Early morning walk to the empty fields
and the blue sky filled with birds.

Wind through the trees
refreshing as closed eyes

cleared the mind
making room for nature.

Finding calm and peace in this world, a challenge, a frustrating challenge.

But outside that door or window, nature. This can take many forms and does not have to be as extreme as mountains, deserts, or jungles. I believe what is essential for our well-being is to seek a balance between ourselves and the world around, and this is accomplished when the energy within interacts with nature, encompassing the same building blocks of life and particles as us. When you take a deep breath, the air composed of the same materials will replenish within us what has been lost or damaged. We are truly made of the stars and they, nature, can sustain and nourish us.

It can be wetland grasses covered with snow.

Or the sun shining through trees.

Or a frozen berry clinging to a tree.

Moving through empty space,
living within the void

at the mercy of science and gravity
our feet hold firm to this planet,

providing shelter, food, water
and the fragile recipes for life.

A short article Tricycle (The Buddhist Review) on photography and finding your zen, inner peace.

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/zen-photography/

I watch an airplane across the evening sky,
diminishing light as the sun is leaving.

Still trees reach toward the heavens,
as blackness envelops the landscape.

Layers transform across the spectrum
scattering particles reaching these human eyes.

What is out there beyond the layers,
beyond the limitations of distance and speed?

Further I sink into the night
as the moon and stars take over.

Deep breath releases a hazy fog
and when cleared, the origin stretches out before me.

The previous day bathed us in winter light
as the sea sang us to sleep.

Today we slowly become wet snow-people
as the storms take over the landscape

and we marvel at the beauty everywhere.

As concrete melts into dirt and grass
and skyscrapers become pine trees,
I fall into the snow and promise
myself to stay until spring.

As the snow continues to fall,
I am covered until I become
the snow and the earth and
the roots of spring’s growth.

What was a full mind
is replaced with snow,
ice, and water dispalcing
everything until there is nothing.

I have not been more at peace
nor been closer to my true being
than our time here, in the wilds
of Alaska, surrounded by mountains,
glaciers, and each other.





Returning from an Alaskan retreat, I am different.

Nothing earth shattering and most likely not noticeable to most people I come into contact with.

Back home, the sky has not changed, the trees stand tall against the summer blue, and the grass is coarse from overdue rain.

Obligations, bills, demands, job – waited at the front door for the week to pass and my return.

Emails arrive in the overflowing inbox and the phone still rings.

Lines form at registers waiting for morning coffee.

But something is different.

I left here in a chaotic state, doubts of the pathway I built and have stayed on, despite the uncertainty. I was clinging to the next day or week, hoping that it will be different from today, that if I just hold-out, the answers and next direction will reveal themselves.  I had become complacent and stagnant.

How many years was I going to relinquish control of my path to outside forces with unknown names and unfamiliar faces?

Something is different now that my feet are on the ground here. What happened up there in the Alaskan wilderness?

I walk to the backyard and stand on the cement patio with coffee.  The morning sun rays begin to touch treetops and the golden glow is stark against the deep blue sky.  But I do not see this and I do not hear the ravens playing in the fields beyond the hill.

Lost in some thought I cannot place, my eyes close and I am back in Alaska with a river stretching to the base of distant mountains.  I am flying above glaciers and standing so close I can taste the cold.  I am riding an ATV through forest and open fields until I stand overlooking the river valley and and lose myself to the silence, the beauty, and the immense landscape.

That is what I see now that I am back home.  Now that I have returned from an Alaskan retreat, the burdens I left here with have been replaced with nature, tangible things I can see, touch, smell, taste.  Things that will my mind and push everything else out.  In return for this gift, I am more silent, thinking before I speak, and keeping more calm and control of myself as I attempt to cope with the present and push for a different future that I create.

 

I see a life in the distance
away from here and this moment of loss.

I see a change on the horizon
away from the struggle and terror.

I see above a way forward
through the pathway to the heavens.