That cabin in the woods,
nestled beneath second generation pine
planted after the last logging,
waits for our visit.

Snow caught in tree-tops
meanders through the winter sky
covering the green roof in a smooth
slope where acorns speed to the ground.

Ravens ever present toward the open fields,
near the old silo base, they rule the open sky
with acrobatics and voices blanketing
the otherwise quiet space.

The nest in the overhang now empty.
Somewhere deep in the woods they watch
with caution and curiosity as the dogs
run circles around that cabin in the woods.

A red cabin in the woods
beneath the pine trees
sagging from the winter snow,
is all I need for solitude.

Snowshoeing on 03/02/14

I follow the packed trail others before me have taken. Winding through pine, poplar, and birch, it hugs the rocky shoreline. Up and down over boulders and outcroppings, the trial heads deep into the woods before I stop. An abandoned building overlooks the lake. Trees tower over the skewed roof and poke through glassless windows. Floorboards long ago rotted and disappeared, leaving nothing to prevent the forest from overtaking the cabin on the woods.

I continue north along the same trail which dips into a small frozen valley. In warmer months, a creek would fill this space and empty into Lake Superior. Now it is ice beneath 3 feet of snow. Trees bow in half ellipticals from each side and I pass beneath, careful not to break tree limbs, catch my backpack, or otherwise disturb what is here, and continue up the other side.

With empty and open mind I hear the voiceless tree and gently place my hand on its trunk. Eyes closed. When opened I see the light drawn from before this projections and boundaries existed. I see the nothing that gave birth.


Cabin in the Woods
Cabin in the Woods

I first learned of John Haines while taking a class at the Loft Literary Center a few years ago.  From the first poem I was hooked.  I have every book of his, some first editions, and one signed that I was fortunate to find.

Mr. Haines also wrote many essays about nature, the world at large, and his view from a small rustic cabin located outside of Fairbanks, AK.

Mr. Haines was born on June 29, 1924 and passed away on March 2, 2011. I sadly never got the chance to meet him in person, but continue to read his books and write pieces about him and be inspired by the raw, simple, and powerful pieces he created.

I am particularly fond of “Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer” for poetry and “Fables and Distances” for his essays.

Below are his most easily found books on Amazon.

Cover Title Publisher
51JKNEG1A6L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ The Stars, the Snow, the Fire: Twenty-Five Years in the Alaska Wilderness Graywolf Press (March 1, 2000)
41HH5DF4X9L._SY300_ Living Off the Country: Essays on Poetry and Place (Poets on Poetry) University of Michigan Press (January 1, 1982)
519H1KF17PL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ The Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer: Collected Poems Graywolf Press; 1st edition (September 1, 1993)
51VY8F0C6ZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ For the Century’s End: Poems 1990-1999 (Pacific Northwest Poetry) University of Washington Press (January 1, 2001)
41IYJ6ABaDL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ At the End of this Summer: Poems, 1948-1954 Copper Canyon Press (September 1, 1997)
41TJ0EFWEQL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Fables and Distances: New and Selected Essays Graywolf Press (January 1, 1996)
51DeUhh44TL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ News from the Glacier: Selected Poems, 1960-1980 Wesleyan (April 1, 1982)
51IZ0uavIYL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ The Stone Harp (Wesleyan Poetry Program) Wesleyan (July 1, 1971)