Standing on the front porch
I watch the sun rise over the

distant mountains and first light
run across the empty fields.

Morning wind pushes scattered stalks and coffee steam
while bird songs emerge from the tree line.

High bulbous clouds assume many colors
as the sun reaches higher.

Leroy lays at my side sleeping
as we watch night become the day.

Spring has filled in the once barren forest
and we witness the green waves rolling
toward the blue horizon.

Early morning walk to the empty fields
and the blue sky filled with birds.

Wind through the trees
refreshing as closed eyes

cleared the mind
making room for nature.

Submerged in the depths of winter,
the land beneath layers of ice,
and the pond a giant glass oval,
I dream of childhood…

As the snow blanketed the sky and trees
we listened intently to the radio
waiting, hoping that our school
would close for the day.

After snowstorm stopped,
outside in the front-yard,
the snow piled high along the street,
we built snow-forts and prepared for battle.

Now, so many years later,
dreams and outlooks have shifted
and what was more external,
has become an internal quest
for silence and peace,
watching the setting sun.

Snow begins to cover the empty field
as the trees hold up the graying sky.

I want to bury my head into
the snow and mud,

I want to find a way into
the earth,

while I do not understand where
this world is going and the heavy thoughts,

and when I lift my head
I am living in a cartoon

where the scenesare surreal
and at the end we can erase

our actions and past
and start over.

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.