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Archive for June, 2011

the formations down the beach

Bandon- the locale where i first fell in love with rock formations 25 years ago on my first journey to the Oregon Coast. I fell in love with the small cute town as well, one that seemed to have a vibrancy at the time; or maybe it was the place where i stayed. I came back 10 years ago, and again the rocks spoke to me – they and the wind as sand whipped against my face, and the light playing on the stone. It was the first time i stepped into the moment, connected to the all, as i took photos on my 35 mm camera, waiting for the perfect light, and i saw how the rocks changed over the course of the day, appearing different with the altering light. And for some moments i was both engaged and still. But that was then, and even it was not complete – for i felt the town to be a shadow of what it was in my memory – was it me, or it, or the time of year, but the vibrancy seemed largely gone.

Today the rock formations, for which the town is known, seemed less alive to me as well. They spoke, but more softly than before. Was it the day – with a flatter sky of grey and a wind that blew – but not fiercely when i came out to the beach. No, the sky was blue by the time i left. Was it that i have visited so many rocks since then? Was it me – my mind distracted, full of chatter, keeping me out of the zone? I came to the rocks by myself, but thoughts of another, who had met up with me in brookings and tagged along to bandon, wanting me to lead him, to guide him, standing behind me, heavy, like a sack of rocks adding weight to my load, not seeing that i could not guide him, for i was not sure of my own journey. And the one time i had stopped here for a moment a few years ago, had also been with another, one who did not understand the stones,and did not share the communion with me – and the two of them seemed much akin. Or maybe, i was just expecting too much. Even so, the stones add life, and reveal a hidden past.

Bandon is most well known for Face Rock, the monolith looking up towards the sky. The face of the Princess Ewanu from the mountain peoples, who learned too late to respect and fear Seatka, the evil spirit of the ocean, is trapped staring at the moon refusing to look at him. she had become enchanted by the sea, did not listen to warnings, and was caught and her cats turned to stone further out. And all that remains above is her head, the rest buried beneath the surface.

the famous Face Rock

To me the legend seems partial, and i know it is not the only one. At the end of another protrusion, north on the beach lays another head, fainter, also staring at the moon, as if the two of them are looking out to sea, and up to sky, guarding the area.

the other main face in rock

It is some of the smaller rocks that call – in two, face to face, i see an ancient indian man and women, looking at one another, yearning to come together, but stuck in place.

looking wistfully at his maiden

looking out at her man

separated by sand

The cats stand out to sea, and their shapes reveal themselves less to me. Other creatures dot the shore, creatures of the land and the sea.

creature of the sea looking ashore

creature of the sea

I walk amongst the stones, down the beach, mesmerized by the sea. and wonder if the spirit has also spoken to me. I turn inland, towards the town in the mouth of the river. The sun emerges, and i long to visit them again, but must leave and cross the bridge to where i stay having visited those who i came to see. Perhaps i received their message long ago, and this time i was meant to speak to them.

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On Cape Arago

I became re-inspired on Cape Arago: the elements come together – the sea – both calm and pounding over and shaping stone; the earth – with rock formations, lunar landscape below the cliff, and above on the cliffs trees, plants, and a garden with flowers; sun and light shining, and wind blowing through. As i sat on a bench looking down the shore i felt a happiness and peace come over me.

Still, what speaks about the land and sea is not peace per se, but the earth and rocks that have been thrust up by ancient and not so ancient earthquakes, and formed and carved by the strong winds that blow through and the waves that can come crashing over, carving and altering form – or perhaps just revealing what lay buried beneath.

Below the cliffs where a forest grows – with large trees, ferns and thick green undergrowth, with deer and birds, lays a lunar landscape, of forms in stone. In this is see shapes, and the last time here in the fog what seemed like heads or people; it is of another time and place – but it is here. And as i look closely, i see that there is also life; seals blend into the mottled rocks, resting for a while, and swimming in the bays. It seems that they appear in many lands like this, of strong energies, where fault lines lay.

seals on lunar landscape

small figures - this whole level feels like the moon

The area is formed by intense geological activity of the past and present; with the rocks and headlands thrust up sideways, showing a twisting and turning of the earth, and land has been thrust up and under. I read about the earthquake of 1700 where much of the shoreline dropped several feet, and of many others in the distant past – and what i see now is how the earth stands for a moment, just a short blip in time. Today it feels calm as the sun shines down though the winds blow through; and i know that too is just a moment, a temporary state that comes and goes, for the last time here was in a thick heavy fog that shrouded all with a mist and drizzle that hung heavy in the air, seeping into all.

