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by Catherine Garbinsky

I stand on a fallen tree as if it were a balance beam, arms outstretched. You stand beside me, watchful and ready, but your arms are at your sides. I am alone as I step, one foot in front of the other, heel to toe, across the beam. Below me, soft earth. Above me, the clear sky.

A stream is trickling nearby, faster than I can move. I hear it gurgling, chuckling

contentedly to itself as it goes. I am gliding through the space between air and earth, not quite flying but not quite grounded either.

You will find me balancing between worlds, lost among the moss and mushrooms, growing amidst the wet and the rotting, finding a way to grow through grief. I let the wind blow to stoke my fire, to boil my water, to transform all I have foraged into food. You will find me at home in the elements, stretching my body across them. I wriggle my toes in the water, I sink my toes into the earth, I warm my hand by the fire, I wave my hand in the air. My body feels solid and strong.

When I speak, my voice carries the sounds of the waves and the roaring fire, the rush of the wind and the depth of the earth. I will speak, and I will listen. The plants have their stories, the animals have their songs. To reveal our true hearts and our minds, to uncover the deep magic, we must find this balance: between the elements, between ourselves and the world, between speaking and listening, between solace and strength.


Catherine Garbinsky is a poet and educator living in Northern California with her partner, her books, and her toothless tabby cat. Catherine holds a degree in The Poetics of Transformation: Creative Writing, Religion, and Social Justice from the University of Redlands. Her micro-chapbook of Ursula Le Guin erasures, All Spells Are Strong Here, is part of the Ghost City Press 2018 Summer Series. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in L’éphémére Review, Bye Bye Nite Magazine, Venefica Magazine, Cauldron Anthology, and others.

Above image: Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

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