I think valleys sometimes get a bad press -

the lows, the troughs

the vale of tears

the valley of the shadow of death

But what of the hidden valley

the gentle, green slopes

the rippling river

the breeze in the branches

the delicate daisies?

What of the peaceful haven of rest

where I can be still and reflect

take time to think

and be renewed?

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Yes! I think many of us were sharing this thought :) I have no idea where we came to believe that valleys are the bad places, but I'm sure glad we have them nonetheless <3 I've only known valleys precisely as you've beautifully described them here. Thanks, Jane!

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This is wonderful Jane! I was on the same train of thought! I have usally loved the vallety I have found!

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The thing

about being

in a valley is that

after you've hit the

bottom you still have

to climb your way back out.

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Dang. There is that. Perhaps some company for an occasional hand along the path up.

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Perhaps, vzlleys often being quite beauitful and magical, we can stay a while and dream!

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That's beautiful, A :) Thanks for that truth.

A different aspect of that same valley coin: we get to climb our way back out. There's always more road ahead, for better or for worse.

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Yes, I feel like this is such a multifaceted concept, and there's lots more to say - I've got a growing list of things I want to share more about based on these poems once I start publishing my newsletter. It's comforting to know I won't run out of ideas anytime soon! It's also been very distracting😅

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Hehe, I hear you! Oh, I can’t wait to see all you write and hopefully get to engage in some insightful and provocative discourse for all! 💗

(And man, I have yet to find the system for my brain that is satisfied both by the way I capture ideas and by the way I don’t let them distract me haha.)

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This one is important to me because of the story that preceded it this day. It's not that exceptional, but it's significant. Especially savoring each day left now :)




You say I’m in the valley,

Like it’s a bad thing,

A hard place.

You’re right, maybe I am in the valley,

But I know it as beauty,

A refreshing place.

You know, in fact,

I celebrate this valley, because it means

I’ve started my journey.

It means I’ve put in my time and

Put down my feet, all in the

Right places to bring me

To rest.

I look around me in this valley,

At the birds twinkling in the pines,

At the crisp snap of the sunlight

On the lake a few steps away,

And I see nothing but a paradise,

A campground of your “miscreants” and “outcasts,”

Deviously cooking dinner on the fire,

Laughing out the schemes of our agenda

Obviously funny

Because if we didn’t put on this facade,

Didn’t seem like




You’d know, and we can’t have that.

Blessedly, on this warm sunny day,

I can’t hold anything against you.

I can’t, and I wouldn’t want to,

My pack would be too heavy.

I’m carrying only the essentials.

I ain’t got nothin’ but

Blue skies, dry feet

Some plant-based meal bar Ten gave me

A box of matches

And an award-winning attitude.

I’ve done this before

Or something like it

And I know all that’s truly real out here

Is how many steps I believe I’ll take,

How many freeze-dried meals I’m willing to scarf down,

And how much I savor every moment,

Squeeze out each drop of joy,

Throw myself to gratitude,

Whether that’s on the cliff face

Or in the valley.



When you’re staring down a bear,

Or on the wrong end of an empty water tank,

A valley’s exceptionally not so bad.

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Shoo, didn’t have much energy left to engage as I’d normally like to with everyone yet because I was giving birth to the mighty essay that wanted to accompany the poem. It’s too important not to share. Surprisingly, this prompt might have touched me most passionately out of all so far.

Can’t wait to see everyone’s work and hear what you think 💗


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This is splendid, Jillian. You have written a story here in poem form, wonderfully poignant and telling, with great depth and reality. Thank you for digging down to bring this one forth. It is a poem I keep reading and discovering something new with each reading.

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Thanks so much for your beautiful reflection, Larry! I'm fascinated you keep finding new facets within it. Appreciate your watchful gaze very much <3

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Wow. We both wrote something similar. You did it more eloquently than me.

Thank you again.

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I'm finding (quite happily) many of us are indeed sharing a thought. Thanks for so kindly saying so <3

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I had to walk through a few valleys; though none have been alike,

The darkest one eventually led to the most sunlight,

Finally, The rocky terrain surrendered into smooth sand

The river became the ocean and I was able to get to the land.

And although I will never ever ever go back,

I'm glad that that valley led me to this path.

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This is super beautiful, Danis! Thank you for this gorgeous thought. I love the way you compose and package it so entirely. It's both attention grabbing and soft :)

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This is very nice Danis!