As i look at the rocks, once again i see more than just shapes carved by water, wind and the movement of the earth. I see spirits and shapes, remnants of some ancient times and peoples and life forms who were caught out or turned to stone; not only those from the last time, as revealed in the myths of the Coos Bay native peoples, but of millions and millions of years ago; a large face thrust upwards, a woman praying in a bay, heads beneath the cliffs, the laying down animal creatures that are similar up and down the coast, and a small smiling face, a whimsical one rising above a long low outcropping with a similar shape in the cloud above. And i know there is so much more than meets the eye and i ask are these spirits still alive, caught in the stone, or coming out?

ancient face on the beach - a guardian or warrior?

Woman in prayer

One of several 'lion' creatures guarding small bays

caught below the cliffs

emerging from the cliff

peaking above the rest

Then i go walk up top, seeing and feeling that life continues on – the forest grows with some purple wildflowers gracing the floor, a formal garden thrives at shore acres, and birds and people and small animals roam about. The layers of life are not only those of the past as revealed in the different strata of rock, but continue on today, being created, breathing life, shining, and one day, becoming part of the earth itself.

I think then of the towns i passed through coming out to this cape; Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston, all fairly hollowed out; much of the life force gone. Sad towns, built upon lumber and fishing, both industries largely fallen away; tourism, the casino, and i’m not sure what else, not making up for it. It is a place of empty downtowns, small bungalows, trailer parks, and sprawl. Is it because we have taken without giving back that they are emptied out, or have people been guided away from here. but even so, i see life about, a kindness, conversations on the bus, men clamming at low tide and it seems a hanging on, a waiting, like something has gone. As i write this i see this up and down the coast as if we are not meant to be here.

But the cape is magical connecting me to the all, the elements, to the life force, and to eons of time. Past, present, and futures to come. I watch the sunset at Sunset Bay and the calm enters again, as the sun glows and becomes transformed as it “sinks into the sea” or so our eyes tell us.

Sunset in sunset Bay

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Redwoods – june 10,11?

land of the trees

I am in the redwoods – i made it here – to the land of the ancient giants. The sun is going down and i will soon sleep beneath these trees. As i walked over to the hiker biker camp, here in Jedidiah Smith State Park, where i was a year ago, my right arm began to move – circling on its own. I walked back along the empty road, me and the trees and the ferns below, and it began to move again on its own – a circle – as if dowsing some energies here. I ask, what energies lay in this place, the zone of the trees by the smith river.

I have entered into the land ruled by trees – first the forests inland – as i crossed yesterday from Klamath Falls to Medford, through a land of lakes and trees in mountain zone, and today as i headed out here – but now am among these ancient giants who dwell in this narrow zone. And the hotsprings of this morning, and the town of this afternoon seem so far away in both time and space. On the bus riding through the beautiful land of hills and trees i felt lonely once again – lonely for an area also lived in by human beings – a land where all live harmoniously, I am back in California, but somehow it seems to me more like oregon.

A giant downed tree trunk sprouting life, not only moss, but plants and leaves and other trees growing on it as it decomposes. As it is all around, life growing from decay, life growing from life, a cycle to be completed and renewed.

the cycle of life - from death and decay sprouts new growth and life renewed

Thin soil covers the earth, hiding the rocks beneath, the spirits that have not yet emerged. The high canopy of the redwoods blocks out much of the sky. This zone is contained, life on the surface, between the above and the below – neither too visible, and not the focus, the focus is on the life that sprouts, that is, the colour of green, the colour of plant life form. It forms a bowl or a cocoon, not from the sides like valley walls, but from the bottom and the top, and you cannot see far, the vista is short, for forest surrounds.

I feel small and insignificant beneath these trees towering above, and their girth is wide. I am surrounded by the living, and i am just a small part, i am so small. There is so much here. it presses in. like a city in some ways, but so different, but the pulse is strong, all emit energy and the dance is dense. I feel small in a different way than when i travelled across the deserts a few days ago, on the train, with little life and green to be seen – the earth and the sky so vast, so large, and i, the train, so small, so little breathing life, so little dancing around, the above and below in full force. I longed for the dance of life on the surface, and now it is here, i longed for trees, and now i am in their land.

Redwoods Towering above

I sit beneath the redwoods. although they are not the only trees here, it is their land. The narrow strip in which they still grow, where they remain, looking over the land and us, providing a zone where the other plants may thrive. Where they may thrive beneath the guardians of this land, beneath those that have witnessed so much, who communicate between earth and sky. They are the survivors in this small place, in the groves that have been preserved, only small patches of what once was. For so many have been decimated, in the early days, chopped down with eyes for profit and their use. It feels lonely and heavy. The sun, now giving way to clouds or fog, does not shine through and the eye does not see very far.

