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Posts Tagged ‘rock formations’

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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Entry to energy line

Red rocks and twisted trees.
Red rocks, red soil,
twisted trees
a vortex, or energetic hotspot
something is here
all is dry
a different feel
than other lands where i have been.

feminine stones, soft and flowing
i imagine lava bending into shape
yielding,

the wind blows
in this bend,
louder here
as if to speak.

Clouds float overhead
My camera does not capture the red.
Around a corner there is more.

Twisted trunks shedding bark
seemingly dead
but with tiny leaves or needles up above

An energy that is unfamiliar
one that is strong,
wind blows again
a high-pitched sound in my ears
a sound not of the wind
a power is here
and i feel it

a dried up creek
but is it
an energetic line

i walk on, up the path
the zigs and zags up the hill
crossing this line
and something is there
veins of minerals, or more?
I know there is more.

I am walking up Red Hill, just on the edge of Carbondale. It is my first time here. As i had passed by on a few occasions, on the bus, these vibrant hills of red called to me. The last time i noticed a parking lot by an intersection where the bus would drop me, and people with dogs heading up what looked to be a fire road. So i came.

A series of trails for mountain bikes, joggers, people walking there dogs starts just up the road on the BLM lands that extends for miles. I veer to the left on the Three Gulch Trail, the one that is furthest from the highway noise. I had read, that the views from this area are wonderful, and that they are, of the valley below, the mountains, especially of the snow covered Sopris peak that glimmers under the changing sky.

But it is the land on this hill that calls to me, that speaks to me. The rocks that seem playful and gentle, the spindly trees that twist around, telling of something in the ground, Despite the cars below, few people are around, and those that pass me as i take almost an hour to walk a mile, stopping at so many places, seem unaware, jogging to get fit, conquering the trails on mountain bikes, or prattling on about the mundane concerns of daily life – not hearing the power of the land, or at least not deeply, for something calls them here.

I look out beyond, and then at the rocks and trees, A power calls to me as i approach an area, one that seems more alive, and different. The rocks call as do the trees and what seems to be a dried up creek or energy line, a vortex perhaps. All becomes sharper and clearer, and i feel different, The sound in my ears, pressure in my head, a sense of energy moving through my brain as my nose twitches and becomes more alive. The earth is red. So many gatherings of worn, gentle stones, a woman reclining before a tree and i smile. In contrast to the soft nature of the rocks, the trees are twisted and contorted, as if reacting to pulses below.

I reach the top, the land has turned grey, a different strata of rock. The magic is gone, a different period revealed up here. I descend, take another path down, less alive, more travelled it seems, away from that line or creek or vein that called. Then i come upon another cluster, and feel something more again. I walk down, and as i hit the dirt road, my left arm starts swinging on its own like a pendulum, as if acting independently, picking something up. This happened a few days before, as i was on another red hill, the Red Mountain Trails by Glenwood Springs, and as i descended, my left arm took on a life of its own, and my hand felt like the hand of another. What i am picking up in this land? What secrets does it contain?

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I walk along the Glenwood Canyon trail from town listening to the traffic on the highway that runs beside. I have no idea of the transformation that will come when i turn the corner and enter into the Glenwood Canyon itself. 

But i get an inkling that something special might lay ahead, as i near both the footbridge that will take me across the highway, and the tunnel that will take the cars away for a short while. I have been looking at the cliffs and the rocks, and suddenly a figure appears to me, overlooking the path and the highway on the north side.

Guardian overlooking path as i approach glenwood canyon from the west

I pause, and am taken over, and wonder what lay ahead. I wonder if any of the cars exiting the tunnel and the canyon from the east notice this spirit that looks over the road, watching all that pass through. But he faces the other way. do the cars who enter this area see?

 
On the other, southern, side of the highway is another spirit in stone, a reddish hue like the steeper wall that lay behind. I did not notice him on my way in, but on my return. he smiles down.

Overlooking the highway - west end of glenwood canyon

 These figures, while the most majestic, only provide a hint of the energies in the canyon they guard. I only explore a small area, around Horseshoe Bend where the path and canyon vere away from the highway on the way to the no name rest area (yes, that is its name). being a narrow canyon in mountainous terrain, both the highway and the railroad tracks closely follow the banks of the Colorado River. I have been through on the train, but on foot i connect in a special way (you can also bike the canyon which is what most people do)

I cross the footbridge, and soon am in another world, the world of the canyon itself. traffic has been diverted through a tunnel, so i feel myself with the elements. The Colorado river runs full in a rainy spring after a winter with heavy snow, so it is the sound of it that i hear.

The walls are steep and reddish with a few trees. What strikes me is the vertical thrust of the layers of stone, and i am reminded of areas on the pacific coast. I ask myself, if somehow, in some ancient way, there is some sort of connection between the two. I am relaxed and calm and walk by this area where i will return and become transformed.

I walk to the rest area, past homes, and then return to the sacred zone of this bend in the river. I look up and see a figure – one so much like another that called to me on the Monterey, CA coast – the one that i had called last kiss. The figures was here as well, close to 6000 ft above sea level and over a 1000 miles inland.

