by John Brehm

In all the woods that day I was
the only living thing
fretful,  exhausted, or unsure.
Giant fir and spruce and cedar trees
that had stood  their ground
three hundred years
stretched in sunlight  calmly
unimpressed by whatever
it was that held me
hunched and tense  above the stream,
biting my nails, calculating all
my impossibilities.
Nor did the water pause
to reflect or enter into
my considerations.
It found its way
over and around a crowd
of rocks in  easy flourishes,
in laughing evasions and
shifts in direction.
Nothing could slow it down for long.
It even made a little song
out of all the  things
that got in its way,
a music against the hard edges
of whatever might interrupt its going.

When the Animals Come to Us
by Gary Lawless

When the animals come to us
asking for our help
will we know what they are saying?
When the plants speak to us
in their delicate, beautiful language
will we be able to answer them?
When the planet herself
sings to us in our dreams
will we be able to wake ourselves and act?

by William Stafford
Sometimes in the open you look up
where birds go by, or just nothing,
and wait. A dim feeling comes
you were like this once, there was air,
and quiet; it was by a lake, or
maybe a river you were alert
as an otter and were suddenly born
like the evening star into wide
still worlds like this one you have found
again, for a moment, in the open.

Something is being told in the woods: aisles of
shadow lead away; a branch waves;
a pencil of sunlight slowly travels its
path. A withheld presence almost
speaks, but then retreats, rustles
a patch of brush. You can feel
the centuries ripple generations
of wandering, discovering, being lost
and found, eating, dying, being born.
A walk through the forest strokes your fur,
the fur you no longer have. And your gaze
down a forest aisle is a strange, long
plunge, dark eyes looking for home.
For delicious minutes you can feel your whiskers
wider than your mind, away out over everything.

Dreaming the Real
by Linda France

I’m lying down looking at the colour
of sky falling through trees, dreaming
the real, tasting what it feels like to love it.

Why did it take me so long to let go, simply
exhale, so the day could breathe itself in
and open without me standing in the way?

How could I forget the grace of my own body,
strong as this blue, tender as the white
of the wild blossom, warm as midday light?

Let me practise a patience bold enough
to hold every weather, trusting the elements,
the beauty of rain, all its shades of grey.

I want whatever’s real to be enough. At least
it’s a place to begin. And to master the art
of loving it; feel it love me back under my skin.

“Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.”
― D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

“All of our efforts to become an environmentally sustainable species must be rooted in deep relationship with nature; Without this relationship, all our efforts toward sustainability will be subtly flawed in ways that will eventually be our undoing.”
-Amos Clifford, A Little Handbook of Shinru-Yoku