eric mccarty
2 min readJun 3
Cattails — Plant Allies — Headless Now — Prose Poetry — Moca McCarty Photo


cattails are found along a water’s edge, abundant throughout most wetlands, a symbol of a certain place where shore and shallow water meet. They have long been a favorite plant of mine, from a child exploring nearby ponds and creek beds to being an adult now and watching as red-winged blackbirds construct there homes within the protective thicket that they offer — they are a common theme to my memories, a presence to my morning walks and time spent watching wildlife.

a plant I deeply love for its appearance throughout my life.

cattails are an important habitat for wildlife, providing shelter for birds, food and cover for fish,a home for various insects for both birds and fish to eat. They protect riverbanks and pond shores from erosion, acting as a barrier between the force of water and the edge of land. It’s a plant of importance, an ally to the ecosystem, and just by my presence I am included in its aid, healed by virtue of my inclusion. Cattails draw me closer to streams and ponds, giving me a moment to pause and visually explore what’s offered. In just a brief glance I might see a turtle, it’s neck stretched long to fully appreciate a spot of sun found between the reeds, fish skimming to the surface in a quick dash to catch a meal, perhaps if I’m truly fortunate or infinitely patient I’ll glimpse a water snake or eel glide by. Herons are often on the hunt here, stealthy, confident in their skills. And of the many songbirds that make their home amidst the dense stand of reeds, the beauty of the red shoulder blackbird never fails to catch my eye.

all from the briefest glance.

visually, cattails are elegant in their stance, gracefully emerging from water, a long stalk looking similar to a blade of grass and then the familiar brown topping of its flower. Cattails show me that my true home is not so easily defined, always on the edge between worlds and yet completely belonging as the thinnest line, a veil that holds the appearance of every side that touches the holiness of its location. It’s an important reminder of my place here, that I’m not between worlds at all, but existing as an ecosystem of my own, holding a place of holiness as well,

cattails show me that I belong.

exactly where I am.


Peace, Eric

eric mccarty

Writer, prose poetry, meditation teacher and lifetime student