Eyes Like Mine

They come running to the fence

Feathers fluffy in the wind

Eager, excited, and laughing

Jackie O with her pearl necklace

Bossy Pants dressed in red velvet

Peaches with her nude stockings 

Dorothy in a glamorous black evening gown.

And I remember the ones that are no longer here

Coco in her best brown pants suit

Sparkles with her golden egg

Silvia who shined bright like a shooting star

Aristotle with her badge of honor.

And I have asked myself

How many times can a heart break?

How can I live with my skin on inside out

And still walk through this world?

How does my heart stay open

to the depth in her eyes

knowing that her light will go out?

They sqwualk and sqwualk and I smile

I kneel down so that our eyes can meet

Their heads tilt with curiosity

their eyes focus on mine

And we are the same.

We both put ourselves to bed

and rest with the moon 

We both wake with the sunrise

and celebrate the new day

We both eat and drink and shit and bathe.

Our hearts race

Our skin itches

Our tempers flare

Our feathers ruffle.

And 

When the world gets quiet

and the temperature cools

When the light goes down

and the nocturnal beings begin to roam

We both very carefully

sweetly and gently

Step closer and closer and lean against one another.

For warmth

For safety

For comfort

For peace

For love.

We both love.

LLM

Dedicated to the rescued Hens at Elephant Belly Sanctuary.

Dear Mr. Thrush

Dear Mr. Thrush,

Good morning, dear one.  How are you doing today? How are you feeling? I was so concerned about you yesterday. I hope that you are doing well and that you are free from harm.

I am up early again today. Monroe, our little dog, has me up between 5:30 and 6am on most mornings these days. I am grateful to her for getting me out of bed. Every morning I get to watch the sunrise and hear the  world wake up. What a gift. I don’t know if I would do it otherwise. 

That is how I met you. Yesterday. I was sitting in my room, writing a poem, and you came flying into my window! Oh , what a bang! that was. So horribly scary. I peeked out my window and I saw you on the ground. Your olive wing spread out awkwardly and unnaturally. Birds like you weren’t meant to lay down. I rushed into my bedroom- where I knew that we kept a rescue box for moments just like these. Funny, I was just cleaning out the area under the sink in my bedroom a couple of mornings ago and found it. Not sure I would have known it was there. 

So I ran and got the box and woke up A*. We rushed out and there you were. Sweet man. Your yellow beak open. Eyes open. Stunned. I knelt down and scooped you up with both hands and placed you on the towel in the box. You are so handsome! I hope that is not an inappropriate this to say in a time like this, but geez…you are gorgeous. Olive back and wings, black speckled underbelly, beautiful circular deep black eyes. I gently put the top over you and took you to the porch. I wanted to be sure that you could breathe- so I removed the cardboard top and there you were. Oh, dear one, you did not look so good. Your eyes were closing, your beak was open and I feared that this was goodbye. 

Could you hear what I said? I said a prayer for you. I put my hand on my heart, and closed my eyes and I whispered “ I am right here for you, sweet one. I am right here. Everything is ok. I am right here. You are not alone. Sweet little one.” Your eyes blinked slowly shut. I covered you with a towel to keep you warm and we let you rest. 

Minutes later, we decided to check on you. I wanted to be sure that you could breathe under the towel…but it was a very chilly morning and I knew you were in shock. I went out to draw back the towel and you were lying there, resting. That is when I got an even better look at you. Your peach feet. The many shades of your wings. How can a being be so strong and so vulnerable at the same moment? I covered you to give you a bit more time. 

A few more moments passed and I returned. This time, I could see some movement under the towel. I lifted it up to see and you flew away! Right up to a tree branch above my room. Yay! I was so happy that you flew away. You must have been feeling much better. Oh what joy I felt in my heart. After that, you disappeared into the leaves and I could no longer see you. I pray that you were able to find your way home and get a good night’s rest. 

I will listen for your song this morning. I will watch for you as I do my daily chores and I will send you love and good wishes.

Yours always,

LLM

Oh Little Dog

my old girl

your bumps and smells

your tender blank stare

your ears full and deaf





our years together 

fill me with such joy and love

the circling

the kisses

the head rubs

the burrowing into my thigh.



my little shadow

my sweet pup

there are moments i can not find you anywhere

searching each room

afraid of what i will find


i arrive at my sanctuary

to see that you have been sleeping there all along

cuddled on the tiger blanket or

spread out along the gray shaggy draping cover or

maybe the poof has molded into the perfect form

and holds your skinny aging body snug



with relief and solicitude

i watch the rise and fall of your belly

as breath breathes your little body

i curl up beside you

wrap my soul around yours

drifting into restful awareness

together.





LLM

Finding Solace

Finding solace

surrounded by the tapping rain

following each drop

from cloud to leaf to soil



the rivers inside

running dry and desperate

for some relief

I stand mouth open to the universe


“the entire path

and all you will ever need

to walk it

you will find inside”




Fill me

sweet drops of cosmic love

so that I may walk in peace

and be on my way.

-LLM

Wind

Oh Wind

Take me away

Take my voice, my tears, my broken heart

You are so mighty 

With your roar 

And your sound

A raging river

A passing jetliner

An amtrak train

 

You who make the trees swing  and sway

You who pull the leaves from their branches

Exposing their true nature

And their bare  bodies

 

You who push and pull the birds in flight

Holding them still in mid air

As they flap their wings in fury against you

A game, a challenge, a test

 

As I sit safe inside

This warm box of love and life

With candles lit

Sweet smells of morning

And my little dog

You storm and scurry

Rage and Remove

Pick up and pass around

The surroundings of this home

 

And somehow I trust

That you will drop everything

Right in it’s place

 

Do that to me

Do that to my wandering mind

Do that to my worry and my woe

Take it

Throw it

Wind it up and send it on it’s way

 

Carry me like the leaf

Pull me from the branches 

Then place me perfectly there

In that place

On the ground

Sound

Asleep

 

LLM

Bestiary- by Joanna Macy

Short-tailed albatross

Whooping crane

Gray wolf

Woodland caribou

Hawksbill sea turtle

Rhinoceros

The list of endangered species keeps growing longer every year.  With too many names to hold in our mind, how do we honor the passing of life?  What funerals or farewells are appropriate?

