Expand and contract
Come together
Move apart
These are
natural phases like breathing.
Neither air
nor tides
not orbits
nor human hearts
follow any other law.

Can my ecosystem
likewise endure
the ebb and flow?
Can my heart tolerate
the changing weather?

The city burned that weekend
as did the juvenile hope
of our illusion.
We fall in love with the fantasy
then one day the full person
shows up.

I cannot force change
even with my passion
and formidable will.
To try
is to inhibit
another’s sacred rhythm.
To try
is to inhabit
another’s sacred sovereignty.

There is a softer truth
underneath the hard one
I’m afraid to feel.
True, I allowed my fear
to overpower my wisdom.
True, I have good reasons.
True, perhaps I’m
the damaged one.

I gingerly embrace
my vulnerability
and gift myself perfection.
I can access divine connection
any time.
I sense it even now
as order comes to roost
inside my flesh
in the shape of calm.
It was not my doing –
it was grace
invited in by my humility.

Loving truly
is truly terrifying
for in the wake of rupture,
follow repair
or removal.

What can I do today
to invite safety
to come live
between my ribs?

No matter what happens next?

© S. Rinderle, June 2020

Your Proper Place

Do not pull
on the planties.
Allow tender shoots
to emerge from the earth’s shell
in time.
Trying to hasten growth
destroys the roots,
kills what might be.

Sprouting life
has its own pace
you cannot dictate.
This is as real
as it gets.
This is the stuff
of soul
not nonsense.
mechanical cogs
and turning wheels
ticker tape
mahogany panels
pointing arrows
and blue screens
in the dark.

Do not pull
on the planties.
You cannot hurry
what is out of your hands.
You may coax
or rage
it matters not.
You may stare
or plead
the soil is deaf
to your preferences
the budding kernel numb
to your rhythm
the delicate roots blind
to your furrowed brow
your urgency

Do not confuse yourself
with the sun.
Do not overestimate
your power.
Know your proper place
in the Mysterious weaving
of Life.

Water, space and time
Water, space and time
and protection from pestilence
is all anything ever needs
to thrive.

© S. Rinderle, 4/14/20

The Matrix

It’s all wrong
From this box I dwell in alone
to the manicured trees outside
this square in the wall filled with glass
it’s all wrong
from this metal vessel in my hand
filled with water I purchased
with a plastic rectangle,
to the existence of elevators
it’s all wrong

From the orchids blooming indoors
in winter
to this war paint on my face
to this garment restricting my torso
spun from ancient carcasses
it’s all wrong
from conversations over wires
with humans
in distant time zones
I will never meet
to this bread I eat
cultivated afar by strangers
processed in a pristine factory
by exhausted hands
it’s all wrong

From the endless stories
told in smarmy shouts on flat screens
to the flat screens themselves
it’s all wrong
from the arrogant machines
that count the movement of the sun
to the impossible demands
that govern time
to the very existence of minutes
it’s all wrong.

This endless panic
and crippling loneliness
are the only things that are right.
They are the sane responses
when everything is wrong
though they claim
our very lives.

Sapiens took a wrong turn
eons ago
but I am trapped here
in a fragile time capsule
silently screaming
into the inky void.
I’ve woken in a pod of liquid
disconnected from the lie
surrounded by sleeping forms
as far as my eye can reach.
I cannot regurgitate
the red pill.

This is not progress
It’s all wrong
This time
there is no happy ending.
Yet I would gladly give my life
to save this shimmering planet
from me.

© S. Rinderle, February 2020

Green Burial

When my final day is done
I would be returned to the earth –
nothing between me and the soil
of my birth
but rotting skin.

Let my body decay like a ruin
laying in state
like the great houses of old –
monuments to pride and achievement
laid waste by the triumph of time
and the superior will
of rain and roots.

Let my interior walls be exposed
to the warmth of the sun.
Let ferns sprout from my eye sockets.
Let dragonflies and mockingjays
frolic inside my skull.
May young lovers sneak out under moonlight
to hump wildly among my bones.

Let streams gush
from my open, toothless mouth.
Let cougars and mule deer drink
from my pelvic bowl.
May fuchsia and daisies
burst forth from my ribcage.
May sycamore and oak
be nourished by my flesh.

And I will no longer be lonely.
I will finally be at peace
and contented
knowing that my feeble life made a difference
to those who truly matter
after all.

© S. Rinderle, 9/16/18

I Know What Water Dreams

I know what water dreams.

She dreams of expanse both vast and microscopic.

Of extending her reach from shore to shore
filling chasms and holding unknown secrets of the deep.
Supporting frolicking human children on her beach
and pensive teens doing the backstroke.
Teeming schools of fish and calving whales
crustaceans and sea horses.
Leaving her nourishing minerals on shores and skins.
Supporting life, cycling life, being life.

