I try not to bring home natural objects anymore – too much time in state parks I think. Probably more to do with being an inveterate sign-reader, so I get why things should stay where they fall. Not that we can’t move them around or take pictures with those ubiquitous phones. The NaPoWriMo prompt was to write about the kinds of things we scavenge on beach walks or meadow rambles. I tend to make little altars. I love the transience of these orchestrations, enjoy leaving them to the rummage of wind, weather, animals and kids, whatever wanders by. They are a kind of mediation for me and I try not to plan ahead when I’m gathering or arranging. It’s a great practice for quelling the inner critic. I do have a self-imposed rule/challenge rule not to pick anything off a living plant – no flowers or pretty leaves, with a small exception for blackberries, which I would eat anyway.
Though I Will Not Pass This Way Again
I gather a sage green
splotch of lichen, assorted twigs
3 acorn cups, a blue jay feather,
fluff of milkweed, two slabs
of mottled bark and a handful
of stones – chips of quartz,
sparkling white, gleaned
in a painstaking duck walk
around this designated shrine.
The arched entrance to a hollow
at ground level looks Gothic,
mysterious, an entrance, rabbit
hole to the netherworld. A good
place to leave this transient offering
of thirteen stones set close around
a patch of emerald moss. I fill
the acorns in a puddle, place
feather, bark and milkweed
strategically around the door.
The pattern evolves naturally,
organically ─ hand, heart mind
taking equal lead, It’s hard to leave.
I brush away duff and detritus
around the temenos. Sing a song
to wind, water, sun and dirt,
beating out a heartbeat
my palm, against the ground.