Algae II

Why do we all try to be the same? Wear the same clothes, drive the same cars, go to the same movies. Why do we work so hard to erase our uniqueness when it is clear that nature thrives on diversity. Each moment she is someone else entirely.

If you have time, click on each photo and tour the goo.

Storm

Storm coming over a local community church

Storm coming over a local community church

The storm was as violent as my thoughts. Thunder cracked against the house with a shotgun blast. Hail pelted the roof and bounced out of the gutters like popcorn, as the Hogbacks vanished in the torrent of rain. A house darkens as bleak as the mind that is filled with rebellion. Is there no bottom to this work? How many layers of darkness can one body hold? The lightning flashes through the windows, as the Universe replies. The storm just as quickly shifts direction and rain pummels the windows as I let loose my reply. Whose violence will last longer, I wonder?

There is nothing fresher than the atmosphere after a thunderstorm. All that ionization makes the air crisp and clean, no matter the temps. Is it possible if we hold nothing in – we let it all go as sheets of rain, that we, too, become crisp and clean? If we hold onto nothing are we washed clean by the storm, as well?

All storms run out and exhaustion consumes as surely as the east wind moves the thunder heads out. Finally, sunset peaks through casting light on my hands that now lay open in my lap.

Between Two Storms

Apex: Photo by Noelle

Apex: Photo by Noelle

I walked between two storms today. Clouds built menacing and bleak to the north, while another storm front raged gray and wild to the south. I wished a walk in these beautiful spring temps, but what to do?

I made a decision.

I am master and creator of my Universe and today I command the sky, and too, I shall command the rain. I will rule the earth. The heavens may fall, but on my east to west trail, nothing will fall upon my head. No dew will touch my skin. No puddle dampen my shoe. Lightening will heal to my call and thunder obey my leash. I am my own weather front. I am an ionic gulf stream that holds all violence at bay and forges a dry path. I am Goddess Divine and this moment my kingdom.

Be still!

And so it was….

Off the Deck: Photo by Noelle

The Platte: Photo by Noelle

image Off my Deck: Photo by Noelle

Death in the Wood

Beetles were still picking at the bones. I came upon it returning from, oddly enough, a dead end trail I’d taken. It was maybe a hundred feet from a service road and maybe two hundred from the interstate. It looked to be a coyote. It was such an odd location I suspected a trooper had pulled it off the interstate and tossed it here to decay. Fur was sinking into the earth and the bones had been partially scattered by scavengers.

I stared at it. One day I will seep into the earth, I thought. I sat on a nearby log and thought it a good omen to consider death for a bit. There are many meditations for pondering death, one in particular, in which you allow yourself to see your body decaying into the earth, like this coyote. So I sat and imagined I was sinking into the earth with him. It wasn’t unpleasant. The day was warm, sunny and there was a breeze under the tree. After a time, I found his bones comforting, and with that the idea of mine vanishing into the wind, too. The whole eco-system benefitted from this death. Tree roots to small weeds grew from the carcass. Green iridescent beetles thrived in the marrow and took what they ingested back into the dirt. I’d have photographed him from a lying position, but for me there’s a line in my creative hunger at lying in a bed of beetles. Still the sun would catch the red of a ladybug or the green of a scarab taking off and I felt not the least sorrow or loss. One day I will be part of all of this beauty.

After a time, I felt less and less as if my body was sitting there and more and more as if the spirit of the coyote had taken a seat next to me. So we sat. My spirit and the spirit of the coyote and we watched the beetles take his body back into the earth. It was a lovely spring day.

For Steve and Juan. Lovely to chat about death….

Happy Easter

I do not celebrate Easter, as I’m not a Christian, but I am a huge fan of resurrection. Rising from the dead. All of us have been there. Losses, traumas, unexpected tragedies – that laid us out. Laid us out flat. Destroyed the life we once new and left us completely lost and hopeless. In those moments we think we’ll never get up, never live again, but then something happened. We got up. Maybe shaky and wobbly at first, but we got up. We started walking. Maybe we didn’t even know what direction to go, but we started walking anyway. We survived. Many of us did more than that, we began to grow and thrive. We recovered and made ourselves anew. Like the Phoenix we built ourselves from the ashes, turning the gray soot into colorful wings.

