An Unexpected Love Story & Three Love Poems from the Earth

An Unexpected Love Story & Three Love Poems from the Earth

Published in Elephant Journal, February 2018.

If you love it enough, anything will talk with you.

George Washington Carver

After years of looking, it finally happened—I found true love, and it was deeper, sweeter, and simpler than anything I had known before. I wasn’t on, in a bar, or at a party. I found it when I wasn’t even looking, and in an unexpected way—by going out “alone” into nature.

I didn’t fall in love with a handsome stranger I met on a wooded trail, at least not in the conventional sense. The love I found was less personal, more primal, and deliciously sensuous. I fell in love with trees and streams, mosses and flowers, chickadees and coyotes, with the sound of leaves whispering in the wind. I fell in love with the vast, glorious beauty and mystery of the living world—and while our relationship was by no means exclusive, it was profoundly satisfying.

Until then, I had been good friends with nature, and enjoyed many happy hours hiking, swimming, kayaking, and camping in wild places. Still, I had no idea how much more intimate and nourishing my relationship with the natural world could be—until a life-changing transition led me to approach it in a different way.

In 2010, after many years of activist work, I knew it was time to find a new path to service, and that I needed to connect with greater wisdom to discover my true calling. I sensed I could find what I was seeking in nature, but that I needed to shift my orientation to do that.

Instead of going out with friends and hiking at a steady clip, I was drawn to go solo, to move slowly, to be quiet and receptive. I still loved hiking, but now I also loved to settle into one place and listen. I would sit by a creek and watch the water flow, or lean into a tree and gaze up through the branches, falling under nature’s spell. I practiced opening myself to whatever thoughts or feelings wanted to come.

In this way, I received many beautiful and surprising gifts: direct experiences of profound peace and unconditional love, a sense of coming home to my true self, and a communion with something much greater than myself. And I heard a clear, powerful answer to my quest for a new calling: to invite people into a more mindful and intimate connection with the natural world.

I also received a large body of creative work to support that calling—workshops, articles, practices, and most surprising to me, poems—hundreds of them. Although I loved reading poetry, I hadn’t written it as an adult or even aspired to do so. Still, by immersing myself in nature and listening for what wanted to come, I had inadvertently created a large, poem-sized opening—and the poems flowed through it abundantly.

Poetry and nature are now two of the greatest loves of my life, and they give me so much. Time and again, they help me to see the peace and beauty of the living world more clearly; to recognize that all beings can be my friends and allies; and to remember that I am never truly alone or without love. My hope is that this these poems will remind you of your innate kinship with all life, inspire you to deepen that connection, and spark more unexpected love stories.

Make Love with the Earth

Make love
with the Earth.

Let her
have her way
with you.

Let her caress
your naked feet,
crawl up into your clothes.

Better yet,
slip them off
and let them fall
like leaves
to the ground,

so she can behold
your soft, animal skin,
your naked glory.

Let yourself be undone.

Lie with your belly
on her belly.

Inhale her heady aroma.
Give yourself to her.

Let her mark you
with her rich, fertile scent,
the scent of life itself.

Let her whisper
her dark, moist secrets
to you,

the beautiful
wild animal
deep inside you.

Let her
remind you
who you really are.

In the Arms of My Beloved

Resting in the arms
of my beloved,
I breathe deep
and easy,

taking refuge
in the sweet peace
of our union.

His quiet, steady presence
and gentle embrace
speak a language
older and deeper
than words,

penetrating the core
of my being
in a way
no human partner
ever has

with the
message that

I am safe,
I am loved,
all is well.

I was so thirsty
for this way
of knowing.

I drink deeply.

I have entered into
the mind
of the tree,
and he
has entered me.

I will never
be alone

What if…?

What if the leaves,
stirred to singing
by the breeze,
sing with even more joy
when they notice
you are listening?

What if the small white flower
quivers with delight
when you notice
her tiny
yet honorable
to the beauty
of this world?

And what if
that brief moment
is all she needs
to know that her life
is worth living,
all her efforts
not in vain?

What if the trees
feel the depth
of your pain,
and are quietly
reaching toward you,
offering solace
with everything
they have to give?

What if the whales
diving into the deep blue
can feel your love
for them,
even across all that
open ocean?

What if the water,
weary from
her endless journey,
is replenished by
your gratitude,
which gives her
the strength
to keep going?

What if the Earth
longs to feel
the caress
of your naked feet
on her warm, brown skin?

And what if
the granite mountain,
no matter how remote
and immovable
he may seem,
feels a quiet shiver of joy
when you are touched
by his majestic beauty?

What if…?