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Homework

  I abandon my assignment. I will not follow instructions, but sit impassively with the pine trees listening to a distant chainsaw and a dog barking questions. My eyes trace the curves of the southeastern hillsides, remembering the fire and studying the shape of the burn. I will not return at the appointed hour. I walk along the edge of the mountain’s granite apron to the skull of a bobcat, where I busy myself collecting its teeth, fitting them carefully into each socket. At sunset I...

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Grace

At the end of my 9 miles I saw them. Three enormous bull moose by the parking lot. So did everyone else. Part of me was annoyed that these people should get to see them too. Some old belief about the necessity of earning joy. Carloads of pale, soft-bodied Walmart shoppers shuffled over to the edge of the willows. Please shut the hell up. Please just look. The woman on my left asks her companion, “What do you suppose they’re for? We don’t use their meat… or their fur…” “You mean, what’s God’s...

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On Outdoor Re-creation

I’ve always enjoyed exploring the wilderness. I have never understood why more people don’t do it, though perhaps deep down I’m grateful not to have hordes of other humans out there.  It’s like this ridiculously well-kept secret. Why? This piece on the death of backpacking asks the same question. The author believes backpacking in particular is not popular “because younger people are leery of the unglamorous labor required for stepping off pavement, and too occupied with the easiness of TV,...

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Trail

  The trouble began with the lies about Eden and Eve. I hid my nakedness. Pressed my school uniform. Conjugated verbs. Rode the subway to my cubicle. Took notes in meetings. Aspired to productivity. Trailing the deer my long confinement in shame is fading. The snake coiled by the stream says nothing of separation. Water flows through the aspen grove where the many are one and I weave through their fine trunks on hooves of light and belonging.  ...

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Whose Agenda?

  A friend of mine teaches outdoor survival skills. Things like friction fire-making, animal tracking, finding water, bow hunting, and so on. Something that came up in a recent conversation had to do with the way humans are always bringing our agendas to nature. We generally go into nature not to give, but to get something. A few of the people my friend works with are interested in deep nature connection and awareness. But most come to her because they see this as a way to feel capable...

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Become My Body

    I have not blogged in a while because my beautiful german shepherd Saxon died recently. It was sudden. And utterly heart-breaking. The thing about loving a dog is that they make it safe to give your whole heart. And they give themselves to you completely. We human beings inevitably hurt and wound each other… carry resentments and grievances… but with a dog the love is pure and without shadows, and to lose such love is devastating.   Before the Beginning ~ by...

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