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.
On 2017-08-08, we stepped out of comfort zones and took to the air for a flightseeing tour with Alaska Air Service, based in Anchorage, AK. Our pilot was Bill who is also the owner. We flew into the Chugach Mountains and were treated to awesome views of the Knik and Colony Glaciers. Also included was a gravel landing with a hike to get closer to the water, glacier, and icebergs.
- Knik Glacier / Chugach Mountains Flightseeing Tour
Into the rainforest we walk
with soft steps, silent voices, and open hearts.
Morning rain seeps through the tall trees
and the mountain side is shrouded in fog.
Deeper in we cross wooden bridges
over creeks following animal tracks,
we examine stones laced with scars,
and we marvel in being here, part of something larger.
In the afternoon, the sun clears the valley,
glaciers and avalanche debris will appear.
Do each of us have a monster inside
a beast we strive to hide from the
world, those close we love, and from our self?
At the end of each day
what are we truly running from?
What shadows lurk in the forest
and what shadows do we carry?
Across the fields with scattered snow
mountains rise from the earth
in spires of solid granite,
nearly featureless – how will
this barrier be overcome?
Standing at the base of the mountains
what hope I brought here
disperses on the cold wind
scouring the surface of the empty fields,
those fields I left behind years ago
when the beast chased me away.
Recently resurrected the domain and website at http://www.mountainsandice.com that will focus on stories, poetry, photography and anything related to Alaska. Two poems were posted today for your reading pleasure.
We encounter paths and options at every turn and we are stopped by fear and indecision.
The ability to choose a direction and move forward and not look back is a gift.
But when we stand at the crossroad with multiple unknown horizons our life stops and becomes stagnant and we become lost.
Steeped in the questions and scenarios constantly being played in the mind we lose our place and fall off the path we worked so hard to create and follow.
We may not realize until years later what impact a choice made and the path it led down.
There is great power in having the choice and taking control of this life and we will realize that the path we tread through the valley of death and to the mountain top is the definition of life and with our choice it is what we desire to become.
I now walk into your
arms, the words spoken
in passion, black wisps
of hair I brush away,
your eyes a light into the soul.
I now fall into your arms,
your breath against my neck,
I am vulnerable, exposed skin
waiting for your embrace,
I wait for you.
I walk into the wild,
the unknown territory
my heart longs for, the words
of freedom, swirling about,
motions in the air we reach
out to grasp, moments of
solitude, the chance to listen to
the wandering thoughts, the mind
Into the wild, the backcountry
of my mind, the thoughts behind
actions of the heart, the soul
reaching out, a voice not
heard, but felt though vibrations.
Deafening silence as the wild
expands the further I emerge into
the tundra, lost and wandering
I keep close your scent and soft touch
upon my chest, the slight pulse of your
veins coaxing my heart to keep going,
during moments of weakness, when
the winter sun rises briefly and hurriedly
sinks, the horizon thinning and the darkness
I walk into the suns light
the golden sheet cradling me
with eyes closed I see your smile
and the words spoken without hesitation
and I am overwhelmed with pureness,
the honesty, the unflinching eyes.
I walk into the swift Sushana
river, with ice floes and glacial till,
you are there somewhere near the base
of the mountains I can see from here,
the rolling shadows frigid.
And I awaken next to you under
the flaring aurora borealis,
the flashes of opaque green and deep red,
sedge and willow glow and reflect
off the pure snow.