Reed warbler

Swallowtail butterfly

Bighorn sheep

Indian python

Howler monkey

Sperm whale

Blue whale

Dive me deep, brother whale, in this time we have left. Deep in our mother ocean where I once swam, gilled and finned. The salt from those early seas still runs in my tears. Tears aren’t enough anymore. Give me a song, a song for a sadness too vast for my heart, for a rage too wild for my throat.

Giant sable antelope

Wyoming toad

Grizzly bear

Brown bear

Bactrian camel

Nile crocodile

Chinese alligator

Ooze me, alligator, in the mud whence I came. Belly me slow in the rich primordial soup, cradle of our molecules. Let me wallow again, before we drain your swamp and pave it over.

Gray bat

Ocelot

Pocket mouse

Sockeye salmon

Tasmanian kangaroo

Hawaiian goose

Audouin’s seagull

Quick, lift off. Sweep me high over the coast and out, farther out.  Don’t land here. Oilspills coat the beach, rocks, sea. I cannot spread my wings glued with tar.  Fly me from what we have done, fly me far.

Golden parakeet

West African ostrich

Florida panther

Galapagos penguin

Imperial pheasant

Snow leopard

Mexican prairie dog

Hide me in a hedgerow, badger. Can’t you find one? Dig me a tunnel through leaf-mold and roots, under the trees that once defined our fields. My heart is bulldozed and plowed over.  Burrow me a labyrinth deeper than longing.

Thick-billed parrot

San Francisco garter snake

Desert bandicoot

Molokai thrush

California condor

Lotus blue butterfly

Crawl me out of here, caterpillar. Spin me a cocoon. Wind me to sleep in a shroud of silk, where in patience my bones will dissolve. I’ll wait as long as all creation if only it will come again — and I take wing.

Atlantic ridley turtle

Coho salmon

Helmeted hornbill

Marine otter

Humpback whale

Steller sea-lion

Monk seal

Swim me out beyond the ice floes, mama. Where are you? Boots squeeze my ribs, clubs drum my fur, the white world goes black with the taste of my blood.

Gibbon

Sand gazelle

Swamp deer

Musk deer

Cheetah

Chinchilla

Asian elephant

African elephant

Sway me slowly through the jungle. There still must be jungle somewhere, my heart drips with green secrets. Hose me down by the waterhole; there is buckshot in my hide. Tell me old stories while you can remember.

Desert tortoise

Crested ibis

Hook-billed kite

Mountain zebra

Mexican bobcat

Andrew’s frigatebird

In the time when his world, like ours, was ending, Noah had a list of the animals, too. We picture him standing by the gangplank, calling their names, checking them off on his scroll. Now we also are checking them off.

Ivory-billed woodpecker

Indus river dolphin

West Indian manatee

Wood stork

We reenact Noah’s ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting.

Ferret

Gorilla

Jaguar

Wolf

Your tracks are growing fainter. Wait. Wait. This is a hard time.  Don’t leave us alone in a world we have wrecked.

-Joanna Macy

The Bike in 3 Parts: Purchasing, Anatomy, and Basic Repair

Purchasing Your Bike
Purchasing the right bike is your first step. I chose the Surly Long Haul Trucker knowing that my ultimate goal is to bike across the country and this was an excellent purchase.
Steady. Solid. Beautiful. F93445A7-9A7F-4E51-94B4-9FFFEE1EA296
I purchased my bike from Pedal Power in Middletown, CT. Great customer service and since it was right when COVID-19 shut everything down…they were super accommodating and professional. Not to mention really fun to speak with.
Tip: Sizing and bike fit are critical components to purchasing your bike. If possible, go to the store and speak with someone who can help you make the best decision for your body. If you are unable to shop in person, speak to someone that knows the right questions to ask to
Anatomy of Your Bike
It is essential for you to know everything about your bike. Once I purchased Freedom, of course she needed a name, I really wanted to empower myself and learn everything about her.
Tip: It’s best to know anatomy of your bike. There are lots of diagrams out there and it can be intimidating. This one is pretty straight forward.
anatomy-road-bike
Basic Bike Repair
You want to know how your bike works, how to fix it, and how to keep it high functioning and operating efficiently. REI has tons of great videos on everything cycling…I highly recommend them.
Although it is not necessary, I purchased a bike repair stand knowing that bike repair was something that I was going to dive into beyond the basics. REI Good & Used is an excellent place to buy used gear that is in great condition but much less expensive and also better for the environment (less stuff in landfills).
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Tip: Do your research. There are lots of repair stands out there. This one requires that you take the front wheel off to attach it. Others have a clamp that attaches to the seat post or top tube. This one requires a bit more strength to lift the bike and it was a bit awkward until I got used to it.

I have spent a bunch of time just fiddling with my bike on the stand. Removing and replacing the wheels, watching the chain move through the gears, and cleaning the chain after each ride. Paying close attention to the sounds, watching and noticing the mechanics, and feeling the flow of your bike will ensure that you can ride safely and that you will get to your destination.

Next blog…dreaming big and choosing your first journey.

In gratitude,

LLM
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Praying by Mary Oliver

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Mary Oliver

Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver

Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

Naturalist. Activist. Writer

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