A Room of Her Own – Rachael Ikins

Living here, a house of my own, growing my own food, is just the best. I have never been so happy…except maybe as a newly wed. We can take spontaneous walks any time of night or day to the pond. Last night we walked among stripes of blue moonlight and black tree shadows. This morning for the first time ever in her short life, I decided since we were back in the fields and view was clear all around, to let Sassie off-leash. In 5 years she has never lived anywhere where she could run free. Bug, too. I did not take pictures. The joy on her face was indescribable. I will never forget how she looked at me… and she ran and ran and hunted voles in grass clumps and ran some more. In the spirit of being kind to one another in these dark times, I did a good deed for my dog today.

We saw stories, too. Our fox male walked on the edge of the ice and looks to have gotten lucky. Some rodent broke out of a den, a pounce broke the ice=dinner. A little further, in a maze of of slightly raised vole tunnels across vast open spaces, one guy went for the trees. You could see his tail print between the paw prints. He tried to make it to two apple trees (or else he was climbing up and down them for seeds) maybe and then, judging by the tuft of ripped up grass at the base of one tree, a patient and diligent fox pounced=dessert. Fresh meat must be more satisfying in such cold weather than dried apples and grapes.

A hungry red tail hawk perches over the pond hunting, too. One day when snow was gone, we saw blood drops on the path with no other context. Squirrels dash out in the open from tree to tree at distances equivalent to a block away. Not too bright, but great for the hawk.

And it is February! I can see the swell of reddening buds already and know that while the windchill makes us hide all but our eyes and noses, deep in the dark rich Earth sap tickles its way from root to root to start a long journey up trunk and out branch, pulled by the power of the sun.

We belong to our Mother. Former dislocated urban dwellers can put down roots and remember who we are, once we have a room of our own.


Rachael Ikins is a 2016/18 Pushcart, 2013/18 CNY Book Award, 2018 Independent Book Award winner, prize-winning author/artist with 9 books. Syracuse University grad, member CNY branch NLAPW, and Associate Editor of Clare Songbirds Publishing House, Auburn, NY. Her new memoir Eating the Sun a love story narrative punctuated by poetry and garden recipes available 4/2019 at Clare Songbirds Publishing House.

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