She also dreams of the tiny places
rushing through my veins
surrounding my cells, bringing support, sustenance, and relief
to tissue.
She flows through my aorta and into my capillaries.
She lubricates my joints;
allows me to see.

Always she dreams of freedom
the ability to flow,
to move,
to be unrestricted.
Of purity and breath.
Oxygen and clarity.

Thus, her dreams are sometimes nightmares.
Horrifying quantities of sewage and inorganic waste.
Mutilated cadavers.
Sludge and toxic chemicals bubbling from open pipes.
Drunken revelers urinating at her side.
Tremendous trawlers razing the sea floor.
Fishers leaving death and destruction
like White buffalo hunters once did on the Plains.
Webs of fiber optic cables.
Lakes of oil suffocating her delicate surface.

disrupted flow in restricted arteries and tightened muscle fibers.
Obstacles of excess fat, yeast, chemicals invented by man.
Acidic thoughts, elevated hormones.
The products of agitation with nowhere to go,
choking her.

So she shudders, weeps, and wakens.

I know what water dreams,
because I, too,
have these dreams.

(c) S. Rinderle, 2009


I wish I were a sunflower
face always turned
towards the sun
back always turned
on the shadows

I’d grow eager and hearty
in weak soil

I’d thrive on unexpected street corners
unnoticed by passersby
spirit undampened

My perky summer mane
of auburn golden petals
would seduce bumblebees
velvet sable upon amber
delicious reciprocity

Although my looks eventually desiccate
their colors would linger vivid
gilded finches feeding
from my smiling autumn face
satisfying generosity

No need to over-rely
on my bright disposition
to get by
No need to talk myself
into acceptance or trust
No thoughts of “must”
No need to convince myself
of the wisdom of seasons
the rightness and reason of Will
beyond mine

When the harvest sun waned
I’d nod off and droop
letting go my final seeds
with a contented sigh
ready to sleep til spring
when my neck stretches again
jaw yawns
and face turns
towards the sun

back always turned
on the shadows.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

Susana Rinderle

photo (c) Susana Rinderle, 2015

Be Gentle

There is a time for Speaking
when words that can no longer lay silent
issue boldly from our eager throats

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Listening
for receiving messages from beyond
letting them lie, wordless

There is a time for Doing
for gathering thought into action
manifesting mindful purpose

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Being
for noticing who you are
when doing ceases

There is a time for Expansion
for venturing beyond former tamed bounds
into wild possibility

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Contraction
for neither muscle, nor breath nor tide
can live without pause and retreat

There is a time for Growth
when new ideas and beingness
spring forth to flowering

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Maintenance
to marinate in gratitude and
fortify for later expression

There is a time for Fighting
to exercise will and push through
stuck and stagnant scars

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Recovery
to heal our wounds
to marvel at courage
and feast bouteously

There is a time for Light
for bright seeing
illumination of night and
stretching upward

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Dark
for blindness and shadow
for faith
and downward seeping

There is a time for Going Out
into the world
with statement and exclamation

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Coming Into
with commas and questions

There is a time for Pushing Out
of ourselves
out of the tired, spent ground

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Pulling In
gathering nutrients
from the dead and decaying

There is a time for Dreams and Waking
for envisionment and inspiration
future forward

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Memory and Sleep
to honor and learn what was
past in whatever shape

Dear One…

This does not mean that
if you are to speak, do, expand, grow
fight, light
go out, push out
dream and wake
— now —
that you are wrong

It means it will be harder
it may be too soon
leave you too empty

Allow your Body to fill
to remember seasons
eons of cycles
that let our Spirits breathe
Remember that Winter is for
cozying into huts
by warm hearths
and hot, hearty drink
simmering in story
while the dark fields lay fallow
and sleep with us
letting the frost sink in

There is no time, you say!
The world thirsts for hope
aches for justice
craves r/evolution!


And the world also
thirsts for your renewal
aches for your rest
craves your wholeness

You are the World


Now is not the time for everything
No Time is
There is still time
Do not be fooled by the illusion of scarcity
Now is just
what is called for

Be gentle
Yet be fierce
in your gentleness.

© S.Rinderle, 2014
(Winter solstice 12/21/14 4:03 pm MST)
Published in Catching Calliope, Winter 2015.

