Author Archives: Katherine Boyer

Forest Fire of the Past

forest-fireA kaleidoscope of images: an open field filled with smoke so heavy it just hung above the ground, acrid smell of burnt wood and hay, the harsh, almost choking me taste at the back of my throat, the D-8 coming towards the car, its blade taking up the whole road, but I never saw the fire in full flames. I only saw its start. The forest fire was an initiation, truly a trial by fire.

The woods were dry—very very dry that July. Crackly dry. We couldn’t walk in them. It was too dangerous. Chain saws were not allowed. The air was bitter, needle tasting. And that day at the lake it was windy. Hot and dry.forestfire

Chris and I, along with baby Clare, had joined our friends at the lake to swim. My nose flared with the hot air. The woods prickled with heat. We were cooling off. As I got out of the lake I looked up at the sky and saw a dark ominous roiling cloud in the west horizon. I pointed it out to Chris. Time to go. Now. Just like that. All of us there at the lake moved fast; gathering up towels, reaching for belongings, kids, dogs. I scooped up Clare, the blanket, and got into the truck. We headed home. We did not say fire to each other, but that’s what we were thinking. I squeezed Clare tight on my lap, my breath held. We drove up the gravel road, came around the bend, near our yurt, and then I saw the fire cloud that was on our nearby neighbor’s land. I could feel the hot wind that was pushing the fire towards our place.

helicopter fire

A dead tree had had been tipped by the wind and it crashed onto a transformer to the west of our land. The woods were tinder dry, sparks flew, and the hot summer wind drove the white-blue arcs in a whoosh. Orange flames erupted, and the wind fed the fire energy pushing it forward towards our land, and our neighbors’. It was coming in a swath that burnt 1000 acres. We didn’t know that then—we just saw the black haze and smelled the pungent smoke and knew that fire was coming. I could smell burnt wood and hay, an almost choking me taste at the back of my throat. It was 1977.

I wrote this as our friends in Chewelah were experiencing and surviving the Carpenter Road Fire of Stevens County, 2015. This fire burnt over 27,000 acres.

©Katherine Boyer, 2015

Deer Walk

deerIn the evenings we’d put the children to bed in the tent, and if there was a chill we’d keep the cookstove going from the dinner fire by adding another log or two. We’d just sit, me and Chris, and listen to the hum of the woods, the quieting of the day. There’d be an occasional howl, maybe a whoo, whoo, whoo, if we were lucky. The dogs would barely raise their heads. We’d just sit and be quiet together. Resting from our day. I glanced over to the makings of our new house, seeing the boards draped over logs, the walls half built, ladders locked into place, tall in the air.

It was an evening of full bright moonlight, the large-silvery-orb-in-the-sky-kind when I noticed the deer. Moonlight lit up a doe and fawn in what was soon to be our front yard. I stared at them. I nudged Chris. We both looked. I could see the white spots on the fawn’s back, spots which hid him in the dappled daylight of the forest. I looked into the dark eyes of the doe, all attention and alertness. She didn’t move. Just stared at me with gentleness. I could see her dark nose, white rump, soft ears spread out in the moonlight. The dogs, quietly asleep, hadn’t noticed their smell yet. The magic of deer. They give their lives to us so that we can survive; a gift of food and warmth and compassion. I could see the gentle curve of her arched neck. She was so quiet I thought I could see her breathe. Then I heard a dog sniff, Sheba raised her head, and before her barking started the deer took off leaving a flash of white tail as a reminder to look within at our own beauty and grace.

Raven Visit

Raven on deckI’d walk out to the outhouse, so that I could pee in the woods, and see the black raven sitting on the branch in the darkening light. His wings would be so black, his eyes black, his feet black, his big black beak. He was black as night and soon I wouldn’t be able to see him at all. As the sun was setting I could see the iridescent gloss of blues and purples on his black wings. I loved to see him fly so high, his wings outstretched to 4 feet with the four thin feather fingers on the tips—swooshing in the air. He and his mate would make rolls, somersaults, in the clear blue sky, just for fun, just for joy. I could hear him calling to her, in his deep throated cree, cree, gronk, gronk, knock, knock. I’d often hear them call to each other when I walked in our woods. They’d follow me. They came to tell me secrets.

Of course they would, they wanted to tell me about the woods, about their carrion find up the path, about how they mate for life, and just hang out in pairs. They wanted to tell me that they too can problem solve, like I can, and can take a rock and drop it on someone who they don’t like, or steal a fish from a fisherman or point with their beaks to indicate where an object is. They can call to the wolves and tell them about the site of a dead carcass so that the wolves chew open the bones and viscera and leave the scraps for them. The black raven, messenger of the gods, trickster, friend of coyote, who stole fire from the Sun and then delivered this gift of warmth to poor-naked-shivering-man.

Blue Whale Sighting in the Baja

whale breachIn the boat, bouncing up and down with the waves, rocking with the motion, drifting in my thoughts, I could see the liquid gold sunlight dancing on the water, jumping in ecstasy. One whale blow far off, but no sighting close up. Skunked. But the view of the ocean, the sun on the water, blue horizontal stripes on a silver molten stream, the stripes just coming and coming into my view. The ocean – our blood. Life blood. life stream. I am the life blood of your earth. Keep me clean. Keep your life blood clean.

Next whale trip. A blue whale’s tale. An early morning sunrise yellow orange blue above. The bay all lit up by the surrounding mountains. Moon light on the water still, the moon has not set yet. Pink waves on one side of the boat, orange waves on the other side of the boat. Sunrise colors. Sunrise light. Pink hills. Pink clouds above, bright blue water beneath us. Dolphins chasing below us. So fast in the blue green waters. A pod of ten. Showing off for us, how fast they can race the boat. Rock people, sentinels, in the mountains. Their faces upturned to the skies, faces to the sky, whispering the words of wisdom. They evolve and change slowly and see it all, feel it all, for eons, as they surround the bay. And suddenly the noise of a whale’s exhale. A whale’s breath. I could hear them first before I could see the spray up. Then wait, wait, and a slow moving of a back dorsal above the water’s edge, then wait, and another dorsal view, four times and the last view a deep dive and the tail coming up to the top of the water, a wave flip up. aah. The last lingering dance good-by on top of the water. Magnificent!

Sea Otter

sea otter on backAt the water’s edge, sitting on rounded and sharpened pebbles, I looked across the crystalline glassy water. That’s when I saw a bump, a brown head gliding slowly towards me on the smooth dark waters. A sea otter. Not a small river otter, but a single, solo sea otter. No sightings here for years. The sea otter habitat is north, not here on this smaller island in the San Juans. But I saw him. I saw the sunlight on his wake. Continue Reading

MENDING THE NET Book Signing, Jan’s Paperbacks, May 9th, 1-4 pm

Jan’s Paperbacks is a new and used book store located at: 18095 SW Tualatin Valley Highway, Aloha, OR 97006. Please come visit me and talk about questions you have for healing the Self of old family dysfunctions and how to become the light soul that you are!

Mending the Net walks you through many exercises on the path of healing so that you can transmute your trauma and hurt and move forward to create a loving family. With new awareness you create a new paradigm that breaks the old and unhealthy patterns from your past and ancestor lineage. Learn to recognize and break the old pattern of being parentized. Release old negative emotions through writing and experiential exercises. Re-dream your future. New awareness brings in new emotions. This is transmutation.