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.

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?

In the fractured sleep of night’s immersed
in dreams based in nothing familiar or known,
one word repeated over and over – direct.

I watched power-less as background images
of tall buildings, lattice, and cross-stitched patterns
rotated and approached my view with ever increasing velocity.

At the end (or beginning) of a tunnel
bathed in wavering light with no sound
a shadow slowly approached.

The sides of the tunnel began to
move and rotate, grey lines
and intricate patterns covered everything.

and I briefly lost sight of the shadow
until something pushed me through
and I landed on the empty fields

near the forest where we first
met in ancient times and you
silently spoke directly to me.

On a recent trip to Alaska, we visited Whittier. Accessible by auto through a one-way tunnel also servicing the railroad, tourism and fishing call people to visit and enjoy the gateway to Prince William Sound. Of note is the Buckner Building, a remnant of WWII that is off-limits.

At the dawn of each day
our past experiences
become memories frozen
in the depths of our mind,
kept safe until we need
a reminder of how we got here.

Across the salted plains
We watch the sun fall
The moon rise
The machines sleep.

In dreams spaced by 100 years
I see you on the highest peak
Of the homeland we once
Ruled together.

I woke in the snow blanketed forest
Facing the morning sky.

Tenants of dreams fill each fiber and neuron,
I can only piece together that I was not made for this world.

I lost direction when the void
Overtook my body and my mind
Accelerating through space
Toward unexplored, unknown, and untouched worlds.

Where is our home now?

Above photo from: Nancy Chuang

Emerging from the forest
through the last barrier of this life,

beasts of the past intertwined with shadows
roam through the open field playing out their purpose.

Standing out of their way as
I am a visitor passing to the next life.

Crossing the field I am met
by concrete and metal machines.

Is this my next life
or only a preview of the coming revolution?

Smoke fills the darkened sky.

I forget where I am.

The field merges with the horizon.

Beasts disappear – were they even real?

Trees bend and in unison lift me from the field.

Passing through smoke filled dreams of the past or future
I emerge at the base of granite peaks.

I watch the sun rise from
distant cold moving water.

White-capped waves emerge from the horizon
and over time they will arrive at my feet

standing on the rock strewn shoreline
covered in clear ice.

I imagine staying here through the passing months
when the deep winter takes hold of this

land and my body becomes one with the
water and the earth and from this

connection I am transformed back to
my birth state when I emerged from the horizon.

img_3446

img_3468

There is something dramatic and something many times larger than us. What surrounds and embraces us with reluctance because we are there within its midst.

The thrill of venturing into unknown and undiscovered lands, into unnamed glaciers, lakes with undisturbed shorelines, trails and elevations unknown to maps, lives within us. I desire to truly experience wilderness, the way the scene unfolded before God’s eyes and the final touch of a masterpiece, with unfettered air breathed when emerging from primitive shelters, built by hand from what the land offered and gave to them. Where does this experience lie in our time? Is there some far away land, hidden under tussocks fed by glacial streams, within a mountain’s shadow? Who or what holds this experience secret, and pristine? Does it even exist anymore? It might remain an elusive chase and game, an experience we live and die by in our dreams, the end game we pour our heart and soul into.

Why do we chase that experience so close to our fingertips, yet the feeling, the tingle, so elusive? What is encoded into our bodies and our DNA?

What is the most pure, and at the same time, most simple experience we as humans, can learn from? It is time spent alone, with your hands as survival tools, sustenance found while roaming the free land, water down the hill at the creek, ripe berries dangling in the morning sun reflecting dew, fallen trees and dried bush to make the evening’s fire.

The cold water lifted from the high-tide runs through the clenched fist. The eastern wind passes through the outstretched arms and fingertips. The ancient trees reach for the sky with entrenched roots that have withstood time, storms, and worse, human intervention. What all of these elements have in common is their resilience and ability to thrive without humans, and the unfortunate consequence of dying at our hands.

Who is to adopt and change in this sometimes toxic relationship?

2016-01-01-08-13-15

2016-01-02-07-19-06

2016-01-02-07-34-28

2016-01-03-07-16-01