December 11th

I do not know
when our paths first converged in the wood
I do remember our first meeting
on the eve of Aquarius moon
it was a gathering
a clearing
an assortment of noble creatures
fur, feather, scale, bone
leaf and bough
river, cloud, mountain
a tree
long since a sapling
44 rings at my trunk
yet my roots would deceive
short and shallow for lack of water
branches stronger than winters past
yet more frail than they could be

I was more Zeus than Hera back then
more Huitzilopochtli than Guadalupe Tonantzín
soul more old than wise
hands tired from so much grasping
soil too compacted for rain or seed
scale tipping
flesh heating
more fire
than water or air
more movement and phallus
than quiet or chalice

But it rained that spring
and all summer
Rain like Goddess
Rain like Life
flow like Spirit
purging debris and stuck places
from the river
of my soul
quickening this Winter earth child
sinking down
seeping in
plus yielding earth
equals adobe
bricks to build a new home
new life
with many rooms

The Rain has been good to my roots
they reach down to the core
Wisdom Strength Truth
they reach up to Source and Intuition
nourish my thickening trunk
into six branches
Awareness of thoughts
of body and feelings
extreme Presence
Brilliant Possibilities
Peace of fulfillment

I hold a strong, safe
fully accepting space
I fiercely stand for true, best selves
and possibilities
to emerge

i am a tree woman. tree woman
I am a Tree Woman!

my fellowship
fellow creatures and travelers
my Teachers and Mentors
fur, feather, scale, bone
leaf and bough
river, cloud, mountain
with a new song
thickened pelt
lengthened tooth and beak
broadened breastbone
vast expanding reach
and outstretched wing

We go now
Sagittarius wanes
we gather again in the clearing
another floor up on the spiral staircase
we are the burgeoning tribe
the burgeoning wise
the wild
today is Thanksgiving
and New Year

I do not know where our paths lead
now that they diverge in the wood
But I do remember our first meeting
and as gratitude surges in my wooden ribcage
I will not forget the last.

© S. Rinderle, 2014
Dedicated to my fellow graduates of the CFT DL03 cohort (yesterday)
and La Virgen de Guadalupe/Tonantzín (today).


I’m from here
but I don’t belong here
is not home
where I exhale
the set for my night dreams
my heart fit
this place is just fit
movie set
fast breath
big lips and small dogs
tight butts in tight jeans
skinny spandex, white teeth
tidy coiffed landscapes
and green
rolling in dough
(k)needed by mountains
of gold

As I wander
the trees root more solid
than I remember
all thickness, texture and joy
they invite climbing
and stretch beams
one gaze not enough
to harvest all their races…
bougainvillea in four flavors
hibiscus in two
bottle brush, lemon, eucalyptus
exotic pods and broad leaves
hummingbirds and gold finches
in November
palms of diverse size and shape
curious like Dr Seuss trees
birds of paradise
this is paradise
to a spirit of stone
and sand

Yearning wells.
Things grow easily here
the desert is hard
desert people stark
cracks shift cracks
the ancient sedimentary rock
of memento and heart
like the Whittier quake
I collect familiar leaves
like memories shaken loose
oak, magnolia, liquid amber, birch —
my mother knew them all.
She is a bird now
above I spy others
fly like her
I must have met them before
wild emerald parrots
up a spiky trunk
chatting atop slender fronds
unnoticed and mundane
yet I stand

People smile more than I remember.
They say hello from their bicycles
sing while riding solo
talk to babies in strollers
cross the street with traffic
their grass is thick
sprinkled with tiny shamrocks
like abundant good fortune.
I wonder if they know what it’s like
to live in a desert
make sure everything is always locked
and held tight
middle class here is wealthy rich anywhere
I see it
but no longer believe that
all money is sin
all poverty virtue

I crave ease.

Maybe my parents were right
I waste and surround myself
with the not-good-enough
while the not-yet-good-enough
still isn’t

Things are now changed.
I root more solid
broad feet planted
trunk thicker
taller branches wide
eyes clearer
sternum forward
I’m ready now
I belong better
I still believe
just no longer sure where I believe it

Maybe it’s time
to come home.

©S.Rinderle, November 2014


Whoever told you that nature is dead
wasn’t listening
I hear the conversations of trees
the breath of flowers
the creaking wood
rushing steps of tiny mites
navigating the pores in stone
I hear the undulation of the web
matrix evolving
life is motion

Whoever told you that nature is irrelevant
wasn’t listening
We imitate birdsong
emulate ant colonies
follow wild trails
build with earth and ores
heal with plant bodies
drink the sun

Whoever told you that nature is not us
wasn’t listening
these pines comb the same wind
that nourishes my bloodstream
these seeds and fruits give life
to my cells

I am a playful finch
rushing torrent
jagged mountain
wandering insect
mighty Oak Woman
firmly rooted
abundant branches
gently swaying

I. Am. Listening.

© S. Rinderle, 8/3/14
Published in Catching Calliope, Winter 2015.