I am back to the zone of the familiar- returned to the shore once again. I lost sight of it for a while as i went inland and above, but now i am back, and i am not sure how i feel. The route is known and the intensity is gone. I have come back down, closer to sea level once again, I leave the park, to go to the store, one that i know is there. I have been on this road before, going the other way.

I feel the life around pressing in – as i need not process it all. I know where the bathrooms are, where so much it, and realize that i feel similar to how i felt before, a feeling i had forgotten about when i was out of this locale. Two kids hitch on the road in front, how small and insignificant we appear but in such a different way than in the desert with broad spanses and vistas, and a seemingly lack of life – the bare earth, the sky and us. Here is it the life forms that are much greater – trees and ferns and salal and more – both the earth and sky hard to see, for life abounds, and we are just such a small part of it. Life on the surface that is so visible, all manifesting into form, all manifesting so large and grand.

Ferns are some of the oldest life forms around, and the redwoods are ancient trees, which once lived in so many other locales, their range now limited to this narrow strip of land. Here ancient forms are still alive, ancient life continuing on into the present, living in the here and now – not merely emerging from rocks and stone. All becomes manifested into the 3D. I feel the density of it all though i am 10 miles inland, out of the deep fog belt of the coast, where air condenses into a thick haze. Here the element of water, of emotions, is so present, though now the sun shines on through.

The life i called forth – life in the trees, where the life of people is in harmony, different elements dancing together. Here the plant life grows in harmony – it is us who can seem out of place. It is not merely the redwood trees, but the diversity of life forms – the ferns, the sorrel, the moss, the rhododendrons, berries, alder, salal, trillium and more that grow together, intermingle, give each other life. we focus on the largest, the tallest, but they are all part of this zone, they all are part of the intricate dance – a dance that includes the animals and birds, and yes, today, us.

The sky is now grey – much more typical of this twilight zone, this zone where the giants thrive. I walk around, no people about, myself and the trees and the plants, green live thrives, lush and magnificence. All forms in denseness become manifest – in morphological fields. It is a twilight zone – i imagine dinosaurs roaming around, giants of the past, and wonder if they still do, invisible to us now. All feels so old and enduring, the past living on, clinging on, taking hold. I remember the petrified forest in Arizona, huge logs turned to stone, all dry and barren, with fossils of dinosaurs and ancient forests about, destroyed in some great cataclysm. I remember that place that felt of life destroyed, and i remember this images that came to me the last time i was here, of waves seeping over the land.

For now all life is showing, the life that remains. It is green, more green than i imagined, the green that i so yearned for, the green of the heart and of life. Still it feels heavy, pressing down, so much energy caught in moisture, and what has become form. Thought forms hang on, emotions come alive, energy condenses in bodies and in my joints, even the redwoods have burls. And i am a small part of this all.
Mosquitoes fly around my face, a nibble here and there. I feel insignificant – then i look at the tree stumps, those that were cut down, and i see how much power (wo)man can have, despite our size – how we have cut so much of this down. A mosquito bites again – i remember their power – able to cut us down – malaria, dengue, west nile and more. how they can cut us down with the poisons that lay inside, that they transmit, that have taken hold in them. size has little to do with power, and as another bites, i realize i am just a part of the chain of life. I sleep beneath the trees once again.

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I am traveling against the wind, going up the coast while most are going down. i am traveling backwards once again, a return to where i once came from. The road is familiar, as are many of the emotions, but i feel different from the person who once travelled down. I do not know if it is i who has changed, i have, but so much of that now seems forgotten, like a hazy mist or the fog that comes in, or if it is merely that all is no longer new to me. I am not forging ahead into the unknown, exploring uncharted territory, where all is truly new, unseen by me. No, i am returning to familiar places, places where i have been, places that i know and have expectations about. Places where memories, in both the form of thought and emotion come up, at times making me smile, but at other times, clinging on, pressing down, threatening to engulf. Even though nothing is truly the same, and another layer of experience is added each day, each moment, if i let it. if i let it, and not get caught up in what has been, remaking it over again. Still some gets remade, for it belongs to the place, and i am more fully aware of that, the energies that belong to a place and that are not merely my own.

