Summer. Days of long hot sun,
the wind scorching exposed skin
and throwing sand and twigs everywhere.

Summer. Early mornings when the sun
first reaches above the pine tree tops
and the light squirms its way through
openings in the pole barn roof, tapping
on closed eyes. Slowly the whippoorwill
across the seasonal creek is heard and
the acorns hitting roof every time
the wind arrives.

Summer. Afternoon storms that build
and tower above the flight paths
of airplanes, the silent clouds
with layers of colors, various shapes,
and ever-changing patterns.

Before the storms arrive as the sky darkens,
I am serenaded by the whispering pine
and the silent awakening of not being alone,
of having a connection with the earth
and to each tree providing shelter.

I read a lot of outdoor books, most notably by Jon Krakauer and Ed Viesturs.  Expeditions to the mountains, the success and the failures, have always fascinated me and kept certain dreams alive, and provided material for writing.  What I find lacking to a degree, is the more personal inner struggle, and the spiritual awakening that can arise from the human seeking a higher place next to nature, the being pushed to limits where we become our true self.

I see this in great detail and depth in the books by Reinhold Messner.  His book “The Crystal Horizon” is about the first solo ascent of Mount Everest in 1980 and is steeped with raw emotion, the body and mind punished, and the spirit set free.

Other books I am currently reading by Mr. Messner:

  1. My Life at the Limit
  2. The Naked Mountain
  3. All Fourteen 8,000ers

I have lived in MN all of my 38 years.  It is home.  Family is here.  Memories and history exist in every nook and cranny.  It is home.  For better or worse, there are reminders everywhere.

But, what truly defines home?  Is it physical reminders?  Is it by sight as you drive past landmarks and the memory of being 10-years old, spending the afternoon on the red-swing set, surfaces and a tinge of pain or regret appears; or the joys of careless summer afternoons with your dog at your side?

Is home much deeper, with tendrils extending along the spine and following each nerve; a world unto itself unfurling with spiritual awakening and awareness?

The dog alarm woke me up before the real one, with a slap on the forehead – must be time for breakfast.  Letting her outside, into the early morning of thick, damp, and heavy clouds, I briefly forgot I was here, and was greeted with days spent in Haines, AK.  I had no choice – the smell and the feel of the air on my skin, lifted me and dropped me back into the waters of Lynn Canal.

With something so deep and touching every part of my being, is that home?