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.

I woke in the fields.
The fields I have never seen.
The fields black beneath the white sun.

Limbs emerge from snow.
Snow scatters into the wind.
Wind twists the clouds around me.

From the horizon a train nears.
The horizon shakes and fractures.
The fractured fragments cover my mind.

I was not yet ready to awaken.

Winter evening sky burns at the horizon
as day falls into night.

Eyes follow the black outlines
of branches reaching toward heaven

through the layered hues and scattered clouds
until they stop at the single white point.

I have seen you each night
from the cement patio as

the city quiets and the distant
trains come to a stop.

I have seen you each night
when sleep finally takes hold.


** From the series “The Integration”

Many late nights have been spent this past month with the Spring issue of Stone Path Review, as well as writing projects.  I have not been posting too much poetry as I have been mostly writing prose and essays around Buddhism and Deep Ecology.

After so much coffee, Monster, and sleep deprivation, I feel I am existing in two worlds.  Of each, but not in.  That line passing between.

Transformation in black and white
Transformation in black and white

Photo and manipulated improvements by Patricia at Twisted Root Studios.

The following article is from The Mountain Training School (email:  In the good faith department, I have known Ben, the founder and director of The Mountain Training School, for a few years and was a client of his on a trip in Alaska. I asked him if I could repost this article, and am receiving nothing in return except to be in his good graces.

Sleeping Warm, Keeping Warm

Ok, so your day has been long, epic, disappointing, filled with torrential rain or stinging snow. You are beat. Now as long as you can climb into your sleeping bag and have a good night’s sleep all is well. Everything else then becomes  ‘tomorrows problem’, you can rest, recover and, then do it all again the next day with style.

Getting a good nights sleep is invaluable. Your body needs time to recuperate from the demands of the day, you need time to relax and luxuriate in comfort and warmth.

How do you ensure that you are able to get that critical rest?

The right gear 

  • A good solid tent suited to conditions. Don’t for example bring a floorless 2-season tent to Patagonia…
  • A good sleeping bag, right for the conditions. Patagonia = synthetic. Yep it’s a big heavier and bulkier, but get a sleeping bag that comes through with the goods. Wet down=abject misery.
  • Sleeping mats: Foam is great simple cheaper and light, really good for insulation.  A Thermarest or similar will adds insulation,  and more importantly adds comfort. If you think you don’t need the extra comfort you are probably 22, enjoy it while you can. Think about a Neo air, light small and very comfy (only hurts when you buy it).

The right food 

Eat well, eat enough…
The colder the conditions the more important food is. If it’s really cold much of your food is put to work just keeping your warm. In these conditions you should be eating around 4,000 + calories a day.
Specifically at night warmth is all about fat…. Make sure you eat a good dinner, with a good mix of slow burning carbs, protein and yes a good amount of fat. Fat is the slow burn and so will keep you warm through the night. Hot chocolate with peanut butter, maybe sounds bad when you are in town, but in the hills it’s just the trick. P.S. Winter camping is the ideal excuse to eat bacon….

The Right Systems 

You won’t be warm by accident; you will be warm because you make it so.

  • Warm dry clothes. Don’t wear you wet clothes to bed to dry them out. All you do is rob your body of precious heat, and bring moisture into your sleeping bag, which will lessen its ability to keep you warm. Wet clothes can go into a plastic bag in your sleeping bag, remember, tomorrows problem….
  • Ventilate, ventilate. Unless you have spindrift driving under the vestibule have all the vents open. A closed tent will trap condensation from your breath, which will freeze on the inner tent, which will later melt onto your sleeping bag, and you will get snowed on in the morning when you are trying to get up.
  • Bedtime routines. Have a system for your sleeping bag, clean dry socks in the bottom, warm hat, and dry gloves. Have another layer handy in case you need it. Being cold makes you lazy so have it all ready so you can pop on an extra layer and don’t have to dig around for it.
  • Hot water bottle. The ubiquitous Nalgene, fill it with hot water and you have a source of heat for several hours.
  • Peeing systems. In a strange and unfortunate coincidence you will want to pee more in cold conditions… Your body doesn’t want to waste energy keeping all that liquid warm. Have a pee bottle and use it. In the time you take to debate with yourself if you really need to pee you could have solved the problem and be back to sleep… Suck it up and get it done. (You can also then sleep with your nice warm pee bottle and steal back a bit of your own body warmth)
  • Go to bed warm. Your sleeping bag doesn’t produce heat it only traps it. While your tent mates are faffing around getting into their sleeping bags use the time to re tighten the tent, do jumping jacks, burpees (yes we all hate them, but they work!)
  • Make heat. If you are cold once you are in your sleeping bag, get your tent mates to do sleeping bag races to produce heat. The great thing about sleeping bag races is that the race can end whenever you like, Go hard and then declare yourself the winner.

Good planning and deliberate effort is the key to keeping warm and having a great night’s sleep.
Sweet dreams!

Benjamin Gorelick
Expedition Director
The Mountain Training School
+1-763-219-1833 (USA)
+44-(0)20-8144-4017 (UK)
+1-763-374-4641 (Fax)

This valley is filled with death.

Take a step back… how did I get here?

A few lifetimes ago, I came upon an ancient river
flowing through Babylon and I drank from the waters,
I drank so much that I fell into a deep sleep and just
woke up 37 years ago.

I am unsure what woke me. I want to believe it was myself,
that some core frozen primal energy unthawed and
completed its assigned task, reading from
the genetic code given in that moment
the infinite point exploded in nuclear plasma.

I kept some of the signatures.
I still have some of scars.

Flying through nothing.
Flying through a dark matrix
imbedded within the fabric of time.

Each body moves by sheer will –
through belief we move through.

Rain falls of course. This we know
from Newton and Einstein. Did they
know you can bend the rain to your will?

Did they see beyond the collective rain
and examine an individual drop and the
the story it contains, the fragment, a memory
of some lost experience erased from history?

I watch the rain stop, reverse, and flow upwards.
My gift back to heaven as I deny gluttony.


I fear not the process, the natural end of this time
here as I prepare for the next. I only fear the method
and I vow to meet it’s messenger on my
field with sword in hand beneath the white petals.

From atop this peak I see miles of
other peaks, tree lines, and death.

What does this look like?

Wavering, pliable, silent wisps of memories –
fuzzy moments you try to remember years after
they and the feeling past, looking back with numbness
indifference, as they got you here.

Death came swift at times, death came hard at times
as the battle waged for years with some of the demons
entrenched in cement in the uncultivated field.

I look from this peak over the false beings within
that I conquered.

A place exists tucked into tall pine trees
reaching toward the empty
sky filled with Nothing.

Yielding the search for everything
I found what I was looking for.

I do not fully understand
the magic slipping through
exposed fingers and I
question why it took so long to get here,
why so many roadblocks of various
origins, and where was my strength
and resolve to clear this field.

Not so empty the mind’s field
is vast and luminous as my experience
is growing and the net of awareness I
cast years ago is finally being pulled
aboard this vessel I sail the
seven seas within.

As captain I christened this
vessel “reality” and vow to
survive the upcoming storm
on my terms, with things I carry.

Sleep has returned.

I see the tree roots vibration
and with eyes closed I feel
them overtaking my body
and I return to solitude.