Still, there are a multitude of energies in a place, and some speak more strongly to me – those that resonate with what lay inside, those which i more acutely feel and see. And they change over the course of a day and over longer time. Which to i hold in my memory bank? And which come back to me once i have arrived; often the flip side of what was in my consciousness, for the contradictoryness is so much a part of the place. Is it merely what wr make of it or what we let in? How to focus on the bright side, yet acknowledge the dark, without the darkness overcoming. Accept, yet also see the need for change? Those answers i still do not have.

Still, if this is a return, i ask myself, what i was rushing to return to? What was it that i was seeking and holding onto? Now that i am much further up, i do not know why i travel there, or what the lure once was. Yes, beauty of course, but there has to be more. And i wonder if this is a trip i had to make for often i am bored. Bored? In this place with so much to explore – and newness every day – but the ennui of the same old actions are beginning to be felt – long ago i read, if you are bored it is because you are boring yourself, and that is becoming so true. a few nights i sit in my tent, playing solitaire or not venturing out, not wanting to go to what i felt that i have seen. And today, i do not feel like making that long hike, no longer so eager to rush up this coast.

I shared the hiker biker site with one other last night – a street musician from new orleans, who is biking the slow was down, taking his time, taking all in that is new around. Taking the time to explore, registering all, stopping in the small towns to visit the local pubs, chat, and time to sit in the forest or on the beach, appreciating it all. The trip is still young for him, the duration unknown, and enthusiasm is still fresh. He does not understand those who race down the coast, to reach their destination, not stopping to smell the flowers, or the fish, and neither do i. Perhaps that is the different types of people, those who focus on getting to the destination, many taking in what is on the way, some with blinders on, and those who focus on the journey itself – some making it to the destination in time, but some never really getting anywhere. And is that me? There are those who follow the book to the letter, while others go out with a map or little to guide them; letting the journey drive them; and many it is some combination of the two – a guide, but leaving yourself open for what may come. How to achieve that balance.

But i too, have rushed this trip, or maybe i have taken too long, this whole journey up the coast but a mere sidetrack. I rushed to get out here from Klamath Falls, not visiting the uncharted territory along the way – an here i have been asking myself why? Why? and the trip goes on.

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Down the familiar path I could go no further,
blocked by a padlocked gate
and a sign saying closed for season
I could have gone before
and thought about it
more than than once
but it seemed so far
and i had gone far enough,
on another day
a trail to the side called me more
I was not even sure today
but i said i’d go
around the bend
to see what was there
hidden to me
out of my sight.

I sat at the rest area
having emerged from one section of the canyon
now overlooking a wider valley
a more open vista
which narrowed to another section of the canyon further down
and it called,
i deliberated and set out on the path
but at the bottom it was closed.

So i sit once again in the no name rest area
a lawn mover rides behind me
and i wonder about my plans
to go back to where i have been before
to a place that calls, but i hesitate
something not quite…
what i love, but
but…

I was not quite sure this time either,
the walk beyong the bend
to the hidden secrets
or not
a walk in the strong sun
the sun that burns
and beside the highway and its roar and din
on the other day i did not go either
for the same reason
the discomforts of the path
or was it the path itself?

The path is now closed
the river rises more every day
and will for some time to come
overflowing banks and paths
flowing over its given bounds.
I heard before that it was closed further down,
or rather upstream,
beyond where i could walk,
at least in both directions
able to return to town
beyond the dam with its controlled flow
or was it the power plant
a bicycle could not pass
i had thought of the river
and the other and floods elsewhere
and imagined getting trapped
in the heavy flows of spring.
of winter melt off
when that which was frozen in place
becomes fluid and releases
rushing out to sea
connecting with that of other mountain tops
and valleys of the world.
but that was beyond where i planned to go today.

This morning i made a choice
to come through to this place,
through a canyon where i had already been
through a place that calls forth beauty and joy
where i knew that god speaks,
and did speak strongly today,
revealing paths and wisdom along the way
calling forth my heart and soul once again
my destiny,
and mysteries of the world,
connecting me with the all.

It was in the canyon, holding in
the place where the river flows
beyond whose walls i could not see
and sought a broader view

i came to this place where i now write
and will turn around from here
a decision to be made
one i lingered on
asking for more to be revealed
now wondering if the path i imagined will be blocked
or if it was all along
or maybe it shows the place
the place to where i must go.

I had thought of heading upwards today,
ascending up the boy scout trail
to a mountain top that provides vistas of the valley below
But it was more a should, then a call
I asked why i did not go,
a new experience, a different view,
but then as the sun glared upon my face
i knew it was not for me
and sat in the shade and wrote some words
words that i hesitate to reveal
and then walked along the highway path
to the canyon i had been and loved,
one that had been new to me
less than three weeks before.
As i walked my arm swung as if on its own
like a pendulum, dowsing something unknown.

