consciously feeding that noticing—>creating—>restoring cycle that keeps us doing what we love even when life is happening with particular intensity. Full details and registration here: https://www.tlanetwork.org/event-5147667