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how I found the deer’s skull
on a cold walk with my wife and daughter
where it last lay down its bones
in tall grass near the hilltop
most bones scavenged over time
some vertebrae and ribs
still strewn about
—newly naked bone
how I carried it downhill
placed it        between
two forking branches
above a welcoming flat slanted rock
our meditation seat
set in the center
of a stand of branches
a concave blind we made
to shield us from the sight
of keen-eyed passersby
along the road that winds
above our steep incline
—our meditation place
how I sat on that flat rock
the following dawn
beneath the twin white oak trees
two towering lovers fusing roots
caressing limbs in wind
sat down there and prayed
for blessings on this place
for peace upon all places
on Gaia’s green breathing dermis
in her undulating waters
— down to her molten core
how I called
upon the powers of this land
like so many times before
to strengthen our communion
whispering uplift us lift up the veil
with a song or a sighting a sign or silence
whatever brings most blessing
whatever best serves to confirm
yes yes we are all here
—being and blessing Gaia together
how then I climbed the trail
up from our house again
two dawns past that call
saw fresh hoof and paw prints
graven in glazed snow
reached our meditation place
and the deer skull
hung just above our sitting rock
how I beheld a perfect
scintillating heart of snow
saw it was
a dawnlit crystal valentine
between the forking antlers at the midpoint
of the hollow span of bone
that housed the mind and eyes
of one whose gentle tribe I love
a sign on naked bone
in shining snow
a loving answer to my call:
–yes yes we are blessing Gaia together

Geoff Oelsner  1/19/17