Bio Note: During the pandemic, going for walks in nature (rain or shine) has become my daily practice to feel grounded in mind, body, and spirit. Learning to knit has also become a saving grace —15 scarves this past year. My 9th poetry collection, The Sound of a Collective Pulse, is due to be published in October, 2021 by Kelsay Books.
How to Stay Grounded in Times of Flux
Do not cling to clouds, but rather notice the billowing outlines. Notice the shades of opal-like white morphing into hues of heather gray or charcoal, misty smoke. See the blue behind the sky’s pillows and know that this promise exists for you, too. When the snow melts to rivulets on the sidewalk, and the earth thaws to a softening green bed, be barefoot in the yard, let roots reach beneath your feet to the very center of soil. Let the trees know you are listening. Walk in the sun as much as you can, so that your hair is light-soaked and your cheeks are kissed by rays of canary yellow. Just the movement of following the sun’s progress connects you to every other living thing seeking oxygen, a community of breath. Green yourself like a leaf, drinking in droplets of water, slowing yourself down to the minute pace of growth. Your stillness becomes part of the landscape, so that even the wind thinks you are tied to the earth by invisible strings, inextricably connected by a force greater than human ambition. You have left that nonsense behind in favor of branches and birdsong. When a storm comes, you are grounded.
Originally published in Silver Birch Press, March 2021
The Shifting Diagonal
inspired by an image by Jakob Owens Knowing that we are both sinking— that we are all sinking— I search your eyes for answers in a world that is now tilted— a world where the lens is a muddled turquoise. There is an echo of fear from all of the years that have gone before. We are trembling, as children do, after being swaddled in scratchy towels. Parents reassuring us with promises of a rainbow ice pop. We long for that swaddling— for someone to gently adjust the blinds at twilight, and cook up a pot of something bubbly, steaming, and tomato-based— fresh baked bread in a warm bowl. Looking into the nature of want and longing, we see ourselves in the mirror pool of eyes. My soulful brown ovals meet your Aegean Sea blues. I gaze into the deep forever of tomorrow. The floor beneath our feet shifts on the diagonal. The sky tilts, too. The only way through is to float and hold hands. If we lose sight of the shore, at least we will not lose each other.
Originally published in Visual Verse, August 2019
River Source of Strength
Knowing eyes contain the warmth of summer’s sun-kissed rays and the patience of endless days. This was my grandmother’s all-embracing grace, bestowed with each, gentle cradle of my palm. Stories of family emerged on her tongue, as she held my hand. History passed from skin to skin this way. She spoke of the island of her ancestors, goats clinging to cliffs, and the persistence of the people who made a life there. She brought this steadfast devotion with her to the mainland. It followed her every movement, like a feather of smoke— from the job she earned based on her ability to sew a special button, to her brave first steps after having a stroke. To find courage at every new beginning is the great river source of strength.
Originally published in Trees in a Garden of Ashes, Local Gems Press, 2020
©2021 Cristina M. R. Norcross
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