Sunday, October 14, 2018

The White Bear

Photo: (c) Creative Commons (modified)

I had few stuffed animals as a child. One was
a soft white bear. I loved him. He comforted.
He was given to me when I was in the hospital,
when people thought I was dying.

I outlived that bear.


It was a hot summer’s day, when I saw one at the zoo,
in a concrete cage with an algaed-concrete pool that
he paced the edges of, swinging his big head
back and forth as if he was saying “No” and
again, “No”, continuously, “No”, to his circumstances.
Our eyes never met. If they had, I don’t think
I could have found his soul in there.

I was a young girl then. I think his soul found mine,
and haunts me still. He paces at the edge of my dreams.

We are all built for something.

The white bear: mastery of the desolate, of
intimacy with place, of the interface of stark
beauty and harsh realities.

Me, woman now: telling stories about the
silences that must be heard, by many.


I don’t know where our relationship is going,
the white bear and me. Increasingly, our lives are
about fragments:

Melting, fracturing ice flows and stories that don’t
fit together as well as they used to. Reconstruction
isn’t always possible. What happens when we
can no longer trek long, formidable landscapes
under paw or in the imagination?

Do we die?


I want to say “No!” to these circumstances.

We have to keep a place in this world for
things that find no comfort in our company,
but remind us that we long to know of them.

I want.

I want the white bear to outlive me.

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
For the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2018

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

In the Unsuitable

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

If anyone says, “There’s nothing to do,”
say, “Celebrate beauty,”
but only if you mean it,
only, if you’ve seen it, only if you know for sure
that you can find it in the obvious places
and also in those places that everyone else
considers unsuitable —
because it’s finding it in those moments and
in those places
that saves this world.

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Queen Anne's Lace

Photo:  (c) Jamie K. Reaser

These changes are given to us so that we pay attention
to what is really important, ask questions,
and live restlessly enough to grow into something
earthy and divine.

When her smock arrives in the old fields, shuttling
back and forth in the breeze, I know to
reflect on gratitude:

Have I been inhabiting it well enough?

Summer days are numbered.

I’ve never been able to answer, yes,
but that’s okay. Gratitude is a timeless thing.
You can cast it backwards or forwards and
live into it in any given moment.

And, so, I’m thankful to be in the good
company of white flowers that rise
above the grass,

weaving the fabric of the
human soul.

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

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Thursday, July 26, 2018


Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

What is a moment? Where
does it begin? When does it end?

How does it spread itself across time?

I want to know if it is a line,
or a circle that has perfected storytelling.

I think that it can be the look in a doe’s
eye when she sees me seeing her
and we both lay down form,
like a sword, at our feet.

There is also the moon, how it comes
through the trees later that night, and

how the tree frogs will crawl, lanky-legged, out onto
the branches and trill lullabies to those
who believe that dreams aren’t just something
that happens to us while we sleep.

If I rush everywhere, as I’m prone to do,
I can’t find a moment,

though, logically, it’s there
in the company of so many others.

I don’t have time.

And, yet, I know the child of me walked in the woods,
and played in brooks,
and had long conversations with
friends that were never ever imaginary. 

So, that’s why I was there,
that late summer afternoon,
standing in the woods, praying for
patience to come back to me. 

And, that's why, in that moment, 
I was there, wondering 
what the doe had been praying for.

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Bear

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

It was a summer twilight when we met,
flanked in coneflower and wild bergamot,
a blackberry bush that we shared.
There was mud on the trail from the rains
that fell just hours before. We both made
impressions in it.

Sometimes it feels like it will kill me to
walk away from beauty. It's what I

What's dangerous is what we have
forgotten most about this world.

(c) 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Song of the Phoenix

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

What can be said about you in truth is unknown,
but still you hearten long-wearied worlds with
the idea that we can rise again from
dear things destroyed.

What form are you?
What color?

I think the story tellers have taken their
liberties with what is visible, while leaving the great
sages to contemplate despair, wonderment, joy
and other unsleepable things that cannot be seen.

What calls out to you to do as you do for
five hundred years at a turn without reward
or even the acrid scent of mercy?

Ashes to ashes, note the most trusted scribes,
till thou return unto the ground;
for out of it wast thou taken:
for dust thou art, and unto dust
shalt thou return,

though they didn’t realize that it was you
at the time of scripture.

Your entombment and decay,
teachings, warnings, reckonings:

we must not diminish the ancestor’s
departing blessedness for the ancestor is the
vessel from which new life emerges.

So must say the toad of the tadpole,
the tree of the seed,

the man of his mother,
the woman of this earth, and

the earth of something wordless.

I’ve never heard spoken of your song,
but recently I learned it

as it glided, breathlessly,
across my own vocal chords
in response to some beckoning
from above.

It seems that I am the Life that
has been left behind.

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Tucked In

Art: Mark Collins

Do you remember it, being tucked in? Secure.
Afraid of nothing. Faithful. There was a trust
in something greater, wasn’t there? To be held.
Something so big from something so simple.

At bedtime, did you request it?

“Tuck me in, please.”

“Please, tuck me in.”

So, the barred owl was there in the beech,
tucked in, peering outward to the world
with dark round eyes that I couldn’t quite figure,
but there was something big and meaningful
behind them, maybe something pained, and I
thought about things that I hadn’t been thinking
about, not before the owl:

How sometimes we need to be held tightly,
and for long enough. Long enough is so

How as an adult it can seem so very hard to
get tucked in. Maybe there’s a hug, yes. But,
is it long enough?

How it seems we’ve lost our trust, maybe
our faith in something greater, a caring
something. Caring is so important.

There is a longing I know well.


I think about being tucked in and
wonder: could this be our animal

Do we, all of us, need to know
that we are being held?

And, do we need to trust that it
will be for long enough?

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
A book collaboration in progress with artist Mark Collins
"Tucked In" has been accepted into the Birds In Art Exhibition

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