nature

Returning from Alaska

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.

 

Playtime

Nothing is more sacred and meaningful
than the trust of an animal.

Nothing is a better cure for stress and anxiety
than playtime with puppies.

If Jackson Pollock was a photographer, #8

I imagine one his photographs might look like this:

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Poem – Promise

That evening I played in the snow and ice
crossing fields and hiking uphill
as the air dropped below zero and I promised
the sun and moon to listen and be respectful.

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Nature – Stones

Do the stones we find on the shoreline, inspected closely before placing in a pocket for safe keeping, care that millions of years of effort have vanished?

We may live in nature, within its surroundings the forests’ cradling hands, but we must remember the cradling hands found us as they were here first, before we arrived as simple celestial beings.

Early October and the first snowfall through 30 degree temperatures, the leaves are still green and the grass is layered with a white coat. Gray rolling clouds ooze more snow as the winds toss individual flakes from rooftops and place them elsewhere in growing drifts.

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Nature – Water, A Winter Perspective

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Standing upon the rocky ledge overlooking the crashing waves of the superior waters, I am taken away from here, while my physical body stays. The soundscape is filled with water, seagulls and tributary rivers. The landscape is gray and cold with whitecaps pushed inward. I kneel with hands clasped behind my back and focus my eyes away from that which surrounds and into the clear water washing onto the rocks, depositing a few, and taking some away.

Why are some rocks chosen and some left behind to forever weave back and forth within the crevasse they were left within?

And where will the chosen rocks be taken? How far out to sea will they journey before being deposited again? Will some be passed back and forth taken from shore to shore as they travel around the world?

The wind carries from the across the sea and penetrates my body through the skin, muscle, and bone settling into my veins. Each beat of the music I can see with my eyes closed is one closer to filling me. And I am taken into another world of light and music.

My put mind is put to sleep within the music carried by the waves. I no longer feel the cold splash when the wave hits the rock. I no longer feel cold. I no longer worry. I no longer feel tense. I no longer feel without purpose or place.

I belong here with the water. I belong within her arms, holding me close.

Time passes and I forget everything else and only have the water and rock in my mind.

Where do we find purpose and our place besides nature? Does nature know that we seek it to find comfort and to unravel the twisted and confused human mind?

Often, I wander along the shoreline with delicate steps on the wet rock with singular purpose of not slipping. I think to myself, do the rocks mind I am stepping upon them and using them to reach a goal?

Far out at sea a ship strikes a balance with the waves setting a course to minimize the rocking and its presence. What does the water get in return for this relationship? Perhaps it is the prevention of another spill of crude oil or the rusting remains on the ocean floor. Then what causes the fury that does sink ships? Perhaps it is nature’s last breath, the final push over the edge that she can longer take.

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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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