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Posts Tagged ‘Yosemite’

 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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Camp 4

I wanted to camp in Yosemite park and i did. And i am glad. Now i sleep in a bed again outside and i am glad of that too. I took a chance going up there, a chance i almost convinced myself not to take.
On the train and the bus into this area over a week ago i got a sudden urge to camp. and going into the park and back out again, i asked myself why not. the temperature was not too cold at night – but i had been sleeping in a bed for about a week and appreciated the softness of a matress and warmth at night. The issue was finding a place to stay in this great park and for some other reason i was afraid.
there is one walk-in first come first serve campground in the park – Camp 4 – and that is where i stayed. i had known about it, but forgotten about it and walked by the day i was supposed to leave. It is a fairly open area crowded with tents – and few trees and i was not sure about the vibe there. it was around 11am and it was full for the day – a ranger came by so i asked about how hard it was to get a space. the kiosk opens at 830 am, but the line officially starts at 6. people come earlier but no sleeping bags or pads are allowed in front of the booth – and it fills up every morning for the night. The first bus into the park does not arrive until 730 am, so i wondered what i would do. although it is a walk in camp and priced per person, the parking lot is right beside, and people come with cars and in pairs and groups, so different from the hiker-biker sites i have been in. I told the ranger i wished there were sites for people without cars – and she said this is it as i stared out over the parking lot. she said it was crowded, turn people away, but i would have a chance if i came right over on the first bus in – the summer peak has passed but the climbers are filling it up.
I wandered the park that day not knowing if i would try, before i went and looked at the place – an open area crowded with tents, i was so certain that i would. but after i heard about the difficulty getting in i told myself i would not and my energy changed. I told myself i could not. I told myself that one is not meant to spend so much time there though i yearned to thoroughly explore the energies within those walls, to be in the place without leaving for several days. but a voice also said no, it is not meant to be. but that night it called to me but i decided to gamble and take my chance knowing that the outcome was not guarenteed. What ifs passed through my mind, but i knew i could not turn my back on this chance.
i packed up unsure if i would catch the bus out at 6am – but i did. I slept poorly fearing i would not hear the alarm – i was afraid, afraid i would be turned away. Afraid to step out into the unknown, to take a risk. but i asked god if it was his will to let me have a place. it was dark when i got up blurry eyed and made my way on down to the bus down the dark road and heard and something rustle in the bushes – and it did not feel like a deer. I waited at the stop in the dark, headlamp on so the bus could see me, looking up the road, nervous, but it finally came – and was full of park employees.
I slept on the way in, and was nervous when we arrived – the bus pulled into the visitors center and then was to go to the far end of the valley to curry village before going to the lodge – so i got off there and waited alone in the quiet of the park for the shuttle that would take me to the camp. i waited and fretted and it finally came and there were about 12 in front of the office when i got there – i asked which way does the line go, and got in the end, a few more arrived, i wanted a coffee and to pee, but waited until the kiosk opened up at 830 am. I got a space at about 9, and decided to book for five days. I was but was told could not set up until noon – i was releived but still not calm, wondering what was in the air.
This is what i wrote:

I walked the park and then set up my tent. Six people share a site to which you are ramdomly assigned – you are assigned a bear box, but one table between the people there. I had felt unsure, and when i arrived there was a small tent, with two people on the tag, and then a mom and two twenty something asians arrived with a monster tent – a six – eight person one that dwarfed all that was around and cast my little tent in a shadow.
The campground was full of climbers – for it is prime rock climbing season and this is the place to do it. I wrote

And it made me realize that like the animals and birds and plants that thrive in some areas and cannot live in others, we as people have out zones where we may thrive and others where we may just eke out a living. Adaptation is possible only to some extent, and when we adapt what do we become. And also like energy attracts like, and i am not part of the nucleus here.
The tents were crowded together, and most we here to climb and bond. With the noise at night and feeling pushed out of the site i became a bit of a bitch. six people officiallly share a site, but in this case it became many more – the family and all their friends, become 10-12 instead of three and all sharing a picnic table. And i spoke up, and spoke up again and instead of joining in i cut myself off more. And the loud fire pit in the site behind my tent – one of the loudest in the campground one night – called a bitch by one drunken youth when i mentionned the quiet hours. I spoke with the guys from boston at my site who drank constantly. i did not like being there and avoided the campground. i wonder if it was bad karma for if i had been assigned another site, it might have been different and I could have met some with whom i could bond. But a lesson was there for me. I felt disconnected from that which was around, and energy acted up, and instead of getting along, i withdrew, avoiding the place, felt isolated, and was not kind for i wanted to change what was. The dance was not one for me to join, so instead of finding my own music, i wanted the music to be different – but it was a rhythm so many shared, and the music they came for.
Still, i debated staying longer than planned for other places in the park i loved. but i could not renew my site. you are supposed to be able to renew if you do so the day before you are to leave, but a clean-up was happening in the park, something i thought to join, and the climber volunteers had reserved a few of the sites – including the one i was on. Several complained as it had not been announced, as did i. I could have lined up the following morning, but i decided it was time to leave. Although i was up at 6 when the line was short, i knew it was time to go, my time in the park was done. I was turning inside too much, and staying in part because i was afraid to leave. And i knew that it was time to move on.
And i realized yosemite valley is as much the campgrounds and places we have built as it is the walls themselves. i value my time there, and learned as much from the challenges in the campground as it did from the natural forces. And i realize that places call up activity, and there are places where we bond, and to some extent there are energies we choose to align to and others we do not.
I finish this entry a long ways from the valley in terms of space and time and have experienced much since i left and it now seems but a blur, but a blur that led my onto other paths, both inside and out.

