Against an evening sunset
and blue backdrop a pair of ravens
circle, descend, and ascend a last time
before landing in pine trees beginning to green
as the last holds of winter give.

Clinging to limbs as the winds
arrive in gusts from across the lake
they call to others a few trees over
and we watch this conversation take place.

That cabin in the woods,
nestled beneath second generation pine
planted after the last logging,
waits for our visit.

Snow caught in tree-tops
meanders through the winter sky
covering the green roof in a smooth
slope where acorns speed to the ground.

Ravens ever present toward the open fields,
near the old silo base, they rule the open sky
with acrobatics and voices blanketing
the otherwise quiet space.

The nest in the overhang now empty.
Somewhere deep in the woods they watch
with caution and curiosity as the dogs
run circles around that cabin in the woods.

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.

 

In the depths of winter,

when I stand as one of the white birch

when the ravens come to rest atop

silent pines and the fields calm

I finally know I am alive when I hear my heartbeat.

Eyes open to the blackened sky.

I find myself on scattered rocks.

Cold waves wash over me as I struggle to remember.

Ravens call across the bay.

In the distance a portal opens and for the first time in years I feel hope.

Ravens now carry the fragments I desire to keep.

I watch the sun fall into the earth
and the forest retreat into the shadows.

I watch ravens make one last flight this day
and the fields consume the rising moon.

I try to take hold of today
and let go of tomorrow.

But I know changes are near
and that we are not alone.

Awakened by raven screams
from the top of trees above
the rocky shoreline,
I briefly let go of the
dream I was lost within.

I wait. Hoping for its’ return.

Perhaps the ravens were the dream.

When the integration process started
there were no words exchanged,
no way to communicate until
we discovered the universal
language of dreams and music.

Perhaps the ravens were the dream.

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