Nature – Land, a Fall Perspective

Evening approaches the valley shielded under the canopy of oak. The colors change from green began a week ago and today the carpet has become red. A southerly wind rattles the dense forest, shaking loose leaves and small branches. Other than nature it is quiet and calm. I come here for the quiet and calm. Peace abounds as the shadows like a blanket settle over the landscape.

I ride past open fields of golden tops swaying in the wind. The setting sun cast long is bright to the naked eye, but warm, beautiful, and peaceful.

I ride the single-track dirt trail through an immense soundscape of birds calling, squirrels foraging for nuts, and the blue jays singing.

I witness the last preparation of bees. One by one they take flight with cargo, like helicopters slowly leaving the earth, and into the setting sun. Evening dew settles upon the elongated grass, capturing the last rays of light.

The butterfly visited me today. Within the back trails under the coming darkness, the color of wings pushing the air creating a vibration captured my attention as it crossed directly in front of me.

The setting suns light scatters with the thin white clouds occupying the evening sky.

I continue to ride and the trail ascends before flattening out, bringing me between field and placid waters clinging to the last light.

The transition of summer to fall contains a new color palette as greens give way to red, yellow and orange. Flaming red maple leaves fall from the sky as I look up, standing in the middle of the trail.

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Poem – The Eye

Across vast distances
of land and sea

the road is lonely,
the conversation sparse.

In the furthest stretches of the soul
we feel alone and cast eyes

to the emptiness up ahead in the future
and look back to the past

wondering how we ended up here
but we are greater than what we see

as we are in and soaked in the universe
and that eye ever watchful is our awareness.

The Eye

The Eye

Poem – Boundaries and Borders That We Find That We Cross

Standing at the shoreline
I awake when the sun peaks
over the horizon and the waves
crawl across frozen rock and cover my feet.

I do not know how long I have been here
at this border between the land and the sea.
I have vague recollections of why I am here.

You see, years have passed and the person I am
today does not really resemble the man troubled
and lost, weak and scared.

Holding and embracing the experiences I peer
at each fragment, taste the memory and vow
to move on, to be better than I was, beyond myself
into the space and fields and sky that I exist within
and part of.

So I stand at this border dividing the land and sea.

Who will I become next?

By what standard do I hold my being to and if
I falter will I still cross the border?

I sit on the golden tinged earth
as questions I thought become
answers that I see when in the
distance a figure follows the only
path, the exact border between
the land and the sea and when
he is close his hand
placed upon my head and when
I look up, grandfather.

Poem – Random Lines

~~~~~~~~~~~

A moment of clarity.
Forced distance and disconnection.
Reliance on the self.
Self reflection.
The inner voice surfacing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

At sea the land beomces
an opening act as the
water becomes the encore
and focus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

What was lost becomes clear.
Mountain shadows overcome fear.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poem – Layers

Why do I spend each weekend
breaking sweet and back?

What does each peeled layer represent?

What am I looking for?

Across the water lapping at my feet
the land rises to the sky
and the cliffs.

I dream in color, I dream in green
I smell warm pine and feel my skin burn

as each layer dissipates and I melt
into the earth and am consumed by roots.

Every End Leads to a Beginning

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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.

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Alaska 2013 – Thoughts and Random Photos

Day 1 in Anchorage, AK.

It has been 6-years since I have been here, in Anchorage. Has anything changed? Here, me? Previously I had specific goals and decisions to make during my time. Reflecting back on that time, the space I was within was turbulent, fuzzy, chaotic, twisting and turning in some kind of vortex.  That person, following paths of someone else’s paving – but there was a distant glimmer, streaks of light across the evening sky that I caught glimpses of, and held onto as best I could.

In the deepest valleys, when I could not see the light I conjured up these images and steadfastly held to them, held their energy, warmth, and hope.

And now I am here again.  In a different place, a different person in many ways, but my roots have grown further into this land.  In return, she has infused me with raw and primal energy and a connection to the land, sea, mountains, and trees.

Poem – The Burden We Accept

(1) Remains

We found remains
not of the day or night
not of the moon or sun
but of something more
primal and of the earth
and soil carrying its voice
from pastures to fields
to the winter beds.

The remains we found of
creatures roaming
the open space
the land born of themselves.

(2) Searching

Searching snow covered grounds
a rake is used like a ship
dredging a canal, but
at the surface, gentle
tugs, attention paid to
the amount of resistance,
the emitted sound when metal
hits a rock, dried wood,
or what I am looking for.

When a brownish blur
catches my eye through cattails
I know I am done.
It’s time to return
you to earth.

(3) Funeral Pyre

2x4s laid in the snow
covered dirt road, away
from low hanging pine limbs
and prairie grasses.

I place your rib cage upon
the altar, sprinkle gasoline
and say a few words
before throwing the match.

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