Resurrection is not so much an event, as a process available to all of us. We each can resurrect our lives no matter how battered and torn up they may seem. So I wish you all a very Happy Easter. May this day bring hope to the most beleaguered souls out there, that you can live again, even if right now you feel your life is dead.

Defiance

I started thinking about this post when I was dangling from the bar in the playground. I wasn’t supposed to be dangling, I was supposed to be doing chin ups, but the up part… well… it was more complicated than I first expected. There were a couple of guys putting some new paint on the pool house trim at the local rec center where I am dangling, slightly defeated. I pretended I was stretching my arms, as if I intended to be hanging here unable to lift myself. I may be weak, but still proud. I’m no triathlete, but I pride myself in staying in shape. Hundreds of flights of stairs, yoga, push ups… I mean… I put effort into this. An inch shouldn’t be too much to ask. Seriously, an inch up. How hard can that be? Apparently, much harder than it looks.

I flip over and dangle by my knees off the bar, upside down. Though absolutely no health benefits in doing this, it still provided a brief acrobatic feeling that took away the shame of no chin up. I swung back and forth looking at the slides and jungle gym. Kids play here all day and they use these bars. When I was a kid I used these bars. I bend backward and grab my ankles. If I had a popsicle hanging out of my mouth the scene would be complete. I commit to returning here several times a week. One pull up. One chin up. Anything. That is my goal. My defiant Holy Grail.

I get back on my bike and head off down a trail that winds through neighborhoods and hugs a creek. I haven’t ridden in years, but like the chin ups, feels like the next phase somehow. Nothing makes you feel younger than riding a bike. In two seconds you are ten years old and it’s summer. It does not provide the steady attention to nature I enjoy while hiking, but the feel of the wind in my face, and the speed… oh that feeling of flying down a hill. The thrill is no less wonderful to me now at age 52 than it was at 10. I’m rusty, but I don’t care. It’ll come.

I try some of the dirt paths made by local children. Some are steep down hills, while others have little bumps for rocketing your bike over. I delight in being one of the neighbor boys dashing over a hillside for just a few moments. There is a curious fear at lifting off the ground on a bike that daunts me a little at my age. “Broken bones and hips”, my ego whispers. “You could fall or crash”, the small voice whines. So I do it again and again. Fear be damned.

As I ride along, I realize there must be a way to get through a neighbor’s yard to the field beyond. A child would’ve figured that out. So I begin to look and sure enough, a slip of a pathway passes between two houses covered in bike treads that leads to the larger field. A man is heading out with the trash from one house and I dash down the passage quick as lightning before I can be flagged off. I laugh out loud as I hit the field and race across it through tall grass and hard packed trails. I am the opportunistic thief Oliver Twist would’ve been proud of.

Here’s the thing about falling in love with yourself. You are constantly looking for ways to enjoy life. Ways to entertain yourself. Ways to make yourself laugh. I laugh mostly at what I’ve been told about aging. When I turned forty the women at my office gave me black balloons and my cake in a wheel chair. They meant it to be funny, of course, but we don’t realize how much we tell each other it’s over when really its just begun. How much we share the passed on story of decline and decay that was given to us by someone else. That life is like some creepy, slow crawl to the grave. I don’t want to give that to any of you. I want to give you vitality and joy. Laughter and hunger to learn new things. To be plotting your next re-invention, not your retirement.

I want to give you defiance of what everyone has ever told you about the laws of the body and death. Death is coming. It is as certain as the sun rising. So what? That isn’t even interesting. It’s predictable. What’s interesting is what we are doing with the time we’ve been given. That’s fire. Ask yourself, what do I value above all else? Then chase that with the power of a lion. Today, for me, it’s freedom. It’s remembering the promises I made to myself in my youth. It’s remembering to keep the fire burning in my belly for the life I’ve been given. It’s defying everything I’ve been told about how things should be.

Worth a glance, a short list of those who defied age.
http://mindvalleyacademy.com/featured/never-too-late

Periwinkle Night

Free Bing Photos

Free Bing Photos

The sky is dense in periwinkle, as a handful of stars float in the early twilight. Objects appear sharp across the horizon as the earth falls to shadow and day’s light holds a bit longer to a vanishing mountain range.