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A tectonic shift

has hollowed me

I survey the rift

Ripped by the blow

Steep walls protect me

mountains to my valley low

My body grieves

what was lost

the valley my reprieve

Rest and see what is found

deep below the surface

the valley is fertile ground

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May 26, 2023·edited May 26, 2023

Oh, you gave us everything here, Sarah. Thank you. I feel honoured to read this poem and recieve your trust. May your reprieve supply your need.

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I also love the way you took us into your valley with "tectonic shift" and "rift" - it's a really lovely texture through which to make this journey. Thank you, Sarah!

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This is very nice, Sarah! I love the way yoiu start==tectonic shift pulls me in rignt away. And the ending is sweet, "Valley as fertile ground." Thank you for thr gift of your poems!

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i was taught to fear the valley;

it was, supposedly, dark and


now i know valleys are

teeming with life, verdant and


the mountains are treacherous;

awesome from afar,

scary up close.

i prefer a valley view of mountains

over a mountain top view of valleys

where the air is certain.

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Oh, nice! This is wonderful - the way you compose the whole thing just hits me so well!

Valleys - "where the air is certain." Yes!

Thank you so much for your thoughts, April :)

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Very nice April! So many of us taught to fear the valleys.

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I wonder where that really came from, especially if these people were also engaging with mighty mountains!

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Down in the Valley

If you find yourself down in the valley,

With the mountain peaks all around,

Don't be so quick to start climbing those hills,

For there's beauty to be found.

Even down in the low lying valley,

You descend to during those days.

There are fields and flowers and rocks and streams

To discover beneath the haze.

Learn to love your time in the valley,

For when later you reach the peaks.

You'll look back at your time though low that it was,

And remember the quiet and peace.

Karri Temple Brackett

May 25, 2023


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I like the melody of this poem very much :) And the love you bring so clearly to it! Thanks, Karri.

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Very nice Karri, rhythmic and flowing.

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“Beautiful daughter of the stars,”

seems to fit this rolling land.

The roll of the hills and rivers flowing

like the syllables in your name, Shenandoah.

It was here in this wide valley where I became me,

hiker of hills and mountains,

paddler of rivers, cyclist of up and down.

seeking a poem and a song around every bend.

Our society seems to find valleys as places to avoid,

low places of mind, body and spirit.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of

the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

Though, I have found death in every corner,

mountaintops and beyond,

and evil in every city and town,

and it has made me fearful.

Lo, it is not the valleys to be feared…

Here, in this valley rimmed by misty mountains,

carved elegantly from centuries of collisions,

high rising peaks chiseled and worn by time.

here I have wandered in earth’s loving masterpiece.

Elegant sculptor, divine artist, universe centered symphony,

this gentle valley leads me besides its living waters.

turning me inward so I can see outward,

beauty unbounded in this letter from home.

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So lovely! "Universe centered symphony" - nice!

And exactly! If there is death in every corner and "evil" (I take issue with that word, but conversation for another time haha) in every town, what should make us fear the valleys more than other places particularly? Thanks, Larry :)

I LOVE how much being back in Shenandoah is lifting you up - it's clear in everything you've been writing lately. I celebrate your reunion a lot <3

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Thank you Jilian. I hear you about the word, "evil," and have struggled with it as well. I welcome conversation around this. I do note that evil spelled backward is Live!

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I’d certainly be happy to hear your thoughts sometime. And yes!! I love that :)

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I will share and likewise from you! I value your perspective very much!

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I look forward to it <3

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I live in a valley

one of grapes & wine.

A destination for many

which is totally fine.

Preferring the surrounding hills

that make this a valley.

I hike out in nature

this is more up my alley.

Don’t get me wrong

I love all the vineyards.

But give me the wilderness

flora and fauna are my kindreds.

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knowing your go-to place(s) is good. So, like, you can go-to it/them.

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So lovely, Julie :) I love every way you relate to valleys here.

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there is a sweet spot

halfway between up and down

where noise from above

gives way to descent

into the valley and

the sound of water

flowing over pebble

has not yet


to tease

your cochlear nerve


quiet settles


heed the call

of auditory


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Ahhh you took me there...

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always good to have company. thanks for coming along.

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This one is so inviting, Bob!

