Shadows on the Wall by Sara Wright

The following poems were written after making a decision to move into an apartment for the winter, and then struggling to understand what went wrong. Instead of community I met with hostility, and as we know one breeds the other, and for a time I got caught by my shadow too.

Called home out of necessity and need, the longer I stayed the harder it was to leave even when 16 feet of snow crashed down from the roof blocking the entire front of my house. ‘The Peace of the Wild Things’ is in my blood and as hard as I try, I can’t seem to make an adjustment to living in a town where crows and men rule, and birdsong is absent though migration is under way.

Last night I dreamed that Little Deer, (a very real small deer who lives on my land with his mother) who also carries my Indigenous name, was struggling to get to my window at home, though I am here. He couldn’t make it through the snow. It was just too deep. His struggle and mine are one. The night before, on the seed moon, his mother, Red Deer, appeared just outside the same window around midnight…

How to interpret such dreaming and experience is always the challenge, even when Nature speaks through two of her own…Am I being called home by my Indigenous roots? What I know is that here, I am locked into isolation that deadens me.

I have committed repeatedly to keeping an open mind, although not one person has welcomed me; virtually all have criticized my every move – focusing on my dogs. Just two days ago another complaint came in about my little girls – even though they hadn’t been here for almost two weeks! Obviously, someone is deliberately using the dogs to intimidate/blame insisting that I am not cleaning up after them when I am. Two days ago, I wrote to the owner naming the bullying and harassment that I continue to experience.

I have given up asking why.

What has happened is that I am starting to realize that harassment and hostility are not the real problems. But apparently being here is.

First of all, this behavior constellated my own harpie! I have ruefully acknowledged her as a part of myself, and that helps a lot.

  As a result, I am in the process of letting go of the confusion, anger, and resentment I initially felt, although I still feel keen disappointment. I have tried to imagine what kind of lives these people are living – lives perhaps without meaning attached. Bitterness perhaps.

I am also refusing to make a decision at this time. The practical part of me says it is time to leave my home in the winter, but my soul body is struggling, so I keep taking her home, grateful that I still have a home to go to. I cast daily circles of protection around us, and prayers for clarity are ongoing.

I am grateful that I am old enough to be patient. I also suspect that the hand of patriarchy is behind the confusion I can’t seem to let go of. My feelings are being blocked, which means my poor body is stuck experiencing unpleasant bodily symptoms. I can’t feel what I think I know.

I remind myself that I grew up in an ocean of confusion – whatever I thought and felt was dismissed as nonsense if it wasn’t ‘nice’… the deadly pattern is repeating.

I share this conundrum because it is helpful to do so for me, and also, because I hope this writing might help others. When I am having difficulties, writing poems seems to help me articulate points that journaling doesn’t. The latter – too rational maybe?

Split Nomad

Betwixt and Between
How can this be?
Sounds of Silence
Soul stitched
to Nature
Cardinal whistles
Turkey Twitters
White pines
Open skies
Winding brook
Waters rippling
as they rise
Sweet breathing
Beloved animals
And yet
Tortured body
drowns in
churning waters
I can’t let go
Day after day
Even here
a crimson stain
on the snow
White Blobs of
Blinding Light

All Night Long

Steel and eggshells
Screaming Harpies
twisting meaning
Dead eyes
absence of kindness
one room to hide
Another kind
of prison
even the dogs
walk on air.

Flowing like Water

In the dream
I stand snow – bound
at the Crossroad
a still point
two paths
only I
can chose . . .

Postscript on snow.

 When snow covers the land and forest I love, I struggle to stay attached to the deep green religion of hope, so psychically I am more vulnerable in the winter than during the other three seasons…My body thrives when her feet are touching brown earth. And from a visual standpoint, months of snow also creates monochromatic monotony… It is no surprise to me that Death roams the hills and valleys of winter’s snow.

In the distance

Flowing Water
soothes . . .
Ice, snow
frozen feeling.
Not mine to own.
Powerless in
their fear
these women
hen houses . . .
caught by
droning on . . .
I choose
to flow
like water
the forest


Author: Sara Wright

I am a writer and naturalist who lives in a little log cabin by a brook with my two dogs and a ring necked dove named Lily B. I write a naturalist column for a local paper and also publish essays, poems and prose in a number of other publications.

7 thoughts on “Shadows on the Wall by Sara Wright”

  1. Oh, Sara, I so wish I lived closer. And I wish I could share my supportive neighbours. Feel my positive vibes coming from the northwest.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My friend, return to the wild. Trust me, the city breeds anger and resentment. I was just thinking the other day about this. Apartments were originally supposed to be about Community making life easier. Instead it has brought together the most hostile elements of society.

    And even people with good intentions tend to become hostile busy bodies who don’t know how to mind their own business. I keep praying for a track of land somewhere and a home for my family and myself. To be out there among nature. And far the hell away from most people. Or even to make a sanctuary for animals and people I choose, specifically homeless people.

    Or people down on their luck. So we can work together. The more I live in “modern” or “civilized” society, the more I feel like screaming into the void. Take capitalist exploitation of the masses which is getting worse everyday, and is it any wonder we have such a large suicide rate in this country? It’s insane. We need……a new society.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for this response… I realize how absurd it was to expect some kind of community -in that sense I set myself up. I am living at home now permanently though I still have things there. My plants will return as soon as the path is clear of snow – the latter just won’t quit this year – I never remember a year when we had this much snow so late in the spring – I am still ambivalent about giving up this place – it’s the practical aspect that’s keeping me stuck – my self says stay here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have to be where you feel the best.
      Otherwise, you are denying yourself. And there is nothing practical about that my friend. Take it from a person who has denied himself his whole life to be “practical”. I wish I could go back and do the things I wanted to do. Instead of what I believed was “responsible”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This response I LIKE a lot… my problem is that i have been driven all my life by what I needed most which was and is access to nature – I have never been able to help it – let me tell you how impractical I have been…. this is the source of my present conundrum

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It sounds to me like you need a re-orientation. Perhaps a reading or evaluation from an Elder. Or even commune yourself with nature and ask the spirits and the Goddess for inner sight. Let your heart guide you. Forget your mind and that voice that says “this isn’t feasible”.

          Doing that is essentially making a dream come true. What more noble persuit is there than that?


Please familiarize yourself with our Comment Policy before posting.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: