Mirror Reflections by Sara Wright

The Old Woman still lives in the Forest as she once did in fairy tales. She can present her dark side to those who are uninitiated (mirror mirror on the wall…) but she also offers gifts to those that visit her wild untrammeled places… After a week spent in a forest where a river snakes her way through thousands of acres and beavers act as transformers I wrote this poem because even with the astonishing autumn crimson, orange, and gold I was drawn repeatedly to the mirror reflections of trees, leaves, clouds and sky in the still pools. When I untangled the why I wrote this poem realizing that what caught me was the importance of having an accurate reflection from another, person, or aspect of nature in which to see the world and self as whole. Accurate reflections are intimately tied to relationships of all kinds.

 Mirror Reflections

Relationship needs honest
Reflection – S/he knows a
Broken mirror won’t do.

Water is made of magic
  above and below
 Sky blue, slate gray,
  piercing orange
  flames fly through
 thin air –shafts of light
slice wavy ripples
  embrace the river’s flow,
Sand hill cranes
 and geese soar overhead…

Relationship needs clear
 Reflection – S/he knows a
Broken mirror won’t do.

 Each gnawed wooden point –
 burnished poplar
 black alder
 golden ash, witch hazel,
   one hundred year old  
 maple seeks the flume.
 Forage must find home.

Relationship needs clear
 Reflection – S/he knows a
Broken mirror won’t do.

 Felled trees splash down
 float on still waters
 where peace loving beavers
meditate during the day,
 transform lowlands
into sedges and grass lined
 pools at dusk and dawn.

Relationship needs clear
 Reflection – S/he knows a
Broken mirror won’t do

Building bridges and mounds
 made of arrow sharp
 twigs and trunks
set a powerful example
for emulation.
 Furry bodies follow
a father’s lead –
   learning by imitation,
 heeding voices from below –
iridescent pools murmur:
‘widen, deepen, me more’.

Relationship needs honest
 Reflection – S/he knows a
Broken mirror won’t do

The Forest
 thanks the builders
for creating islands of light
 where seedlings thrive
and mushrooms sprout,
for gifting them
with ponds for thirst
 driven roots.
  Three lobed trillium,
   leathery trailing arbutus,
creeping partridge berry
wind delicate silvery threads
  around whirling
 wild cucumber spires.

Relationship needs honest
 Reflection – S/he knows a
Broken mirror won’t do

Ever expanding
waters are banked
with slabs of mud.
 The Bridge
is sound,
 Elixir is rising.
Fish will come.
 Kingfisher’s rattle
will herald the shift.
Papa Beaver orchestrates
 Changes in the Round.

Relationship needs honest
 Reflection – He knows a
Broken mirror won’t do.

I wrote this poem and three others before them after a week spent in a forest that hasn’t been logged since long before the industrialized logging machine took over in the 80’s. Two hundred year old trees are so common that it’s hard to look in any direction and not see one. Thick gnarled roots stretch across the paths meeting those of their neighbors. The understory is rich with young hemlock, pine, ash, beech, witch hazel, hobble, and a multitude of other berry bushes. There is not a bare patch of ground anywhere. Princess pine, ground cedar, trailing arbutus, wintergreen partridge- berry, wild cucumber, trillium, blue bead lilies, lady slipper and other orchids, lichen, and mosses of all kinds carpet every inch of needle-strewn duff. There are still so many mushrooms even though it is mid fall. I literally spent weeks this summer in their company, barely lifting my eyes from the earth out of which these glorious fruiting bodies sprung. Ancient stumps have either borne stout trees or are bursting with mosses, lichens, seedlings of every conceivable kind. The air is thick and sweet blending all these forested scents into an intoxicating bouquet. Because it has been left to care for itself the entire forest is thriving. A meandering river runs through much of this land; unexpected pools gather under granite ledges, beneath the graceful hemlocks arcing their lacy green fronds over the edges of what we know. I am captivated by the truth behind the images I see in the water; I look up and a clear mirror shines overhead. There is so much ground cover, such a rich understory, canopy, natural openings left by blow – downs, and ponds created by nature’s architects and builders, the beavers. Seconds after entering a barely discernable heavily wooded path S/he claims me as her own as I am transported into an eternal now. The Spirit and Soul of the Forest live here, that same force that once rose up out of the earth to embrace me on my own land…