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I wanted to go to the top – to see what lay above this valley and i did. Now i ask myself why – to see i guess, but my energy is totally off kilter and has been since i got on the bus that took me there. I went up to Tuolumne Meadows – the first time here that it has been possible since the road is closed in winter – and the last shuttle out leaves tomorrow. So i did, said would spend more time in the valley before leaving to get a handle on the energies here, but i decided to go while i had a chance. Though my day was not good, perhaps i learned, and learned more easily than setting out on another venture. Still i spent most of the day riding buses.

The energy up there is different – intense and harsh. The boulders that have fallen down the walls feel like something out of an ancient war. And i think that the day before when i looked up from below, i had imagined this to be such a special place – a land of the gods who stand above the valley floor. And when i look around and feel the vibrations, i want to cry. and eventually i do.

it is a land where you feel that you should not live. It feels like much of the sierras, like much that lay to the other side – i feel a presence of the ancients, and of a destruction and horror, and i feel that energy lingering there. I felt the energy of the solid sheer rock mounds and domes at the east end of tenya lake, the lake that felt like a vortex. The lake was beautiful and called to me as we passed it on the road, and the domes called from afar, and it was an oasis in the land up there.

I felt off going up on the bus, full of long distance hikers, a certain vibe of toughness and endurance and going all the way. and i felt out of place on that bus, as i do in camp with the rock climbers, and as i did on the coast with the cyclists – for i am not one of them – that is ok, but it is. but why do i end up in places where i am not with my people?

I panic as the bus goes on – where to get off as i do not want a long hike down – just where is the most beautiful. It is flatter up here and open and dry. this is the yosemite wilderness and the highlands over 8000 feet up. This is totally a different zone than the valley down below. I ride the bus to the end and talk with the driver – she points out a few hikes but a couple up slippery rock or just through the trees. i do not know what i am doing here – i came unprepared, and feel that i should have gotten off sooner.

I felt lonely in these lands once again – yes, parking lots with cars, but a stark wilderness. I feel like i have when i have gone too far out – most recently east of crescent city, in the yukon, elsewhere – into the wilderness not only of the lands but of the spirit as well. i realize that i prefer a more tamed landscape, one that is created in part by us humans, working with nature, created for purpose. but what have i created or contributed to any of this – nothing i tell myself. i try to focus on the feelings here – but i long for my imagined east of small towns close together, hills that are much more climbable, a gentler landscape. And i retreat into myself and illusions.

i sit by the lake and look at the hills and see faces there – one dome appears almost inhuman with the monkey like face i have seen in places before – a creature caught in stone, or alive guarding the place. I go out to the road and wait for a shuttle that does not run on schedule. i begin to panic and to cry – will i be stuck up here? I want to leave. i do not know what i am doing here, what i am looking for. I shiver inside and out though the day is warm – my face contorts and i am tense. i am so far off kilter and i do not understand why. is it the land? is it me? was i really thinking of crossing over to the harsher drier side? Just what is contained in this place? The meadows themselves feel like a dried up lake and i feel so exposed and raw up here.
The shuttle comes and it is the driver to the other bus that will take me on down to the valley below. on the return the bus is almost empty and i stare out at the rocks and look at what is there. I had become lost in the fear in my mind. Still i see a crumbled world of the ancients, a horror where some see beauty, a world collapsed and division and discord. I am back to the off feeling of the lower ranges and of north of truckee, where is seems like something went of so wrong, the crackling energy i have felt when crossing this range. The land is rocks and trees, and further down, just into the valley, the remains of a fire zone, burnt but slowly coming back to life. and i wonder, is the valley what remains of the ancient civilization, was it their church of sorts, an oasis, or what they have been called on to guard, for i think of the faces on north dome and beyond. There is something deeper going on in these mountains, and that foreboding of sierraville returns.

And i feel that i should not have felt this. Others say this area is great. I believe that i will be told that it was something i am carrying with me, something that is amplified up here. to an extent that is true, for i had slept ill the night before. But i have felt this way in similar lands so maybe it is an interaction of it all. I reach the bottom in the valley and feel like a hollowed out soul, feel like i have been through the wringer though i barely walked or hiked at all. I eat and sit inside and go back to camp, and the valley does not seem the same to me. I feel that its “sacredness” has come at a high price, and wonder if it’s life comes from draining that which is around. the following morning I explore the valley from below, and feel like i have come back to where i am meant to be and am thankful that i am here.

