“Which way home?”

She asked in child’s voice.

“This way, into the sun.”

I replied, pointing up the slope at the muted

late winter sun at the path’s end.

“We all come from the sun.”

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.

Just a few hours after arriving we were visited
by the guardians of the north shore…

With fresh snow 4 to 6 inches deep
we cleared a trail into the woods.

Waking that morning, the Aussies were unsettled
and more vocal than normal.

Following the path, we crossed
that of a wolf visiting overnight.

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.

The pine tree lined path
covered with early season snow
beckons for me to follow
and with eyes closed.

Emerging from the depths,
wrangling free from its grips,
I took the only path I knew,
the only path that still made sense.

Cast from recent dreams
the path wavered and moved
as I passed through,
the grey sky dripped

with bright colors painting
the trees and grasses.

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When I see the evening sun
gracefully fall into the forest

and the last rays sweep across the sky
I hear the slow progression of cello and violin

as the music makes room in me for these rare
moments and feelings of peace.

I have been down that road
many times in this life

hoping that what is unknown and unseen
would change, a different result would be waiting

but after years of chasing shadows
and fleeing from truths steeped in stars

I found you waiting beneath the setting sun.

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.

 

The dirt road lined with pine and poplar
exists in familiar land and on the map,
but standing here beneath the northern sky
as the cool wind brushes the lake,
I am without time or space.

In moments where I become aware
of my contact with the earth,
does it matter where I exist
physically when everything else
I am is scattered to the sea,
the sun, and the stars?

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(1)

The march from across the fields
and sea signals it is time.

Are they peering across the empty space
and watching events unfold?

Are they among us now and with every move
and change are the unseen influence?

And whose path do they desire us to follow?

(2)

I walk across the field and only ask why.

The answer comes quietly from the machine watching every move.

Is that the shadow that has been following me?

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