What we have spans time,
existing without place,
breathing with each ray of light,
captured in morning waves.

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.

April sunrise over the calm water
a slow dance of light across the surface.
this path now appearing after minutes lost in the
subtle voice of nature opens a watery
light encased portal that is my chance to leave this world.

The following photos are from different days and times of Lake Superior along the North Shore.

The previous day bathed us in winter light
as the sea sang us to sleep.

Today we slowly become wet snow-people
as the storms take over the landscape

and we marvel at the beauty everywhere.

The sunless grey sky
releases an afternoon rain

pushing leaves beginning to transition
to bright yellows and deep reds.

Each drop’s ripple in the pond,
each leaf that falls through wind and rain

a reminder of nature’s course in time
and the fragile thread we all cling to.

I have not been more at peace
nor been closer to my true being
than our time here, in the wilds
of Alaska, surrounded by mountains,
glaciers, and each other.





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.

 

On 2017-08-08, we stepped out of comfort zones and took to the air for a flightseeing tour with Alaska Air Service, based in Anchorage, AK.  Our pilot was Bill who is also the owner.  We flew into the Chugach Mountains and were treated to awesome views of the Knik and Colony Glaciers.  Also included was a gravel landing with a hike to get closer to the water, glacier, and icebergs.

Into the rainforest we walk
with soft steps, silent voices, and open hearts.

Morning rain seeps through the tall trees
and the mountain side is shrouded in fog.

Deeper in we cross wooden bridges
over creeks following animal tracks,

we examine stones laced with scars,
and we marvel in being here, part of something larger.

In the afternoon, the sun clears the valley,
glaciers and avalanche debris will appear.