Monthly Archives: May 2014

Reconnect, regenerate, resist, rewild

Day 244

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

You’ll know when they’re close because the birds will stop singing.

And they’ll plow through the forest with frightening speed with no thought of possible predators lurking in the shadows, desperate to get out of the way of the ones who don’t belong.

And you’ll sit, or lie flat on your belly with ear pressed to earth, feeling the thump of your own heart pounding in your chest for a long time until your fingertips are stiff with cold and you dwell somewhere between asleep and awake.

Until the birds come back in,

cautiously at first, and then confidently, and resume their perching and searching for food, and their clear and perfect singing.

And then you’ll know you’re safe,  un-caught,

Alive and victorious.

Part of a new tribe of

wild rebel warriors.

Living off the land,

fighting for the earth.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen


Day 243

I’m feeling blank tonight.

I’ve written and erased a dozen sentences only to decide

there is nothing I want to say.

Some nights it is comforting

just to admit defeat.

Thank you for listening,



Michelle, I’ve had this guest post in my inbox for weeks and just looked at it tonight. Just when I needed to see it. Yes, this is how it feels to rewild. Yes, this is how it feels to chase something you are not sure exists. Yes this is what it feels like. Yes, oh yes. Thank you Shell, I needed this tonight. Love to you.

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

i’m hungry, ravenous, for a wild that doesn’t exist any longer, one not lost, but discarded by others before, for hundreds of years.

i’m starving for more than the morsels i’ve had the pleasure to taste–

oh! reminds me of another story. where woman and man, in the beginning, taste a fruit most forbidden, as we have barely tasted wildness-

a fruit of knowledge from across vast time, an echo of the past of our planet, a food long denied our famished souls.

to savor just a fraction of what once was awakens a tiny place in the soul that remembers, and from that moment we are changed.

we take a bite, we pass it. she takes a bite, he takes a bite, and you take one.

and once you know, you can’t forget.

homesick for someplace you’ve never been, nostaglic with memories that don’t belong to you, but whose photographs you found torn up in the wastebasket,

and on whose torn fragments you spent precious hours, piecing them together into some semblance of the original,

or as close as you can get to finishing a puzzle without the box to show you what it’s supposed to look like.

you tape it together gently, lining up the creased edges side by side, like a child,

oh innocent and painfully hopful, and place it in your left breast pocket, by your lungs that beg clean air, by your ever-beating heart, by the warm, soft skin of your body,

and you never forget it as long as you live, you never stop wanting another taste

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

A guest post from my mom, Lucie, breast cancer survivor

Day 242

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

Tonight’s post is from my mother, Lucie, very recent breast cancer survivor:

I greet the new day with joy in my heart.

In the past few weeks since my diagnosis, I learned of many other women who have gone through breast cancer surgery. It  gave me strength knowing I’m not alone on this journey.

What began with fear and disbelief is now a time of joy, hope and  peace discovering what’s important, loving more fully, living more deeply and finding strength in sharing.

All you wonderful women who have parted with one or both breasts,

I am holding hands with you in unity.

I thank God for my scar and my new life!

Let’s share our stories and cry out a loud yes in this battle. We are winning as the numbers are growing in survivorship.

Let’s be a new breed of woman, living with hope instead of fear!

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

Thank you to everyone who sent love, prayers, and thoughts to us over the past month or so. It really made a difference to my family, knowing we are not alone in our struggles.

Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart.

Love, love, love,


Revie and the wren

Day 241

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

Our cat killed a wren this morning

and left it lying on our doorstep

small as a mouse

with its soft brown feathers.

Later Revie noticed

the strange angle of the little neck, and the bent wings,

stopped briefly, wrinkled his brow with worry, crouched

and pointed.

“Sisa killed it.” I told him, showing my sadness on my face. “Daddy move it.”

And Wil placed the tiny body in the bed of Elecampane,

sturdy plants

busy unfurling their leaves in the hot spring sun.

Satisfied, Revie moved on,

back to his busy world of toys, and running, and climbing, and exploring,

but not without a little backwards wave

to the small bird now

resting in the bushes.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

An observer on the edge of the end

If you would throw a ball  straight up as high as you can into the air

there is a moment when that ball is neither ascending or descending

its suspended motionless high up in the sky

for an observer only able to see this millisecond pause

the ball is defying gravity

floating motionless above the surface of the earth seemingly indefinitely

for that observer an entire science and world view would sprout up

religions would worship the floating deity that defies the universe

the tangible world would shatter under the proof of power greater than

scientific laws

monuments would be erected in the image of that observer

children would learn of his/her achievements and aspire for similar greatness

the course of human history would steer slightly in a new direction

this millisecond

this moment in a long line of moments taken out of context becomes truth

what we don’t see

the moments that were

the moments that are to come

are part of the moment that is

they make now truthful

to the observer that waits for a while

feet dangling on the edge of the end

this moment seems motionless

it seems infinite

collapse seems impossible

how could solid become liquid

liquid become gas

but to know the story

the whole story

you must know what came before

what is to come after

and how they are all linked together through space and time.


will we be able to observe truth

or will the ball forever float

infinitely stable in the sky.




you are a wild thing caged

listen carefully.

put your hands in mine.

it is very difficult to live here right now

with our planet under attack.

surrounded by suffering

in this landscape of loss

with every creature struggling to survive.

I am so so sorry for that. I can see your heart is broken like mine is. It’s the proper response to so much pain.

but we are stronger than we think, and smarter,

able to learn the skills of self reliance,

with our quick and eager minds

and hands.

not just in case

this whole thing falls


but because learning to live without the beast

will kill it.

the only thing left to do is study, learn, practice,

perfect, immerse, rewild.

and then

dig your heels in

and fight back.

any way you can


there are many of us rising up now

in a million different ways.


you are not alone.

there is nothing wrong with you.

you are a wild thing caged.

break free.

thank you for listening.

I love you.






my god lives under my feet

Day 237

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

My God

does not wear long robes and cast judgement upon those below from a throne floating somewhere in the sky.

My God

does not reside in cathedrals and churches, temples and shrines, with gold leaf and stained glass windows, boxed in by roof and floor.

My God

does not require confessions and communions,  penance,  purgatory or hell.

My God

is not money, power, or greed.

My God

lives under my feet

in the cool moist soil and the hot desert sands,

crawls like the millipede upon its many legs and wriggles like the worms the Robins like to eat.

My God

lives in the buzzing of the bees’ wings and the thunder of the storm. Dwells under rocks and inside caves, mysterious and dark.

My God is not father,

but mother,

all soft curves and milky breasts,




My God is not there.

My God is here

in the song of the wood thrush and the babbling of the brook,

in the track of the little deer and the monarch on the milkweed.

in the wails of the whales and the roaming of the bison,

in the cries of the wolves howling at the moon, and

in the soft, reaching tendrils of the honeysuckle covered with dew.

If my God

is the earth

and the earth is in trouble,

what does that say about

my God?

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen