Loretta Strharsky

Loretta has been a high school educator, parent activist, an office manager, and researcher.

She volunteers in her community at her library and a raptor rehabilitation program. She continues her writing, focusing on her natural surroundings and how it affects us all.


I know very little about You, Hunter

But every winter

Over my house

You stand guard, a silent presence

Protecting young and guiding adventurers


I am honored to be among your charges



Leonid Meteor Showers

I thought about you last night

How we took the blankets from the guest room

Laid on the dry grass in the open field across the road

The promise of meteor showers kept us there for hours

We counted the shooting stars

(I know they are not stars)

One, seven, sixteen and on

I’d see one that you didn’t and the same for you

When we tired of the sky’s steaks

We looked for Orion and Leo, Mars and Saturn

I don’t remember which we found, but look we did

We arose, shook the dry grass off the blankets, and

Catching a glimpse of a few more showers, we wandered home



For Becky


Autumn Dancers

During these newly minted autumn mornings, 

Impatient maple leaves hurry to sail in the slight morning breeze.

Little do they know if they wait until midday

They could swirl on their way to the cushioning grass below 

With the afternoon wind tides.


A neighborhood girl dressed in a muted yellow shirt and pale red tights 

Dances by with a skip in her step.

Taken with the breeze she creates 

She mimics the aspen leaves fluttering.

After a respectful bow, she pauses, 

Gently lifts one of the maple leaves dressed in her colors.


Spinning the leaf by its stem, 

She dances again.

No need to wait for the afternoon wind.


A very hungry caterpillar is patrolling outside my window

Accordion-like she moves, stalks

Scrumptious leaves nearby


How is it she is moving more rapidly than I thought she could?

A moment of coffee distraction makes me lose focus. 

Where did she go so soon?

She must be off to more hospitable grounds


I am left pondering her next moves.

Looking for the

Milky Way

We are not actually looking

for the Milky Way.

We know where it is.

Right there, in the south eastern sky.

A band of stars knows where it is--

they gather as an arc to give it framing.

A few shooting stars point in the right direction

offering us clues we really don’t need.


Opening the truck door

that has sheltered us from the frigid mountain wind

we step out, stare at the darkened sky.

No hint of the galaxy before us,

only an obfuscating cloud.


Galileo saw it and the Greeks knew it was there.

On a majestic night like this,

maybe we are looking too hard for the Milky Way.



The Moon

The pieces of creamy clouds kept cradling that moon.


You know the one. 

Not the silken yellow with mediocre orange streaks one

Not the one with the look of broken eggshells hiding in the redwood canopy

Nor the one of latte with those leaves drawn in the foam—

Not that moon.


But what about today’s cradled moon?

You know the one.

It’s the bowl of egg drop soup

A bit cloudy, eggs stirred until only shreds float lacily on the surface


That’s the one

That’s the moon



In November

A chilly night did not keep her in.

Wrapped in her favorite tattered red jacket

Her blanket adorned with screened images of the National Parks

And her bit too large knitted hat,

She took her place at the far end of the porch.

Without the day’s wind she was quite comfortable.

She was out to watch

An expanse of the winter sky.

The new moon was not ready to show its face.

Orion’s majesty offered drama as usual

With his sword so carefully positioned.

She hummed the ballad about the Drinking Gourd

As she found the Big Dipper caught in the leafless branches

Of the massive maple tree.

Who else was around?

She could find Leo.

After all it was the meteor showers bearing his name

That brought her out in the first place.

Streaks of light didn’t disturb the myriad of stars

But they took center stage in this evening’s sky

As she watched as undisturbed as the stars.


Collecting Autumn Leaves

Collecting Autumn Leaves


He’s four

(If a day as my grandmother used to say)

And he’s prepared for a wonderful adventure


Maple leaves

Now autumn-tinged 

Rest on the grass waiting 

For these four-year-old fingers

To appraise their worthiness


He surveys all the treasures at his feet

Picks up one leaf

Judges it a fine specimen-

No cracks, no missing edges

Beautifully dressed in several shades of maroon-

He rests that choice on a carefully selected clearing.


He searches for another and another

Rejecting many 

Acquiring several more leaves with that majestic maroon finery 

Masterfully adding to his growing selection


He turns around



On a quest to find just one more.



Weed Reflections

What makes a weed a weed?

It creeps, crawls, anchors itself near the perfect rose

with a root system adventuring deep

If ignored, it rises tall, reaching out under the low-hanging lilac boughs.


It doesn’t have the majesty of the aged blue spruce

Nor the fragrance of the honeysuckle looped over the fence

Nor the fragility of the oversized hibiscus.

Can it bear beauty at all?


If so

What makes a weed a weed?


There is no botanical definition.

Is it just unwanted, misallocated?

Defined by the landscape artist

Or one who only wants pedigree

A plant in the wrong place at the wrong time.


When grownups say a child is growing like a weed

What does that mean?

It usually means fast, almost unexpectedly fast.

Soon to rival the adult?

Gangly, spindly, out of proportion?

Like a weed reaching out adventuring deep?

 Will it bear beauty?


If so

What makes a weed a weed?





A waning crescent moon

One bright Mars

Nothing else visible from the natural grassland field

With a northeast preferred view


A thin mist of clouds envelops

Most of the way-before-dawn sky

Some meager breaks hint hopeful of dissipation


But not on this meteor watch


Primed tonight again I am

For the elusive Perseids



Riverbed Ponds

Stillness and solitude surround Spring at River Bend

The trout pond hosts a gathering of troutlets at the nearly submerged branches

while the waters lick and lap the edges.

It is not a beach with crystalline sands or a lakefront inviting boats to moor

Just a shore where the water stops and the rugged path begins

Where roots are exposed and the earth makes ledges over the licks and laps

Downy feathers, discarded by fledglings, rest in emerging grasses

Blackbirds have returned from wherever they winter if they winter at all

Their calls echo along the walkway across the inlets the ponds created long ago

Sparrows compete in chattering when they are not darting across the clouds and through the tree spaces.

A new song emerges but its vocalist is not to be found even though Spring foliage is meager.

Nestled near the water in a marsh among cattails

A heron strikes a statuette pose waiting for a trout trophy

Now momentarily displayed as caught then swallowed




A day of remembrance, of thankfulness, of reflection.

We will not let our fear consume us,

but I worry about the anger that takes our energies day by day

Fear might freeze us,

but anger often makes us unable to focus,

unable to direct that anger to creative, positive, intense actions.

I am grateful I have the presence of mind

to reflect on these things,

to remember those unheralded friends and companions

who have shared their energies and have worked tirelessly

to focus on righteousness, justice, compassion and love.

And to refocus my energies in these often very dark times


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