Kathy Dodd Miner

lives in Madison, where she wanders wide-eyed through life, writing down as much as she can. She has one spouse, two mostly-grown sons, two cats, a couple of part-time jobs and more hobbies than you can shake a stick at. Some of her best friends have been trees, and most of her favorite toys have been words.

kathy miner photo by jonathan miner

photo by Jonathan J. Miner

               "Us nature mystics got to stick together." – Edward Abbey

I'm a middle-aged,
with a marriage
and a mortgage
and a minivan,
moonlighting as a mystic –
and it's

   *  *  *  *  *


His name was George.
I remember that.  He was a white-haired man
from Milwaukee,
a retired music teacher,
and the year was 1983
and the scene was the Great River Festival –
I remember those things too.  But most of all I remember
that after I gave him twenty dollars
and he gave me a short piece of bamboo
with eight holes drilled in it
he said: There, now you
're a flutist.
If he had laid both hands on my shoulders
and chanted a benediction in an ancient tongue
it would have been no greater blessing,
for the song of that simple flute
has trilled in and out of my life
ever since, an instrument for my tears
and my joy
and my deepening love.  I have played it
in the open air and near the water, in the company of crows
and canoeists
and coots,
sending my humble notes aloft
in praise of the new day, and in celebration
of all there is.  Wherever George is now,
do they reach him?

Does he know?

   *  *  *  *  *

With the will to see more than is there, one comes, at moments
To perceive the more that there is:  from behind gray curtains of low expectation
It is drawn forth, resplendent.
               – Denise Levertov

There is a slender gap
between not knowing and knowing, and this space
is where
abides.  Not a thunderclap but
a whisper – a carrot
dangled before my awareness and
jerked quickly away –
Look again, it says, there is something more here;
and I do,
and the duck is a hooded merganser or
the little brown bird in the brushpile is
not a sparrow but a hermit thrush, or
the glint in the dirty sidewalk reveals
a tiny gold heart set with diamonds
or a hawk feather
at my feet.
The gentlest of thumbs
takes hold of my chin and
directs my attention
to something as yet unregistered
by my conscious mind.
I would not ignore this invitation;
I am a grateful guest in
this house, this place of wonder.

   *  *  *  *  *


Out walking at noon
in steamy midsummer, escaping from conditioned air,
she breathes the sweet scent of
a field of clover.  In the simple spirit of her childhood
she stoops to gather four blossoms and
knots them together about her left wrist,
that she might have their fragrance all afternoon
as she works
in a room with sealed windows.
It will become a medicine for her:
always clover,
always four,
always a bracelet,
that with each motion of her arm
all the rest of the day
she may smell honey
and sunshine.

© K.D. Miner