Driving north this May
an early summer and the windows are closed
as the heat presses against skin
and our eyes squint.

Green farmlands with waiting tractors,
fields holding grazing cows,
red barns and white houses,
silos scattered across the horizon.

What is this life outside the window
from another time long gone
except memories anchored in places
my feet have not walked upon?

Becoming tired from the heat
yet restless from the nostalgia
I take your hand and am thankful for now
while searching for my past.

Rewrite of a poem from 5-years ago along with a new photo.


The Old Barn

An old abandoned barn lies on the east side of town, at the end
of Baker’s road, where the tar abruptly changes to gravel, dusty this
time of year as rain has been scarce and the crops are wilting.

Coming up the driveway, a neglected John Deere
greets you with rust and smeared green paint, revealing the steel machine
underneath, a workhorse in the fields, taking stalk after stalk

from the earth, a bounty each year for the family with hopes
of selling a few bushels at the market on main street.
That is the past now, rain has not visited, people have

not visited, a once lush yard, crunches beneath my feet
impending fire permeates the air, timber from the fence
I built last summer, blown apart by that storm, a tricycle

faded blue kids pool, half a tire, a 1938 Studebaker
– how I would still like to restore that – and a menagerie of
other things are carelessly strewn about near the for sale sign.

I remember the winters spent in front of the potbelly stove,
a wool blanket for one stretched to two –
whose turn is it to fetch a few more logs, the flame is getting low.

One last trip to the barn, the scent hangs in the air,
you may still be here, but I do not hear any voices
as the fire takes hold and ashes replace hay bales.

Imagine what life would be from this moment forward if we moved away from the chatter and negativity our mind is swimming within and realize we are born from the stars, that all life on this planet is born from the same material and roots, and that we each have a purpose.

Imagine what tomorrow would bring if in the moment now we changed our thoughts, our preconceived notions, our anger, our fear, our angst.

Our life would change instantly in that moment. And so too those immediately around us, and within our sphere of influence. And tomorrow as we venture out and interact with others the momentum continues as our approach and voice has become calmer and we have gained a deeper understanding as we are all born from the stars.

In that moment, we move to the other path and it will not be easy, and it will take time. The experiences, habits, and thoughts that pushed us here and now, must be removed from the mind, held in the light of sun and moon, and reexamined. With honesty we take a close look at ourselves and choose what to keep and what to discard, making room for the new pieces of us that we vow to take back into the world.

This process, a self-reflection fracturing, allows the fragments to realign and grants us the opportunity rebuild our self into the being we want to be, into the being shedding burdens and making the best of the time we have left. Setting the stage for a return and a rebirth carrying with us the experiences bathed in a new mindset, a new view of the world, opening the door to ascend from the empty fields and onto the next level.

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.

New snow and we walked the nearby trail. Just the 3 of us through untouched paths and into the open fields. There Vinny found a cleared spot with a meal stored neatly, most likely part of a coyote homestead.

Hide and seek with the morning sun as we emerge form a deep freeze in MN.

Through our normal daily lives, time consistently pushes us forward toward goals and moments we may or may not be aware of. We are on this train, sometimes without a conductor, but most times with no way to pause or exit that train. While in some regards, the choosing of what defines our view of time is arbitrary, it is rooted in science, astronomy, and universal constants, motions, and laws of gravity.

Imagine what our lives would look like, how much more hurried we would be, if the earth spun around the sun in half the time?

As the sun sets on the last day of our definition of a year, it does give a mental pause, a time for reflection, and a chance to look ahead at another 1-year block of time. The transition grants a reasonable chunk of time to work with, to plan, and set individual goals as I strive to wake up tomorrow better than I was today.

As the sun falls behind the forest and its last rays scatter through bare branches, I begin to accept this as an opportunity to start again, being with a clean slate so to speak, and visit the fields.

Wind-swept and holding tree shadows, the fields are silent and calm and with no judgment they accept my presence as I prepare to transition to the new year.



The boundary between the empty field
and the old pine forest

transports me from the confines of my mind
into the ancient memories of childhood.

Walking between the giants,
they hold up the sky

as I listen to each one
and feel the warmth rising from the earth.

They were here before me
and they will stand above me when

the final day of the this life arrives
and I prepare for the next.

Returning to the fields
where it all started
so many years ago.

It was here I decided
which path I would take
and to never look back,

even when the sun falls
and the fields are obscured
with shadows and mist.

That crossroad we come to
in moments of stress and blocks,
the struggle choking rational thoughts,
the behavior, the actions – this is not me.

How did this happen?
How did I get here?

Change is subtle and patient.
One day we vow to find balance,
to live and act a certain way,
to be, most importantly, better than
our-self yesterday.

Then time takes over,
and one winter morning, awake before the alarm,
thoughts are consumed with the upcoming day,
week, and months, items and events beyond
control, but consuming, pushing
away everything that is important, that matters.

Closing eyes tight, breathing, trying to push
this away and overcome the thoughts, but it has wrapped cold bony
fingers around the mind and wont let go.

I am losing sight of the path,
I am losing focus of the empty fields.

Each day folds into another as the weeks
and months pass with little notice
and soon another year rises beyond the horizon
and I am forced to confront where I am in this life
and if this is where I want to be, is this the path
I started down before?

How do I break from this cycle?
How do I wrestle back control and stake claim
to the life I am meant to live?