Transformation

Many late nights have been spent this past month with the Spring issue of Stone Path Review, as well as writing projects.  I have not been posting too much poetry as I have been mostly writing prose and essays around Buddhism and Deep Ecology.

After so much coffee, Monster, and sleep deprivation, I feel I am existing in two worlds.  Of each, but not in.  That line passing between.

Transformation in black and white

Transformation in black and white

Photo and manipulated improvements by Patricia at Twisted Root Studios.

On Paths

The following is the introduction I wrote for the Spring 2014 issue of Stone Path Review.


Welcome to the Spring 2014 issue of Stone Path Review. Our primary mission is to present art that delves into life and path in life, the route and direction we take, and the struggle and triumph we all endure. The path is often dark before the full light emerges.

Where we are going and what tomorrow will look like is rarely known today. Sometimes tomorrow arrives, and we wonder how did I get here. There are many variables and external influences pushing and pulling against you. These directly affect what constitutes that path, and what tomorrow will contain.

That path, that thread, is often dark. Comprised of a myriad of emotions it saturates the mind, filling the soul, and pushes us to breaking points that we are unaware of. When we get through the experience, what happens next is essential in determining where this leads, as the path we are on is never static. It is constantly changing in response to our state of being, the environment we are within, and how we respond to that environment.

Across the distance, from where I sit in a rocking chair, the space is full with trees, hills, small valleys, and marshland. I tell myself I can touch the sun. I convince myself there is no distance and there is no time. Such is the path I attempt to define while mired in the daily chaos I struggle to avoid.

The path we travel is toward something. It can be anything we seek to attain or obtain from this limited time we have chosen. Here I call this the source, or a bright light. Some schools of thought call this enlightenment or salvation. The end goal seeks to be the culmination of our experiences and a reason for what we have endured. It is a light in the distance, where no straight path or direct route exists, but it shines regardless.

Each day filled with doubt, loneliness, or a sense of loss or purpose. The path is stormy and there never seems to be enough time to reach the source before the sun disappears and the day is over. And this begins again the next day as we continue to navigate that path – sometimes not realizing the answers we are looking for have quietly entered our mind and our being.

Even when we see the light and feel good about the direction there are storms building. Perhaps we do not believe the goodness, even in small doses, a lotus growing in middle of a burned field. There seems to be something hiding and lurking in the background. While it is simple to look the other way and ignore what is still an opportunity, these challenges further the growing experience building the person you are now and will become shortly, as each second passes.

What is most important is how we respond and react to each moment and what we want from this limited time – this determines the shape and direction of our path.

There is goodness and light beyond the dark. There is something more beyond what we see now and we can make it through knowing this. The more we experience gives more options as we choose pieces to keep in building the person within and the path to follow. The more positive the path becomes, the more positive the impact on people and nature around us.

Spring 2014 – Now Available as a PDF

We just completed the PDF version of the Spring issue. You may view and download as a PDF or purchase a printed copy.

Stone Path Review Spring 2014

Stone Path Review: Stone Path Review Spring 2014

Stone Path Review journal of the arts with poetry, fiction, photography, and paintings. Presents the path we take through life.

Find out more on MagCloud

Spring 2014 – Stone Path Review

The Spring 2014 issue of Stone Path Review has been published to the website. A viewable and downloadable PDF will be available shortly. This issue features visual arts by Aaron Bowen, Jimmy Ostgard, W. Jack Savage, Julian J. Jackson; poetry by Cambria Jones, Charles Wilkinson, Daniel Flanagan, John Grey, Mark J. Mitchell, Rachel Nix, Richard Hartwell, Rob Schultz, Robin Wyatt Dunn, Timothy B. Dodd; short story by Robert Schmidt.

Stone Path Review Artistic Journal

As writers we should stop using “as”

Working on edits the other day and my own essay and something about the word “as” really struck a cord with me. As implies and makes assumptions.  It generalizes a group or individual.

Take for example the title of this post. It starts with “as writers”. It assumes to include and be a voice for all writers, for all time, starting now, as soon as you read the words. It does not exclude any type of writer or genre – all writers should do this, whatever point this post is trying to make. If you are a writer, you do not have much choice, or a chance to respond.

“As” can also assume and impose a limitation on one subject, which may not be intentional, and potentially lead the reader down the wrong path.

Additional examples specific to poetry or fiction:

  1. I fell as the leaves do.
  2. I went to the party as superman.
  3. I ran as fast as I could.
  4. The lakes and glaciers stretched as far as I could see.
  5. As I waited for you, it rained.
  6. As humans, we are failing.

If the writer desires the reader to make the assumption or limitation “as” is implying, the context and story must support and encourage the statement, and never contradict. A way to avoid any confusion or leading the reader astray, is to be verbose and state exactly the conditions of the assumption, the properties one subject is taking from another. If there is a limitation, give the reader a little more information. If two subjects, objects, or conditions are really the same, then “as” is perfect.