Last Kiss #2

 But it is the wall in the bend that comes alive. Several picnic tables sit under a shelter by the river facing a steep wall. As is often the case, the placement of benches, shelters, lookouts and more, shows that we have an inner knowing, a sense of sacred places.

The first time i sit, the wall becomes alive, faces emerge showing me that life is contained within. all becomes crisper, clearer, and simultaneously, less dense. The faces speak to me, but few let me take their picture. Once again, a few i remind me of others i have seen elsewhere. One area is full of spirits, emerging and fading, all having an openness, and reminding me not to look away.

Crawling out of canyon wall

 He reminds me of the being who appeared in a tree trunk in yosemite, calming me,  after the ‘scarier’ spirits had revealed themselves there. Others are nearby, but the camera will not pick them up. Nearby, another looks out.

Ancient guardian on the wall

The photos become less clear, and they say it is time to look and listen and just to be, the messages will emerge. And that i do. 

I return another day, to the same place, sit on the bench, quiet and calm. The world comes alive as i sing to myself, the canyon wall forming a backdrop for the dance of live contained below. A bush with the new leaves of spring becomes vibrant and alive, the lush lime green standing out, a contrast with the reddish hues beyond; the river that flows full, dances, and small brilliant yellow birds fly above the water, emerging and disappearing into the ledges of the canyon wall. Life is so much more than the stones of old, it is here and now, it dances and my spirit dances too.

I walk again, and the whole area becomes unreal for a moment. The rocks lose their density, and i am one with the all. A woman appears further down, carved into the stone. I had noticed the indentation before, but now it becomes something more.

Female saint of the wall

She looks down, motherly and nurturing. And i feel nurtured myself.

I return to the place where i was before, heavy clouds come in with rain, and then blue sky emerges again. Another face appears, speaks again, the bushes and trees and river become alive, and then it is time to go. At the bend, is one face i see looking over.

Face on the bend

I cross over the footbridge and out of the magical canyon. I walk along the path beside the highway. It starts to rain again. But now i embrace the rain, the all, for i have been transformed, the spirits have spoken, and my spirit has come alive once again, as has hope. 

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 Yosemite calls you in. The valley is a cathedral and draws out the spirit. Three roads merge into one at the entrance to the valley – one way in and out. Inside this zone trees grow strong and tall, water runs in the spring, cascading down the steep mountain sides, birds sing and fly about, deer walk calmly and squirrels scurry freely. bears wander, often out of sight, and this time cats were seen. It is a magical place, seeming apart, and not quite of this world, and definitely not of the landscape around.

Still i feel not is all that meets the eye – that there is something that lurks underneath – or rather above. For just as there are magical portals taking you out of self, lifting you high, there is also an element that sucks you under. And it is in the land, it is in the rock – the faces upon the walls. At times i wonder if the beauty is to lure you so that you may be stripped bare. Those times that some of the faces on the walls come alive. I recollect the legends or myths of the Ahwahneechee which speak of evil spirits lurking.

I see it in the faces above, those that come alive at certain times. I first felt it last spring, after i had a magical moments as i went up the vernal falls trail, and came back down again after being transported to a different world. I walked along the river or creek, and looked up, and north dome (i believe) seemed alive – as if other beings lived there. I did not know what to make of it at the time.

North Dome - Spirit Comes Alive

Last summer, iwent up top for day, up above the walls, and there the energy felt so different, the boulders that lay strewn about remnants of some ancient war or cataclysmic destruction, I walked around Tenaya Lake, and spotted this dome, again alive, feeling ‘monkey’ beings or some others that could live there. It was so similar to the other dome i viewed from down below.

Spirit of Tenaya Lake

This visit i stayed in the valley, the uplands still full of snow. Yosemite Falls called me as they always do, for there is often a magical feeling to the walk below – the path lined with giant ponderosa pines, and the boulders off to one side. Now in spring, the falls and creeks ran full and you could feel their energy. I felt like the place was not quite real, as if it belonged to another world or dimension, and i basked in the bliss a few early mornings. But near the base, i spotted a stone, that called to me, off kilter with rest of the magnificence around.

A Poloti of Yosemite Falls?

 

The Ahwahneechee called Yosemite Falls “Cholock” which is a bad spirit, and believed that several witches called “Poloti” lived in the plunge pool at the base. while this was downstream, i could not help but wonder if this was one of the spirits they talked about. Still, the faces that embrace Upper Yosemite Falls seem kind, but sad.

Two Faces of Upper Yosemite Falls

As i walked in the meadow near the swinging bridge, the falls seemed to be seperating the two faces – one night i imagined the falls as a giant tear – two tears joined together. The walls near the falls came alive in the evening, and once again i felt that something was looking down at me.

The Wall Has Eye

 

On my previous visit, i had been fortunate enough to camp under the full moon, and at night these walls lit up and shone with an unearthl quality. As I walked along the loop trail, out towards El Captain, i noticed a shine in the wall although it was the middle of the day. A face appeared to me, one that did not seem benovolent.

