valleys

Returning from Alaska

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.

 

Poem – Beneath the Surface, On the Edge

A follow-up to a previous post – Beneath the Surface

What lies beneath the surface,
the playground of ancient times,
lands ruled by survival,
raw and primal,
we forever live on some edge
with a defensive posture
ready to protect at all costs.

That slippery edge of snow and ice
straddling deep valleys,
like the string holding a life together,
a tether anchoring to some reality.

Poem – Standing on the Edge

Standing on the edge
of the mountains I have built

I am alone and yet my content
fills the valley.

Shadows cross my eyes
and in the that moment

waves of snow and ice
fall upon me from the heavens.

I slept that night on the peak
as the sky cleared and the crystal

horizon morphed into a canvas
filled with stars and the cosmos.

I woke days later beside myself
and free-floating.

Upon the arctic winds
I let go and fell

into and out of each
deep crevasses until

I stopped, standing upon
the shoreline of an ancient sea.

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Movie – Oblivion

This is somewhat of a belated review of the movie “Oblivion” starring Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, and Andrea Riseborough that was released in 2013.

I first watched this movie 3 or 4 months ago and while it was “good”, it did not make much of an impression or stick with me. I wrote nothing about it at the time and did not delve further into the soundtrack. If somebody would have asked have you seen any good movies lately, I would have responded with a flat “no” and disregarded this movie completely.

Until now.

Recently, I have had random images of lost and abandoned ships in the desert or the sky empty except for “them”. As everything happens for a reason, I worked to figure out where these images and thoughts came from, and determined it was from “Oblivion”.

This is why it has become my favorite movie and the reason I am listening to the soundtrack while trying to find the right words.  It seeped into my thoughts and subconcious.

For me the synopsis of the movie is clutching to memories, no matter how distant or esoteric, and knowing they are part of you from somewhere.  To have the determination to find your roots and follow what consumes you, be it your dreams, a face, something unknown.  Through the isolation, the desolation, and rawness we live within, we are born within, we are forced into simplicity, into ourselves to find the answers and the path.  The dream from each evening bleeds into each day and we begin to see faces, moments, and fragments that over time we start piecing together.  We think maybe this is a part of myself, this is who I was and now who I am.

This landscape is my empty field.

The aliens in his movie are never shown, but are implied based on the events and the narrative.  They are in control, they have covered eyes with a veil, and wiped clean the mind, the memories, the spirit.  But that spirit can only be suppressed, not deleted forever, and over time, it will come back, it will return home.

 

Oblivion Movie

Oblivion Movie

Poem – Awake

I lie awake at night
and during the day
and I think of the opportunities
I have passed and I have missed.

I think of the infinite lives,
intersection points and how
one small decision, detail, or word
changes the path, changes the course,
changes who I am.

I lay upon the wood picnic table
beneath the jack and red pine.
Afternoon sun streams through the tops
and my eyes are closed.

Birds sing, squirrels chatter
and the dog barks.

I give in to the wind carrying
fragments of trees to me
and lifting fragments away.

I stop fighting the feeling
of nothing, I let go of fear
of being myself, and being.

***

I lie awake and fear consumes
each thought.

That core driving thought of purpose
and why am I here has surfaced and
begs to be answered.

I have no words, my mouth moves
and nothing emerges.

I stare at blank sheets of paper
as the pen dries and the edges
curl, and yellow.

Notebooks filled with emptiness
slowly become the life’s work.

Distant peaks fall and disappear
in the fields.

I look for days and weeks
and the letters are scrambled,
the paper burns and the ashes
are carried away.

***

The fields grow strong with each drop
pine needles fall like rain, their warm
scent blankets everything
awakens my mind.