 Painfully, oh so painfully over a period of the last twenty years I experienced the power of the Spirit and Soul of nature diminish with each clear cut, each widening of the road, each choking of the brook with filth, each machine gun blast, each rabid speeding truck belching black smoke, each division of precious land, each new impossibly green lawn. Speeding traffic, guns, bombs and fireworks split the nights with intent to intimidate or harm; thugs and bullies became the norm. Perpetual human induced noise, day and night shattered the cells in my body. As the spirit and soul of the land retreated further and further I began to lose access to the light in myself, which is not surprising because the gift of Silence is necessary in order for me to hear the Voices of the forest, let alone feel them. Finding peace has become an obsession, as well as trying to figure out how to get out of this human induced madness – everyone is on the run … where it will end I do not know.

 Becoming part of a forest like this lets me participate, if only briefly, in the Great Mystery that is Nature and I am restored to sanity and dreaming once more….

After a week spent roaming in these woods I dream that I receive a gift – a little gray female bird flies into my arms, and I hold her tightly, waking up feeling my arms cradling her precious body. She carries eggs inside her. I feel joy that she has come.

Three earlier poems written that same week can be found on my blog –  sarawrightnature.wordpress.com.

Scarlet Sounding
Sanborn River Song


Sara is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.

Categories: Eco-systems, Ecofeminism, Indigenous Spirituality, Nature

Tags: , ,

9 replies

  1. Beautiful! This reminds me of how so many spiritual traditions include mirrors as sacred objects and the story of Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess who retreated to a cave at the horrors of the world and was enticed out by seeing the reflection of her beauty in a mirror.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. yes, reflecting on my current obsession with natural mirrors I thought again and again of the power of the magic mirror in so many traditions…. there is something about water mirroring sky… Thanks Carolyn

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been noticing the reflections in the water of the (artifically-created) pond near my house as the water level is lowered in preparation for winter.
    I love the analogy that human relationships depend on our being able to reflect back to one another.


  4. I’m a child of the suburbs (I grew up in Ferguson, Missouri) and have never spent any time in a forest, but I do remember seeing the trees in the fall in the Midwest. Your descriptions of the colors and the beauty are inspiring. I think clear cutting is doing a major injury to our Blessed Mother Earth. Even I, the city girl, can see that chopping the forests down to turn them into plantations is destroying the homes of innumerable creatures–furry, feathered, finned–as well as people. Thanks for this post. Bright blessings.


  5. Barbara, it doesn’t matter where you live – we are all being affecting by the slaughter of our trees. Trees clean the water and air, bring us rain, allow us to breathe – how we can continue to destroy them so mindlessly is frankly beyond my ability to comprehend – even the machine loses when we run out of trees…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful poem, Sara! I envy you that time spent in the deep woods. I get out in the woods as much as I can and doing that restores me. However I only have a tiny bit of woods surrounded by homes and far too close to the road, so I hear traffic all the time. I also hear construction equipment – more fancy homes being built on what used to be 100 acres of woods. It just broke my heart when that land became a development. I also hear guns frequently, especially since it is almost hunting season. Even so, I’m grateful for my home and the woods. I’m from overcrowded Southern California so I really appreciate even the little bit of woods around me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have guns and traffic around me too – I am just fortunate to have an untouched forest 10 minutes away – today it was blasts that drove me out but here just water and stillness…..like you I am grateful – this time of years dogs and I hike and then I crawl in the back of the car and watch the sun slip down through the trees


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