The first blogger I ever followed and the first to follow me back was Wendy Sarno. What drew me at first was the name of her blog “Writings from Wild Soul” since the word “wild” is also featured in my blog.
But what made me follow her and keep on reading her all these years was the deep, soulful, way she writes about her encounters with nature, which are always rich with detail. When I read her posts I am swept away to a green, lush, world that humbles and excites me, and I always learn something new. A new way of seeing, a new way of being. I come away feeling blessed.
She calls herself wrensong, and says:
I am a poet who collects stones. I am a wanderer of creek beds and forests, canyons and high desert who, coming home, sometimes finds words to tell the story. I am a companion with others in the search for Deep, Wild Soul. I shape containers in time and space for others to come together to write, to tell their stories, to hold each other in the telling. I am a grandmother and the companion of a cat named Alaya. I often travel out into open country with a man who calls himself Dunewalker who has hung his hammock in my heart.
She has now collected her storied essays and poems in the book “Writings from Wild Soul.” She writes of this experience:
A friend just wrote to ask if I felt a glow of accomplishment. Well, not exactly.
Years ago I remember reading about Pueblo potters, mostly women, and how after they had made a pot and were preparing to put it in the fire they gave thanks to the clay and to the newly formed vessel saying simply with honor, “Now you are a made thing”. That’s how I feel when I hold this book. Not a glow exactly at all but a simplicity of wonder “My goodness, now you are a made thing”.
Here’s just a taste of the kinds of rich, satisfying meals she serves.
From “Into the Silence”
My husband and I just got back from the Pacific Northwest. We spent two weeks nestled under those great tall trees on Bainbridge Island and went off roaming the region. One day, out on the far side of the Olympic Peninsula, we hiked into the Hoh Rainforest over a rooted and winding trail along the Hoh River.
There the Sitka Spruce grow eight feet in diameter, two hundred feet tall and the great Western Cedar even larger. In that damp world everything grows thick with lichens and moss. The forest floor is strewn with moss covered fallen nurse trees, licorice fern, sword fern, lady fern, salmonberry and huckleberry. The huge big leaf maples cover their trunks with epiphyte mosses and drip with long beards of moss. It is a lush, moist realm of old tree life blessedly preserved from the ubiquitous clear-cut logging fields.
We went in search of silence, one square inch of it. No, really, there is one, sort of. On Earth Day in 2005 Gordon Hempton, an acoustic ecologist, dedicated this spot he had chosen in the Olympic National Park as a sanctuary to silence. He calls it One Square Inch of Silence.
I was thinking about this invitation to silence this Sunday morning in July when I looked out and was struck by the intense green of the neighbor’s tulip tree against an intensity of blue sky, the etch of brilliant green against that fierce, endless deep blue. I was struck with my instant need to put words to it, to find words to say it, this meeting. I think it was Annie Dillard who said something like “God imbues the world like color”. This I have faith in, this imbue-ing god, the one who looks out at me from your blue eyes, from the red cherries, the gold finch, the grass, the moss covered Sitka Spruce. This god who offers the god-self as beauty, intensity, tenderness, who meets me silently the way the sky meets a tulip tree, the way an ancient rainforest holds its moist, mossy self. And for a few moments I’m enthralled, held in a large, sweet order to things, belonging to this encounter between tree and sky. All the while the sunlight spilling thru in silence. All in silence.
From The Bones of Winter
I had the sense all morning on this day between winter and spring that I walked at the edge of life and death. Wandering up the luminous green of a grassy trail that snaked thru the prairie blackened from a winter burn with its charred grasses and woody stems, I saw flocks of robins browsing listening to what stirred under the flattened mat of an old season. Here and there shoots of green emerged from thick tangles of old root hinting at the tall grasses that would wave here in a summer wind. It was there I found the bone -white shell of a box turtle lying belly up on the ground. Part of the lower plate was gone and it lay there like a mouth open to the sky where season by season it collected seeds and leaves and fallen petals and rain and snow and dust. The yearly stories shed by the land into this waiting cup.
All winter I fed the small birds from bags of old seed and I was as hungry as they were for something fresh and moist and alive. When I walk I tell my story. I whisper my hungers and my hopes to the grass and the wind. I share whatever arises in my wandering mind, memories or dreams. Sometimes poems. Sometimes tears. On this Sunday, as I leaned into the rising path and the wind, I felt my good, deep breath, muscles warming, a flicker of joy at the sight of green, and a sweet pleasure in the gift of a broken turtle shell like an offering, offering its stories and offering to hold mine. And as the hours moved my slow steps along this trail or that, I began to feel the gift that wild places always offer us, an easefulness rising thru my bones out of the moist earth, something around my heart unclenched, made room for delight in a pond chorus of frogs in their spring song.
From her website Listening to Stones which features her poetry:
Rain Like Fallen Grace
I’m cutting daisies in this rain falling over the quiet morning like Sunday Grace.
I’m holding utterly still breathing the scent of water and flowers
The cups of the small roses reaching up
Every leaf trembling
I’m on the phone with a friend who
is gazing out her living room window when
she notices a dead branch has fallen
across a live branch in a big pine
and formed a perfect cross.
In the center of the cross is a nest
and in the nest is a dove who is feeding
her three nestlings.
We were talking about how to keep
our souls alive in these difficult
political times and suddenly in
this seeing, and in her telling me
of what she sees, and in my seeing
thru her words the branches, the tree,
the nest and the doves,
This is how.
This is how we know, in the seeing. This is why I read her writings: that deep seeing, that deep knowing.
I hope you feel as blessed as I do today after tasting her rich offerings to the world.