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thank you. hearing the call, taking some steps, even in heart/mind can be transformative. Ahh...

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This is very sweet, Bob. What beauty often lies in our valleys!

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Second Julie - this is a true experience, Bob, and it's the kind of experience I especially savor in poetry. So tingly, so tangible! I love this very very much! Thank you :)

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It was almost like poetry ASMR for me ;)

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ASMR, yes: I call it "arm hairs!"

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hahaha! That's one way of looking at it ;)

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I wonder if valleys can also be resting places? Times to nourish and replenish before the challenging work of climbing? A base camp for life, if you will. Time to gather supplies and plan our journey ahead. 🏔️

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A sabbath, maybe?

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I love that idea! Awhile ago I tried to start setting aside one day a week that was unplanned, no to-do list allowed! It's super challenging and I don't do it every week, by far- but just knowing how nourishing it is to my soul helps me carve time out for it as often as I can!

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Yes, Mariah! I am thinking the same thing. I love valleys!

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I absolutely think they are! It's been such an interesting experience reading through the poems today, because from where I'm currently standing, I can't see any sign of valleys truly being the hard places, the low places, in my life. Or in life in general.

I love valleys because the entire world of your sight opens up around you, at the same time that you drink it all in, gather supplies, and rest ;) You haven't stepped off the trail in a valley, after all - there will still be plenty to engage with ahead ;) (I wrote so much about this in my post for this poem, because it stirred something big up in me that I don't want to drop ;D haha. My heart kept telling me, "Getting our awareness of valleys right is a big deal!")

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I sit here

in the valley

I have been here

for so long

searching the horizon

for a way to the top

the way out

exhausted from the

time struggling

I sigh deeply

close my eyes

returning to

centering prayer

emptying myself

it is then that

I hear it

the sounds of the valley

amazing really

I listen longer

more sounds

not the mechanical sounds

of vehicles or machines

the organized and chaotic

sounds of human discussion

passionate oratory and

the noise of politics

these sounds feel pure

unencumbered by agenda

or consuming ideology

these reverberations

signal life for

creation's sake

I open my eyes

and see it all

what my focus

blinded me to

life in the valley

that sustains me

that protects me

that heals me

and now

is inspiring me

and that will show

the path that

I must journey

to reach the top

of the valley

the source of life

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I love this poem a lot, Steven! So visceral - I appreciated the sense of the weariness especially as the entrance for the rest.

Absolutely, I think we might have been talking about the exact same scene of the exact same valley ;) I really really love your perspective and I'm so glad you were there to share that moment with us! :)

Beautiful. Thank you!

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What wonderful thought. Thank you

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A lone.

climb of alone.

that you out of alone.

cannot climb out of alone.

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Brilliant word play and provocation here all around! :)

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Yes! Very real and sweet!

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Tranquil or frantic,

All things come down the mountain.

Watch out when it rains.

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I will stay alert. Thank you for reminding me.

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The red-tailed hawk

glides through the air

over the valley

below us.

She makes flying

look so


Unlike the smaller birds

who strive to fly,

flapping their little wings

so hard,

the hawk seems

to float on the air

without bending a wing.

Diligently scanning,

she finds a thermal of air

and begins her ascent.

Round and round she goes.

Not stuck on repeat

in the same cycle,

she instead goes

higher and higher

as she circles.

She has learned

to surrender

to the warm air

and go with the flow

she finds herself in.

From up there,

she has such

a higher

and wider


on everything.

And she’s not striving.

Just yielding

and flying

over the valley.

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Beautiful poem reflecting the hawks flight. I love red-tailed hawks. There are so many around where I live. They speak to me. Literally at times I hear their screech, other times it is a recognition in the heart.

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Me, too, Julie! I love them, and they have taught me so much.

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Wow, this is so beautiful, Trish. I appreciate the wisdom from these hawks that you share so powerfully with us. I'm grateful that such wisdom does exist, that we can look to the skies for our teachers, even in the valleys, even while on the mountaintops.

Your message, which I hear so many of us echoing in our poems for this day, is so potent filtered through the hawk's perspective. I love it <3

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This is beauitful, Trish! The past two days looking out ovwr mountains and valleys, red tailed hawks have stilled us with their beauitful soaring flight. Thank you for this elegant and beautifull description!

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Just right timing for these words 🙏 Moving ahead holding this paradox.

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