The Wild Muse

wildness, wonder, and the spirit of place


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Un-Schooled: Valuing What No One Else Can Tell You

I have been disturbed lately by the constant battle of those I love against the educational model and how we can best abide by learning vs. independent thought.

The Wild Muse

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.  ~Kahlil Gibran 

We are a society that values academia but questions knowledge. Education that does not come with an invoice is overlooked or deemed suspect. Students are funneled through grad schools, seminaries, mail-order certification courses, and retreats aimed to connect student with guru/teacher/master, the one who claims to have “the word”. There’s no end to the deluge of purchased thought and those willing to sell. Those who question this blind system of organized education are simply labeled uneducated, outlaw, savage, unenlightened, or delinquent. When education is criticized, said criticism pertains to problems in public schools, lack of funding for educators and low-income students, and failing state colleges. Rarely, does one read an article about the problems inherent in the institutionalization of learning. 

Quite possibly, the biggest challenge…

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Sickness, in Three Parts

I. Song of Light

Through smoke you arrive
I am a child to be held
My hands push through dark
I am full of drumming and rain
And you call to me
The kind of thief I need – the loot
That will save
I want what you bring
I wait at the table
With this want
Between us
You tell me to pray
I bow my head
And you take leave

Return to stars

II. A Man

It is acceptable to suffer
When the veil lifts
And the day is so bright
My eyes burn and I rejoice

A man stands in the entrance
We are animals – the fear
Forms on us, so we stink
Of this ending life

I hand him my circles
And threads
He hands me his circles
And threads

We are bowls of sun
But we still grope in the dark
Flesh of earth
We dig deeper into wounds

III. The House

At first, it was harmless
I crawled into you
You entered the house
You were the flesh
From light
The body god made
When she was lonely

Now we walk
Together and speak of our lovers
Forgiveness and Mercy
Those lives under our feet
Waiting to spring up beside us

I could enter the house again
I could scream the boards into place
Wrap moss into ceiling

She always gives me the choice

Here we breathe
We gather songs

She wants to know what it will be –
The dark house
Or the starlit world?

I roll stones into place
I wait with the futureless animals
I sing to owls

It’s better this way…

The song
Of the protected


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Survival Games

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Last night, on my way across the concrete sprawl of Central Phoenix, I encountered a scene straight out of some 1940s dystopic novel. The sky lit into an orange-black mass where funnels of smoke formed and people wandered around bus stops in 115 degrees, waiting for the bus… maybe just waiting. Sirens and helicopters stabbed at any kind of silence and bled into white noise. The streets were dirty. It was a mess. I watched the slow motion surrealism at the intersection in my jeep – now without air conditioning – waiting (and sweating) for the light to change and I could once again be moving through.

For someone who loves being in the stillness and retreat of nature, this scene is jarring. It occurred to me, in the cacophony and chaos, that there are very few of us who are willing and able to leave the noise and crowds for an experience to know ourselves without familiar surroundings and many distractions. Babies scream. Dogs are left in backyards to bark through day and night. Traffic hums. The heat here even seems to make some kind of sound – the exhaustion of overworked air conditioners, the muted phone conversations of people hermetically sealed in their air-conditioned sedans.

The noise is almost like a cover for a deepen truth none of us are willing to face. Could it be we have lost our innate senses? Have we stopped listening to the wind? Do we know what our skin feels like in July or how certain places contain intense magic and mystery? Do we run from intuition?

At the office, fear dominates. We fear not getting enough or getting more than we can handle. We fear getting laid off – the next best employee scooping our promotion. This fear stays tantamount to our misery. It has its own sound: in rumbling, upset guts, in whispered gossip, in our hearts constricting under high blood pressure and lethargy-borne diseases.

At home, we talk on phones at imaginary connections. When not on our phones, we blast TVs from two rooms away, play music… distract ourselves online. Then we drop into bed with the weight of insomnia and too few hours of sleep to hit the repeat button the next day.

In love, we seek the tide of desire. We escape into the flower-blood romance – the pulsating glow of sighs and cars. We sell ourselves to marriage, to encounters, to sexual fears so spoiled in their claustrophobic expressions we do not even begin to know them.

“What do you want…really,” I ask.
Inside, I turn answers of my own around some imaginary playground where children, the children I – maybe – someday – want – sing their child songs.
I turn lovers into fables. I make myths of men – their diamond promises and vampire kiss.
In the heart of Phoenix, I believe I am always leaving on one of the planes flying in and out of here.

Outside, the lights of the city blot out the star-scape. I wish for one night of darkness. I watch my neighbors walk their dogs. It is late and the desperate voices talk over dinner… hushed, wondering….

Let’s get away, I whisper.