 

 

 

Returning Home

Dreams of home become reality and I will be heading back to Alaska in June. I am heeding the call of the Brooks Range and will be backpacking in the Romanzof Mountains for awhile. My spirit, my being, has become tarnished and lost in the daily chaos and chosen lifestyle. A remote expedition is sorely needed to return to my roots, and continue the spiritual journey, to continue the path I so desperately need.

Here are two beautiful videos from different areas of the Brooks Range.

Dreaming of Home

I know you are out there, and I hope you are waiting for my return. Each day you swim within my thoughts, attaching to everything I think, consuming what ever I have left.

A slow walk across the airfield
beneath mountain shadows.

I see pictures of you and building emotions overflow and surface things I have kept hidden.

I watch the sunset
in silence and with
eyes closed I leave here
and land there.

What is home? I do not hear a voice calling me home. I feel the tug and pull on every nerve, muscle, and bone. I feel my mind and being transported through time, through memories and experiences, back into the kayak, and through the mountain pass.

Massive clouds collide with
mountain tops and the rain
blankets the sound with
soft drumbeats, accompanied
by distant thunder.

 

Near Whittier

Near Whittier

Prince William Sound

Prince William Sound

Nature and Us – One and the Same

I’ve been continuing to read the book The Deep Ecology Movement. This includes an introduction to the movement and a collection of essays with varying thoughts and opinions. Along with finding many similarities to Buddhism, I feel this is a meaningful framework to express nature and humans, and the dependency of each on the other, and the critical task to strike balance.

An important concept that would help to start down the right path is the ecological self. A quote from the essay “Self-Realization: An Ecological Approach to Being in the World” by Arne Naess -

“We may be said to be in, of and for Nature from our very beginning.”

My favorite quote that sums up everything simply and elegantly is from John Haines -

“We speak of nature, of the natural world, as if that were something distinct from ourselves and the social world we appear to have made, seldom noticing that we are in nature and never out of it…”

Poetry Month – Poems by Hosai Ozaki

The following are a selection of haiku poems from Right under the big sky, I don’t wear a hat, the haiku and prose of Hosai Ozaki.


I look back at the shore, not one footprint let

The cigarette is dead, I cast away the loneliness

Dead leaves shake down the trees and broom the blue sky

A single garden rock places, evening comes

A pine grove let the children go home and is darkening

Such a good moon, I look at it by myself and go to sleep

I cup sparrow’s warmth, let it go

Poetry Month – Poem by Layman Pang Yun

The following two poems from the book The Recorded Sayings of Layman Pang, Weatherhill 1971, translated from the Chinese by Ruth Fuller Sasaki, Yoshitaka Iriya, and Dana R. Fraser


#1

I have a great robe
Not of this world’s silk.
It can’t be dyed by any color,
Being crystalline, like white floss.
No scissors were used to cut it,
No thread was used to stitch it.
I keep it always close about me,
But there’s no man who of himself has seen it.
It shelters a Trichilial** Cosmos from heat and cold,
Covering over sentient and non-sentient alike.
Should you be able to obtain this great robe,
Having donned it, you straightway enter the palace of the King of emptiness.

**A thousand to the third power, or one billion worlds. This is said to constitute the domain of a buddha.

#2

The past is already past–
Don’t try to regain it.
The present does not stay–
Don’t try to touch it from moment to moment.
The future is not come–
Don’t think about it beforehand.
With the three times non-existent,
Mind is the same as Buddha-mind.
To silently function relying on Emptiness–
This is profundity of action.
Not the least dharma exists–
Whatsoever comes to eye leave it be.
There are no commandments to be kept,
There is no filth to be cleansed.
With empty mind really penetrated,
The dharmas have no life.
When you can be like this
You’ve completed the ultimate attainment.


Layman Pang

Layman Pang

Poetry Month – Poems By Zen Masters

The following translations are from the book Original Teachings of Chan Buddhism, by Chang Chun-Yuan, A Vintage Book, 1971.


From Master Tsao-shan

He who says that a dragon is singing in the dry woods
Is he who truly sees Tao.
The skull has no consciousness,
But wisdom’s eye begins to shine in it.
If joy and consciousness should be eliminated,
Then fluctuations and communication would cease.
Those who dry this do not understand
That purity is impure.

From Master Fen-yang

Under the moonlight are the towers and chambers of a thousand houses;
Lying in the autumn air are lakes and rivers of myriad li.
Blossoms blow in the reeds, differing not in their colors.
A white bird descends the white sandbank of a stream.

Poem – Morning Light

There is the perfect moment -
birds sing, the wind
circles the body,
dogs lay and sniff the air,
ravens and ducks land
on rooftops and trees,
prairie grass crackles -
when burdens fall away
with no effort.

Briefly what followed
leaves – I become aware of this
too quickly and everything tumbles back
but I remember how I got to that place
and continue to savor the moment.

I remember the field when it was empty
and when I was truly me.

Each day becomes the practice
to instill a clear mind – not full
but mindful of the fullness.

Each day becomes the understanding
of where I am from before
tearing apart, digging deep
and removing the fragments

and placing them on the ground
showing their true colors in
the rising sun and as a
witness to each piece the raven takes away.


Morning Light

Morning Light