This little button recently turned 7.
I am continually humbled by the trust animals can have in people and the life changing experiences they provide.
Nothing is more sacred and meaningful
than the trust of an animal.
Nothing is a better cure for stress and anxiety
than playtime with puppies.
A chance to put on-hold
obligations and deadlines
and dive into nature
with the purest of spirits.
Removed from the city
even for an afternoon
layers of stress and blocks
fall away, replaced by what
the wind brings, what the
trees take, and what the animals
are willing to share.
How else to rebuild the soul
than to witness firsthand
the infinite cycle of nature,
of earth, of home?
Moments the chaos is held at bay
when the pine filled sky sways
and the ravens visit
and the earth releases pungency.
Each weeks struggle to fit in
to complete what is expected
to fulfil obligations
takes its toll on the mind, the body,
further distancing my connection
to the forest and each animal,
a balance of give and take
that exudes beauty.
Even simple tasks like raking,
clearing brush and watching
the dogs run free with smiles
is all it takes to survive another week.
Weeks have passed since my last visit.
Jack pine needles blanket the pole barn’s roof
a painting of solid green and brown slivers.
The front porch is covered with maple and oak leaves,
spider webs and left-over wood that was cut for fires.
What used to be a driveway is now in the beginning stages
of returning to prairie grasses with spotted wild flowers.
Dragonflies, damselflies, and other winged creatures
casually float 20 to 30 feet overhead and beneath
afternoon blue sky, growing darker as the sun
is sinking below the treeline.
With what little light is left I choose the pruning
shears and work my way to the trail I have spent the past 3-years
cleaning, clearing, and moving deeper into the forest
of countless trees, creatures, and tall guardians.
My goal is to cut branches below 8 feet and leave
a tunnel, allowing more light through and the
path to take on murky, moving shadows.
At the third tree, I stopped, still, silent
and listened as the tree in front of me,
a white birch, spoke my name.
I touched its trunk, felt its heart and energy
and decided that was enough for the evening.
I will leave you untouched, as you are,
guardian of this forest.
We brought Leroy home in early 2011, shortly after I returned from Alaska. I was apprehensive of bringing this tiny life home and the responsibility that came with her. Would we be good pet owners, provide the right nutrition, walks, exercise, training, keep her safe? What do we do when traveling, or simply running errands? Was I willing to make adjustments and some sacrifice for this fur ball? Since I decided to not have children, these are things I never had to worry about and was fearful to say the least.
The first year was probably the most stressful with the most amount of change as this puppy was like a squirrel drinking Monster energy, which is probably why she responds when I say “Monster, come here”. But, as she grew and her personality solidified, so did I. Stress became easier to handle or let go as the monster brought a frisbee and only wanted to play. Patience became easier to muster as walks into the woods became more about living, smelling each flower, and chasing dragonflies.
Now she has become my shadow and enjoys, with a smile, terrorizing me.
Going on 4
Childhood memories of running through the yard, of dirt being kicked up, of throwing a ball and a flash of red whizzing by – there is nothing like a boy and his dog. Growing up with at least two dogs (along with cats, birds, fish, gerbils) at any time, there was no boredom to be be found. A dog always needed to go outside, wanted to play, or at least lay on your lap and snore for a couple of hours. When nap time was over, time to play in the backyard and chase a ball or catch a frisbee.
I have always cherished this part of my childhood. Being around and caring for animals, especially those so affectionate and close to humans (dogs and cats) instills a level of patience, gratitude, and empathy. They really are part of the family and when they are happy, we are happy (and vice-versa) and when they are sick, we hurt, we feel, and we cry. I cannot imagine not having a four-legged monster running through the hallways, bark echoing, and another ball gone missing.
The last day of September leads quietly into October. Summer takes one last swipe before fall takes the reins. The afternoon sun is bright and unfiltered – adding a golden glow around each leaf and blade of grass.
Every ending, marks the beginning of something, a continuation perhaps of the previous story, or a fresh start to hold with the gained experiences in hand. What the beginning consists of is a blank canvas waiting for the brush of the life you want to lead, the path you want to take, the people you want to bring in and allow into the weird worlds we create.
I drive past the old neighborhood with no thought and no purpose. I soon pass the corner park with an ice rink and baseball field. We took many at-bats and ran around the bases from sunrise to sunset in the summer months. As we got older, the games became more intense and what was “just for fun” became homerun hitting contests with high stakes and peppermint schnapps to get through the later summer and early fall.
This place, what I consider to be my roots, marked the ending of childhood and the beginning of adulthood.
I drive through the old neighborhood and I remember many things. I can feel the collective experience and I know this place lifted me to now. And with that awareness, I feel it is time to mark this chapter closed, and begin the next. The pages are still being milled from trees and I have yet to choose the ink, but the path is gleaming in the distant horizon across this field, waiting.
What that path is made of I have chosen to not acknowledge. Instead I will let my conscious and unconscious self guide the way, with help from the silent towering trees. Their voice echoes across the land, not in vibrations for the delicate bones in the ear to translate, but deeper, in the essence that makes us human.
Years before, the foundation was set, although at that time I did not realize this. In the open field surrounded by red pine, jack pine, and birch I laid in the tall grass and stared at the crisp blue sky free of clouds. The wind was noticeable from the whispering pine. Every few minutes, a raven’s caw complemented the external silence and drove me deeper into the land.
What was fuzzy, incomplete, bathed in the fray, became clear, free, and unobstructed. I could feel the tree roots sharing nourishment from the soil. I could see with my eyes closed the abundance of wildlife scattered across the land, now paying no attention to me. Or was it acceptance? I awoke from this brief journey, cut short by my own inexperience, breathless and confused. Where was I? Where did I come from? Did that tree really talk to me? I vowed on this day to learn the name of each tree and treat each blade of grass, and each creature, the same respect as I would like.
As I left that space, two ravens circled just above the tree tops. Passing closer, I could hear their wing flapping in the air, and the whoosh as they glided toward the sunset.
What I was before that day, ended, and the journey to today began.
I came across this photo on Facebook and cannot help but be mesmerized by their faces and everything it symbolizes. These are Japanese Macaque, also called Snow Monkeys. They appear to be in a hot spring, possibly in Japan. I find it impossible to look at this, their face, expressions, and not know we are connected in ways beyond energy and the ground we walk upon. It is much deeper, more genetic. We come from the same material, the same subatomic particles, from the same universal source.
The one on the left is wondering about the nature of the photographer, and their intention. The one on the right appears slightly older, more wise, and aware of the photographer, but not concerned. He has chosen to be aware of the situation, process the energy, and let it go. And enjoy the hot spring.
When you see these faces, the situation, their reaction, and how they have chosen to be in that moment, how can we not see ourselves? How can we say we are not all connected in various threads and degrees?
Photo from Milky Way Scientists.
Sunday, 27th January 2013
Snow Monkeys By Istvan