Mary’s House by Sara Wright

Feminists have always found holy places in the forest, under trees, near springs or wells or by rivers and streams and this year my refuge has been the forest, where the goddess lives still…I have spent most of the summer visiting in a very special forest, one that has been protected by people who have bought up thousands of acres to protect the land from motorized vehicles and other machines that ruin the earth. Old trees shade an understory that is thick with new growth, ground cover and mushrooms abound. There are beaver ponds and springs, rivers, and bogs. When I enter the narrow winding barely discernable paths I feel as if I am parting a veil to enter a holy place because the trees have been allowed to grow and the forest is so healthy.

 My body is fractured at a cellular level because of the noise around my house – guns, fireworks, screaming motorcycles, belching trucks, traffic – so I must take to the woods to survive.

Sitting at the edge of a slow moving stream or pond I see reflections of the sky and trees that are accurately portrayed, above and below meeting as one undivided whole, so unlike our cultural picture that has become frighteningly polarized and distorted. Calmed by the water’s images I release societal horrors, the hideous sounds of human noise while listening to birds singing and imagining that I could just stay here, not just during the day, but at night. About ten days ago I was offered a little seasonal camp to stay in, at least sometimes, on this vast property. Stunned, I could barely comprehend the offer. In exchange for occasional use of this summer abode I have offered to write stories about being there… What follows is my initial response to this improbable happening. Mary was my first goddess. I fell in love with her as a child in a woodland grotto…

Mary’s House

Leaves scatter

shushing, whushing


beech, oak, pine

coat emerald moss,

  nature’s mulch

piling up

around my feet.

 I pass under

the gate

still firmly shut

in welcome. 

Mary’s House

 is carved out

of Forest Peace.

Hemlocks so

rotund I cannot

begin to

circle them

don’t stop me

hugging a tree

that beckons…

 Under the surface

cambium breathes,

having been seen.

 A sister gestures.

I stand beneath her

soothed by rough skin

and a fountain

of green fronds,

cascading needled


 I imagine cracked stars

 at night.


partridgeberry creeps

over fertile ground,

  clings to speckled stone.

crimson fruits ripen…

A slanted

 noonday star

fractures light

under a canopy

 of elders whose elegant

crowns converse overhead.


root tips embrace

 fungal networks,

engage in animated


Beech leaves

 wave golden


A cluster of


captures my attention…

 One dying maple limb

lets others grow.

From death to life

Always  –

Nature in the Round.

Whose dream am I living?

Is it really true

I will find Refuge here

 by a river

in whose reflection

 Mary’s House appeared?


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: Feminism and Religion, General, Herstory, Mary, meditations, Poetry

Tags: ,

7 replies

  1. Yes, Hooray to Janet!!!

    Sara, I’m glad you’ve got the woods to go to for comfort. No woods near me, but Long Beach has a really wonderful park where, years ago, a friend who lived in Topanga Canyon came down here once a month to lead moonlight walks under the full moon. These walks were beautiful escapes from the city noise.

    I’m especially glad that someone set aside and protected your woods from the machines of society, i.e., from our busyness. Biden is reversing some of the orange T. Rex’s orders to build on or cut down or frack public lands and national parks. Hopefully, more people will find refuge as you find it. Bright blessings!


    • Unfortunately the mountain i live on is not protected – I have to get in my car and drive 15 minutes to forests that have been left alone. On this mountain they have snowmobiling/4 wheeling – ugh everything – The New Community Forest.


  2. And a hooray for Janet from me, too!

    What a lovely exploration of your refuge! I especially love the line “Mary’s House is carved out of Forest Peace.” I can feel the peace in your words. We all need a sanctuary, but so few of us realize this is what we need or how to find it. Thank you for sharing this special place with us! I look forward to more posts about your experiences there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I look forward to writing about them! Thanks Carolyn – gosh it’s good to hear from everybody again!
    or some of us anyway!


  4. Beautiful, beautiful post and poetry. I’m there in the sacred woods with you, breathing the pure green air.

    Liked by 1 person

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