Look Down

In the city, I was always looking down.

Avoiding eye contact, avoiding obstacles-

Avoiding.

In this quieter place,

In this place of less people, less potential chance of collisions,

I’ve noticed that I move with purpose.

Observe the tree ahead, the mountains in the distance,

The sky, sharp and intrusive, at the edges of my vision.

Until I stumble,

I miss the subtleties beneath my feet.

The world of branches and ferns,

Of squirrel middens and deathly struggles.

To take my eyes from where I’m going,

To where I am,

Opens vast worlds of possibility.

A field of horsetails,

Breeze-touched and swaying

In an endless sea of green.

IMG_1919So many small worlds beneath us

I have a deep love for the tiny connections around us.


For more worlds, small and otherwise, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

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The Wild Things

When I rounded the corner, I was less than an armsbreadth from the young bear cub.

Unfortunately, I was also less than two armsbreadths from its mother.

On the other side of my body.

I’ve never forgotten that moment, somewhere back in the middle of nowhere, where I stood between a mother bear and her cub.

The way the world slowed to a fine, sharpened point as I carefully moved is an experience I’ve seldom repeated.

The truth is, neither the bear nor I wanted a confrontation that day.

Just like me, the bear’s eyes almost immediately focused somewhere, anywhere other than the body of the intruder.

Much of the survival of the wild things is about that kind of pretending.

Instincts are sharp, but they can be circumvented and redirected in less exhausting and dangerous directions.

That mother bear is not the first wild thing I have seen to work around its sharper instincts.

It is strange to read stories where the actions of wild things are so wholly tied to only the most basic of their drives.

I have seen curious otters, lazy squirrels, embarrassed falcons, playful foxes, and mourning crows.

It seems sad that even in fantastical adventures, the range of actions are so focused on aggression or flight.

When our fantasies are less varied than our realities, we truly miss a degree of richness in our idea of what puts the “wild” in “wild things”.

Perhaps it would have been a better story if I had rounded the corner and been attacked by a startled mother bear.

I think that the wildness was far richer in the brief moment she met my eye-

And turned her head back towards the forest.

 IMG_0413Too often our view of the wild is only in fight…. or flight

I’ve been thinking about the way we write the world around us. These are some of my thoughts on the natural world.


I enjoy trying to work the natural world into my writing in various ways. If you’d like to see my own take on animal instincts, my fantasy novel,  The Guests of Honor, is available here.