A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 






I teach compassion at the technical college
in the burlap hills of Nova Scotia.

We count what we love, I say,
and mostly, what we can’t find (what we’ve lost).

How many times are we our subtractions?
I ask them to journal.

How many times do we subtract ourselves
right into the narrows of heavy, moveless ground.

But sometimes, I preach, sometimes,
people drag their hands 

hoping they’ll become fish.




I was 13 in the warm, current-crossed turquoise surrounding Cozumel, Mexico, and had just completed my first open-water dive for scuba certification.   Shivering on the boat, I waited for the other divers to surface.  The Mexican dive master came up, took off his gear, smiled at me and plunged back into the water, free diving about 15 feet to the sand and coral below.  When he re-surfaced, he presented me with a small, peaches-and-cream-colored shell.  The oceans in Mexico are like the United State's national parks; you're not supposed to take anything from them (there are a *few* exceptions) so this little shell reminds me that it's sometimes okay to break the rules.

m.nicole.r.wildhood is a Colorado native who has been living in Seattle – and missing the sun – since 2006.  She has been a saxophone player and registered scuba diver for over half her life and enjoys long (50+ miles) bike rides with her husband.  In addition to blogging at, she writes poetry, fiction and short nonfiction which have appeared in magazines like The Sun and journals like Lodestoneand Ballard: A Journal of Street Poetry. "  She and her husband who is gifted both as a structural engineer and as an artist, often collaborate on poetry/painting pieces as gifts for friends' birthdays, weddings and simply the celebration of artistic intersection.