Frost Crystals/Wobbly Moons

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This piece by Lauren Michelle Levesque is the eighth post in the Emotional Ecologies series edited by Sarah York-Bertram and Jessica DeWitt. In this series, contributors were asked to reflect on what role emotion plays in connecting humans to their environment and more-than-human beings.

I have noticed,
My hands shake.
The image, blurring
Despite leaning, weight
on the window frame or
crouching to steady
the breath.

An photo of the moon peeking out behind a snow-covered tree.

The moon wobbles,
out of focus.
Delicate frost crystals
tremble, the camera unable
to adjust to the movement of
their minute totality.

Frost on a windowpane

I may never be still enough,
my breath may never be soft
enough to answer the question:
how do we learn the shape
of frost crystals and capture
the light of wobbly moons?

This creative submission explores emotions evoked through poetic-visual inquiries into an artist/scholar/human’s relationships with the more-than-human world (Levesque, 2022). The original poem and accompanying cellphone photographs provide a snapshot into feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and ultimately hope, encountered in the environments surrounding a particular home-place (e.g., a small urban apartment in a mid-sized Canadian city) (Levesque & Levesque, 2022). As described in the submission, these encounters emerge when one slows down and allows the body to act as a source of insight (Vallee, 2020). This understanding points to the ways in which embodied sensations of belonging can contribute to “quiet activism,” or (re)imagining the complex, entangled relationships between humans and the more-than-human world we collectively inhabit (Potting, 2017; Rosengren et al., 2022; Steele et al., 2021). With these ideas in mind, the poem and photographs capture the author’s efforts to attune to instances of small, everyday beauty (e.g., frost crystal clinging to a stone wall and/or metal staircase; a full, descending moon outside an apartment window).

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Lauren Michelle Levesque is an associate professor and Director of the School of Leadership, Ecology, and Equity (formerly the School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality) at Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada. Her recent works have been published in arts-focused, peer-reviewed journals, including Music and Arts in Action, Critical Studies in Improvisation, and Art/Research International. She is the co-founder of the Research Group on Imagination, Storytelling, and Spaces ( Her poems have appeared in the journals Studies in Social Justice and Drifting Sands: A Journal of Haibun and Tanka Prose.

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