I had started up that other path a few days ago,
exposed, on the edge of the mountain
cliffs falling below
the wind picked up and the sun burned hard
and i turned around,
admitting to myself that this was not where i wished to go
admitting what i knew at the bottom of the trail
and came back down
but when i spoke to others who had done the hike
i felt that maybe i had not done far enough,
that maybe i had fallen short,
even though i felt “off” along that trail
and thought maybe i should today.

i walk back into the canyon
following the rivers flow,
around no name bend
the place where the guardians reveal themselves,
still facing the decision on where to go,
this walk itself, a way of procrastinating,
to buy the ticket or not
a decision on hold,
delaying in the zone of impasse.

The place of impasse where i have been
the walk, any walk, a way of delay
of putting off once again
something planned in my mind
but action not taken
the questioning, the shoulds
the i don’t knows
and maybe that was why the path was blocked,
for i could not put it off anymore.

Over the past few days, the northwest called more strongly again
images constantly entering my mind and soul,
a place i have been and left many a time
my heart sung, and inside a smile
a locale brewing up inside
of trees, and life, of an environment that spoke to me,
where i felt more akin,
for from here i knew i had to go,
had known for quite a while
the visitation time over,
and i knew i would, not, could not, stay.

i thought i should head back by a route not taken
and lands never explored,
a circutous route to the north and wild,
through the lands where i felt i should see
but a resistance came up inside,
and part of me asked why?
part of me said, take the train, the same route as before
it is direct, do you really need to explore any more.
Was it difference i sought, or an avoidance of the familiar,
the paths too well worn
become ruts, getting deeper
or so i thought
or was it felt.
But it was calling so deep
as it had been for some time
i telling myself no – not again.

Crescent lake had been beckoning,
the olympic pennisula.
my trip to pass through locales i thought i left behind,
and i hesitated again,

Now the path is blocked,
is this a sign
and i wondered
will the ticket price rise too high,
for i asked god, to let me know, to provide a sign
and the ticket price was part of the deal.

As i sat in the bend by the wall where the guardians were
where much had been revealed a few hours before
Out of the blue another locale came up
one i had not thought of before,
en route to another town with crescent in its name
and off to fantasy land i went,
and felt a peace inside, this is where i must go
i do not know why.

As i approached town, and the time to decide
to make the deliberation concrete,
some anxiety arose
but i was convinced that i would go,
and was told yes, that is your destiny,
the corner where you belong,
and klamath falls kept coming up over and over again
not as the final place
but the where to next.

I went to town, to check the website first
and the ticket price had gone up
several dollars beyond the limit i set
still i looked at that other place
and the price remained in reach,
quite reasonable indeed.
Was this where i am meant to be
for the moment that is.
I asked, should i, should i, and the answer was yes
over and over again.
so i bought a ticket leaving the next day
and felt at peace with the decision i made,
my heart still welling up inside
and the internal smile as i sat by the water.
I obeyed a call,
but somehow i felt i would not go.

It is two days later and i am still here,
part of another story not yet written
the ticket to the second place,
the departure now set and changed to several days away.
And all seems less clear.
Asked to help out here,
after another quit
a person left in a bind
a request i had also called forth many a time
not here per se,
but to be asked and called upon to serve
to be offered a chance
to be wanted,
to hear, Alice can you stay.
To earn some money, even a little bit
to help me on my path
so here i am, working for 5 days
until this place is under new ownership and management
(another story to be posted soon).
Inside i had known this was a possibility,
one i resisted inside,
told myself i would say no
but when the time came the answer was yes.

I am still here
in this place
this place i wanted desperately to leave
but the energy feels different
and i feel at peace
that this was where i was meant to be
even though i know i will not stay,
it is a rest area like that where i stopped on the path.
The river flows
another one
joining the colorado, the one where the path was blocked
I am downstream
but the water rises every day
flowing faster with passing time
expanding, lipping the shores ever more closely
going out to sea.
But inside i am calm,
though murky, like the water with winter run off

i do not really know what lay ahead
but will continue with the flow
my true path not blocked,
for the line is not straight,
just the path i was on that day,
a path i sought out, but also used to avoid
acting on that deeper voice inside.

Still i have 2 days to go,
and feel that something may come up
something i do not know
and one day, i may read what i wrote, and see the message here.

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