I am alone.

There is a rhythm to these sojourns. A natural gate that draws the breath and heart rate down. I smell a mix of the swamp and fresh melted snow. The tall windows of a nearby house are completely awash in the night sky, giving the illusion that east is west. I see the ripple of ducks swimming silently in the dark.

I am not alone.

The earth is a conversation the Universe is having with me. It speaks of love and passion. Richness and possibility. Renewal and evolution. Its song seeps up from the soil through the soles of my feet. Every step a serenade. My breath a kiss with a wind that invigorates my life force, as only a lover can. The night has become a devotional played on cricket backs to me.

The light slips over mountain crests, as silent as a furry moth and rises again within my breast, lighting my vision for home.

Midday Trail

There are few trees. Prairie mostly and stone. Coyote or fox scat litters the trail. Out here, probably coyote. Thank goodness rabbits are abundant as it is clear they are the main diet out here. As I move the occasional scurry in leaves is heard of a mole or vole. A titmouse follows me along the trail for some time before disappearing into the scrub.


Along the cliff faces I can see where swallows, falcons and kestrels are nesting. Bird droppings and mud houses aren’t hard to see from the trail. From a wildlife point of view this is like a high-rise in a busy urban area. They have the perfect vantage point of the prairie beyond. It’s surprisingly hot for a late winter’s day. I realize I should have left earlier. I rest upon a stone cluster for nuts and water.

Few travel the trails today, as it is midweek and I have taken the day off. This is how I like it best, but rarely find it on the weekends. Quiet, still, but for wildlife. The only discourse between the magpies and jays. The wind moves my hair as it moves the grasses. Seed pods land in my lap that have floated upon the air from a nearby stand of trees. I apologize for being such infertile soil and lay them upon the earth.

I try to remember things that have disturbed me of late, but out here in all of this expanse I struggle to pull anything to me. This is what draws me here again and again. The titmouse is back and I leave a few pumpkin seeds for her and head off down the trail. I become the wind as long as I keep walking.

Teaching Ducks English

Free Bing Photos.

Free Bing Photos.

I’m not sure how I got lost. The moon was out and I’d chosen a wooded trail, but with unseasonably warm weather the snow had all melted and it proved darker than I’d expected. I’d been following the creek which meandered off to my left. I’d hear it occasionally babbling away in the dark; happily, contentedly, peacefully. Such a lovely sound, but then at some point I realized I was running into more trees. As I looked back over my shoulder to see if I could discern the trail I stepped full on into the creek. A pair of mallards had been sleeping in the same spot and my sudden arrival sent them into the air dashing right by my head as they aimed for the creek. (Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but if FELT like they flew by my head) Such a ruckus they made, and now completely startled, I screamed stumbling backwards, slipping on some river stones and bum-planted into the muddy embankment. For a second, I was a bit stunned, until that comedian’s voice that lives in my head suddenly piped up, “It’s always a good time until someone ends up in the river”. If I hadn’t been so cold I might’ve laughed. The birds continued to squawk and quack announcing to the entire woodland that the sky was falling, as they splashed down into the creek maybe fifty yards out.

“What are you all quacking about?” I hollered at them, completely flummoxed, “I’m the one in this bloody snow melt with no duck fat!”

Ducks will gad on, long after they’ve headed downstream, as if they are endlessly calling back rude comments at you.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…” I mutter as I pulled my now cold, wet and muddy arse out of the creek. “Everyone’s gotta an opinion. Move on,” I call out as strong as a Boston beat cop. “There’s nothing more to see here….” The birds ignore me, but their quacking is now idle bitching and I stumble back toward the trail.

Profanities are a greater gift than most people realize. In such moments they give real vigor to an otherwise completely impotent moment. The “F” word in particular is not only The Great Profanity, but one of my favorite words in the English language. No word holds its influence or power. We use it to express anger, fear, love, passion, confusion and brimming joy. It’s a noun, a verb, an adverb and an adjective depending on our predicament. On this occasion I used it liberally on the long and numbing walk home. I make no apologies. My feet were colder than Icelandic cod three days dead. If the ducks were offended I can hardly be held to blame. I certainly didn’t teach them English, but if I did, I would’ve definitely started with the “F” word.