What blazes the way


Just a little hello. In addition to homeschooling, and regular life, I’ve started taking an herbal course, which means that all my extra moments are spent on materia medica and stirring up potions. When I was a girl, I wanted to be a witch, and it turns out I was right. Wanted to share this with you, which I read for the first time the other day . . .

Skunk Cabbage
by Mary Oliver

And now as the iron rinds over
the ponds start dissolving,
you come, dreaming of ferns and flowers
and new leaves unfolding,
upon the brash
turnip-hearted skunk cabbage
slinging its bunches leaves up
through the chilling mud.
You kneel beside it. The smell
is lurid and flows out in the most
unabashed way, attracting
into itself a continual spattering
of protein. Appalling its rough
green caves, and the thought
of the thick root nested below, stubborn
and powerful as instinct!
But these are the woods you love,
where the secret name
of every death is life again – a miracle
wrought surely not of mere turning
but of dense and scalding reenactment. Not
tenderness, not longing, but daring and brawn
pull down the frozen waterfall, the past.
Ferns, leaves, flowers, the last subtle
refinements, elegant and easeful, wait
to rise and flourish.
What blazes the trail is not necessarily pretty.

2 Responses to “What blazes the way”

  1. 1

    Look forward to hearing about your witching. I think I’ve been a witch since birth….always mixing potions and concoctions…still going 41 years on!!

  2. 2

    Thanks Henrietta!

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