The Otter Woman
Tunes for a Monday Morning

I'm off...

Catskin by Arthur Rackham

I will be away from home for the next week, and then back to the studio on Monday, October 10. These are the words I'd like to leave you with, from an interview with Anthony Doerr:

Drawing by E.M. Taylor"Life is wonderful and strange...and it’s also absolutely mundane and tiresome. It’s hilarious and it’s deadening. It’s a big, screwed-up morass of beauty and change and fear and all our lives we oscillate between awe and tedium. I think stories are the place to explore that inherent weirdness; that movement from the fantastic to the prosaic that is life....

"What interests me -- and interests me totally -- is how we as living human beings can balance the brief, warm, intensely complicated fingersnap of our lives against the colossal, indifferent, and desolate scales of the universe. Earth is four-and-a-half billion years old. Rocks in your backyard are moving if you could only stand still enough to watch. You get hernias because, eons ago, you used to be a fish. So how in the world are we supposed to measure our lives -- which involve things like opening birthday cards, stepping on our kids’ LEGOs, and buying toilet paper at Safeway -- against the absolutely incomprehensible vastness of the universe? 

"How? We stare into the fire. We turn to friends, bartenders, lovers, priests, drug-dealers, painters, writers. Isn’t that why we seek each other out, why people go to churches and temples, why we read books? So that we can find out if life occasionally sets other people trembling, too?"


Rain cloudsThe quote by Anthony Doerr is from an interview in Wag's Review (Issue 8). The illustrations above are by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and E.M. Taylor (1906-1964).


Safe journey, and safe return, Terri.


No matter what, I don't want to miss a second of life, you never know what is going to happen, be it good or bad. It is a mystery, I'm still looking for clues.

Brilliant. And thank you for Arthur Rackham. Just the prompt I needed for my writing today. Good Journey!

Hi Terri

Please take care and have a safe and wonderful trip! These drawings, sculptures and viewpoints are breathtaking and very inspiring. Yesterday's post on otters and today's on the power of the human soul to balance life between varying odds and circumstances, inspired this poem. Wouldn't it be easy to shift form and instinct to something mirthful, simpler and free. To escape one' s personal loneliness or isolation , the risk and uncertainty of future events. Yet, if that kind of magic were literally possible, would the human being reject its own alchemy to blend strife with joy, chance with stability, hope with tolerance. The unique craft which makes us human and allows us to creatively survive.

Fugue On The River

So how in the world are we supposed to measure our lives --
Anthony Doerr

She swims in circles wanting to spin
herself into a species of fur; slender and long,
content to live off the river's fish, silt and weeds.
The moon a watchful companion.

As she moves, her voice circles in song.
Language in a spell's orbit as leaves whirl
flaming in the wind. Fire and water reshape
metal or stone and here, Autumn's elements
begin to restore her animal bones.

"Otter woman, woman otter," The Chippewa say
such a creature is a shaman's wife. The shadow
of dusk or the half light widening into dawn. She

is the young trapper's wife -- who slowly shifts
within a trance -- leaving those nights where quilts
and shutters can't keep the pale sleeper warm,
where the smoke from a blown-out lamp
mingles only with the breath of one;

But where a raw magic blending
root and wing, salt and sugar-both sides of awe,
makes the soul stay - rippling out of one moment
into the next. Ah! She remembers this --

pivots her shimmering head and cannot tell,
( no longer feel ) which way the current drifts.

Take care
My Best

Safe journeying and hope the hearths are warm and welcoming.

Fun, let there be an abundance awaiting you.

An alchemy of word and image, as usual, Wendy.


Thanks so much Stuart,

I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful comment!

My Best

I hope your trip has been wonderful. THANK YOU for this post and also to those who commented. Nourishing, insightful, needed.

Wow. Just wow.

Hi Michelle

Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed the poem.

My Best

Terri always a most enjoyable and thoughy provoking piece ...why indeed?

Wendy Howe that is beautiful work!

Hi Penny

Thank you very much for your thoughtful words toward this poem! I sincerely appreciate them!

My Best

Beautiful Site, congratulations!

Each comment illustrates or points the way toward just "how we as living human beings can balance the brief, warm, intensely complicated fingersnap of our lives against the colossal, indifferent, and desolate scales of the universe." Sometimes with poetry, sometimes with heartfelt good wishes, with praise, encouragement or simple gratitude. That's how we do it.

Just stopping by to say I miss you, Terri, and all the lovely folks at Myth and Moor. I hope you all are well! <3

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