sna poems, series supplementum #33: muir woods

after visiting the state natural area muir park in marquette cty, wisconsin, leading a retreat at new camaldoli hermitage in big sur brought us to california. on the way, we stopped in at muir woods to complete the set. i’d been there a couple times before, but is there a way to get tired of seeing a redwood forest?

had a foggy and drizzly start, clearing up by the end of our time there on a couple loops. the redwoods are fantastic of course, but i loved training the eye on the understory to see what was happening and who was living there too. the redwood sorrel (first id) was fantastic—cousin to the yellow wood sorrel we have growing in our front yard but w/ arresting streaked flowers. also saw a pacific wren track a moth thru the air over the path, catch it, then proceed to knock it around under the sorrel canopy for three or four minutes until it stopped fighting, whereupon the wren gulped the moth down. intense!

first id’s too of california hedge nettle, california harebell, autumn hawkbit, california spikenard, american trailplant, a new kind of horsetail (field?), and pacific trillium. whew!


under the sorrel:

moth flapping,

savaged by barred wren

sna poems, series anthropocenum #16: downer woods

this 11-acre wood sits on uw-milwaukee’s campus and is being rehabilitated by the uwm field station. tucked right in there b/t campus and some housing, fenced in to keep out the riff-raff—you know, buckthorn and wild mustard et al.

it was a bitterly cold afternoon, but the sunlight and a small frozen rivulet afforded good fun for all. and we happened on a doodad-festooned tree that was a surprise.

the forest is sleeeeeping.


golden rivulet

piercing eye

in the bitter cold


a woodpecker’s knock

comes gently—

february air


dense suffocation

under leaves

on winter’s still ground

photo cred on the burrs to my second-born.

New Poem in St. Katherine Review

The first State Natural Area I visited here in Milwaukee County, Cudahy Woods, is a 40-acre plot that never got logged or developed and so is old growth in the middle of Wisconsin’s most urbanized county. It’s a delightful place and close to my heart because it’s where I started the project of teaching myself about Wisconsin’s flora and natural history.

And today I’m delighted to share that St. Katherine Review has graciously published one of my poems about this old-growth treasure. You can read it here, and do check out other work on their site—it doesn’t disappoint!