Healing through poetry

Pepperwood members joined us earlier this month for an afternoon with Sonoma County Poet Laureate Maya Khosla. Part of The Legacy Project, an ongoing series of readings and events with Maya, this intimate literary event featured local poets reading from their works exploring and articulating the process of healing after the fires

Many contributed heartfelt poems of loss and renewal—including Pepperwood Steward and member Natasha Granoff who shared these two moving pieces below.


The state of being old, the biological aging process of cells

I love this word, the sibilance, the quietness; the voice drops as if in deference to age, in a still room waiting for death, the whiteness a shroud

Leaves senesce, and dry, and brown, and curl and wither, and drop

Some may hang to the following spring, only jettisoned as life surges forth in a riot of downy green, pink and rosy red

But this senescence:  too early, too uniform, a crisp canopy of leaves frozen in the direction of the wind

Held aloft on blackened, ash covered armature, underneath a leaden sky

– By Natasha Granoff, January 2019



My sister admonishes, “You are always waiting for things to fall apart”.  “Yes, they do” I say, in a constant dance of decay and renewal

Do we step in to restore, resurrect, or rebuild?  That sounds like a house, a place of worship, a city; the ultimate self-absorption of the Anthropocene

The phenology trail we walked so many times our feet carried us to each plant without a misstep. Thoughtfully, we wrote down prescribed observations; leaf buds, new leaves, flower buds, flowers and then the predictable decay

Through a lens of projection we gave one plant a high five, the next a sad face, the third a pep talk and the fourth no hope.  Reminded of our Citizen Scientist duties we pulled aside our personal veil and stretched for objectivity

Then there was the fire.  So hot and so fierce, this trail we walked so many times our feet carried us to each plant without a misstep, had disappeared.  The plants vaporized, every sweet landmark gone

At once the intense parameter of our focus moved from the story of the path and the plants to the suddenly wide-open and unfamiliar horizon.  Where were we?

Do we, as the indigenous before us, assist in the renewal and management of this landscape? Do we leave it alone and let it heal from the decades of slow and incessant human subjectivity?

Or is there somewhere in between…

– By Natasha Granoff, January 2019


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