Eerie Luminescent Spirit

I felt an evil force in this face and tried not to look, but still i had to. I did not go as far as Bridalveil Falls, who the Ahwahneechee called “Pohono”, another ‘evil’ spirit that means ‘windy spirit’. It was thought that the waterfall spirits would mesmerize you and get you into the mist and make you fall in and you would die. Instead i go to Cathedral beach which calms the spirit.

I walk back on the other side. I glance up and this spirit comes out.

Scary Spirit

It haunts me – i feel an evil force. I try not to look up but i do and spot  another – more benign.

Smiling Creature

Still, the kind nature of this one, fails to shake the feeling from the other spirit that la nearby. I am reminded of one of the spirits i saw one of my first days here this time, something crawling out of the walls, something that threw me off.

What is this crawling out of the wall?

After seeing this creature, i tried not to see images and focused instead on the multitude of life that blooms in the valley in the spring. Once again i did, listening to the birds and the waterfalls and the streams and looking at the trees and making to connection with the other life forces. and this was another face i saw, a bear or something coming out of a tree.

Bear Tree Spirit

I have seen many more spirits in stone at Yosemite. Some i have not photographed, and some do not want their picture taken – they do not want to be revealed. But the walls are alive, with a past much more mysterious than we know. Who are these spirits? I cannot say, all i know is they are there, magical in many ways, seen and unseen. And i know that each time i visit the valley, i come alive as if imbued with a magical force, i experience a whirlwind of emotions, and after i leave, i feel that something has been taken from me. A loss of the magic, or something more?

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It is not only what we choose to look at and see, but how we perceive, that determines our relation to a place and the world. I see life in many rocks – faces, images, spirits and more constantly appear to me as i walk along, each with a story to be told; of a past, the present, and a future unknown. Hills are no longer vistas, something to be climbed or navigated, a challenge to build upon, but are enchanted structures, rising up, connecting the below with the above, communicating between the worlds.

In the rocks and the earth is an energy stored, an energy that is life. One not merely to fuel our material needs, but one that speaks to our souls. It is an energy of the spirit, of gaia herself, and of the many who have passed on this land long before us. And as i walk i feel the earth as magical, animate, and so very alive. I see the mystery in all i pass, the wisdom contained within, and as i listen i come to life myself, seeing the world as if through the eyes of a child. And that is the way it is meant to be.
I return to Pacifica, that place i often pass through and see the locale through the eyes of a child – the child inside. Not only do i gaze beyond the car filled roads and above the shopping plaza, homes, stores and parking lots to see the hills, behind each section of town, but the low mountains come alive and i see the glory that they are. I stroll the path along the beach, over the headlands to another and up and over again. Along the path, and out to sea, i spot many stones that speak to me – and in them i see both a terror and a magnificence. And i spot yet another hill that looks like a pyramid. I sit down to jot a note, and then down below to watch the ocean roar, and my mind opens up to stories and possibilities galore – of other worlds beyond and before our own.



I drink a coffee, cut through a parking lot, notice the cars streaming by on the road, pick up food for dinner in the grocery store, still holding the mysteries inside. But i wonder as i return to what we call “the world”, if our creation is really it? Just perhaps the world is that which lay beyond our everyday gaze. The hints to this other world surround us, but too often we just zoom on by, seeing a rock as a rock and a hill as a hill – a beautiful vista perhaps. Then i think of the expressions on some of those i passed and acknowledged or said hi to on my stroll, and realize just perhaps i am not alone – that some of the others out that day see a glimpse of the spirits around – be it consciously or not. I wonder, what do the spirits say to them, and to whom do they appear. If rocks could talk i want to write … even though i know they do. Is my vision opening up, or are the spirits begin to speak more?



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I was transported across a golden bridge and through a long dark tunnel to another world today. A world of magical mountains with secrets buried inside, guardians of stone, and a light that shone for all to see. … and then i came back.

 I rode a bus to Marin Headlands across the golden gate bridge, the hills that have called to me many a time. I had yearned to go, but put it off, for the bus only runs one day a week, so my timing had to be right. Though it is so close as the raven or the hawk flies, and above my head they did, it is also so far away. Though physically so close, it is another world – especially when you leave the vistas of the bay.

Marin Headlands is yet another old army fort turned part of the golden gate national park with barracks and more built into the hills and a lighthouse at the entrance to the bay; The hills speak to me as ancient pyramids (i believe they lay everywhere) and in a few of the rocks on the cliffs you can see faces (of the guardians there). The sun had come out after days of rain, and slowly the magic seeped into me.

It was not present when i first arrived and focused my attention on the old military installations and the fighter jets soared above the bay. But after a walk out to the lighthouse, my vision changed. I opened up to the call of the land and the presence that was there, being guided in my footsteps, and the magic entered into my soul. I felt like i was truly in another world and time. Faces in and on the stones, the shape of the hills, and the curious relics we leave behind for generations to come all came to life. I came to life as i became enchanted with the mysteries there, and truly felt the earth as a living entity and became connected with the all. It truly felt like another ancient holy place.

 

This is more a description of my day, but what i wrote at first sounds so much more romantic – and i hope to experience more of life that way – enchanted with the world.

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