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Vernal falls trail –
This place is another world. walking up the hill i feel different and lighter and i know it is not just the effort i have exerted. On the bus ride in, we pass through el portal – the portal and enter into another zone – rock formations are more prominent, trees change and all becomes more alive. The valley is a special world, a fantasy land we come to; passing through harsher lands on all sides to get here; protect the area, falls of civilizations, the remains.

I felt my energy shift and loosen as I headed up the trail and something profound around, but i did not feel transported to another dimension as before. Had the last time been a random chance, or was i ready for god’s grace at the time? Did i need then to be shown the absolute, a strong vision in order to believe, just as my body, heart and soul must scream loudly before i listen? Has the energy shifted here as on the coast? Or are there certain times where it is more active – an interaction of the earth with the stars, planets, sun and sky? given the profound astrological alignments of the past year, how has the earth been altered? Or do i not see it now because i had not purified myself? but then again had i last time?

I climb higher – the mist trail is open – climb the steep steps to the top of Vernal Falls. Another world opens up of pools of water and stone. The water is calm and the pools feel contained, and the mountains glisten across the way. I sit in the new land that i have discovered and think about heading further on up to another land. Nevada Falls lay above and i head up a trail and watch them from a distance – from the bridge that crosses the stream. The trail leads to the top, and to what is most certainly another land.

I am near the top of the bridge above the emerald pools and i feel off kilter once again. I do not continue the hike up to the top of Nevada Falls -I am confused, I say no. It does not feel right – but i watch so many others crossing over, my mind starts to chatter – why do i avoid going to the top. If i dont go, am i a wimp? That is how i feel. I know it leads up, to another zone i cannot see, another portal perhaps? The place of lords or others? but i do not feel like going – is it that i am afraid to make the effort? I feel that i cannot make it there – i am tired. I am confused. I walk over the bridge and the path veers away from the river into the drier woods where all i see is trees. A man is yelling on his cell phone. Two hikers come down looking sad and tired. I pause for a while and turn back again, recrossing the bridge and sit on the rock slope that overlooks the stream.

I sit and smoke and feel calm as i look out. Maybe this is as far as i am meant to go. I feel good here now. Maybe i will just write for a while. My water bottles drop out of the pockets on my bag and role down the sloping rock face where i sit and into a gully and disappear from view. Is this a sign? Fate determined? I know now that i was right. i am resigned. I want to stay here but i feel thirsty in the sun. i think i can make it down to the bottom of vernal falls where a fountain provided water to drink. I turn back.

I walk out to the bridge that crosses the stream to look up to Nevada Falls one more time. I see my water bottles down below on a ledge and am relieved they did not go flying over the falls. I can reach the ledge, i do not have to turn back. I scramble down a space between the boulders to get to them and return to where i was sitting. still undecided. will i be mad at myself if i turn back? Is being able to retrieve them a sign that maybe i just need to take a little step? I had given up, but then i looked beyond. Am i just out of my comfort zone? Or is something telling me a bigger no? The sky changes and clouds come in, just a few but…. the trail on the other side veers away from the creek into the woods – i stare at the dome. I don’t know what i feel? Peace seems to have disappeared. Is it merely a loosening of the stuff inside?

I go back to the bridge and cross it again – two girls are in front of me – they ask an older man how far it is to the top of the falls. He has a map. he and his wife had just walked a few more minutes on – to the bottom of the falls – and have decided to take another route. i go that far, a glimpse of beauty and then turn around – content and at peace.

Going down i am glad i did – my legs feel a bit like jelly. I slip on a step – not enough to fall, but enough to know i did my share. I admire the rainbows once again at the bottom of vernal falls, rest for a while on a boulder by the creek lovely. I am smiling when i come to the bottom of the trail.

(in the week that follows, i wonder if i should go back and try for the top but i never do, in fact, i do not get up to the emerald pools again)

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Yosemite walls
Yosemite walls – when we come into this valley they are what we come to see, to admire and perhaps, even to worship. To awe at their magnificence, their grandeur, their diversity. And every where we turn, there is another – a sheer cliff, another with water pouring down, a dome, a craggly edge, and they surround us, and contain us. At dawn some light up becoming brighter while others across the way are still shadowed in the dark, and cast their shadows across the valley floor. Later on, as the day ends, those which were the darkest at dawn, glow orange with the fading sun. And in the moon some are iridescent, a silver of sorts, the shapes and ledges in the rocks taking on a life of their own. but they are still walls.

If you were born here in the days before tourism, would you imagine that this was the entire world? Would you leave the valley, walk the steep paths up the mountain sides or scale the walls? Would this be a right of passage or would it be discouraged or even forbidden – the up there the land of the gods or the deep dark unknown? Would it be a place where only a few would go out and return telling tales of other lands, lands so different from what you see. Lands that do not contain the magic of this cathedral of sorts, lands which provide a vista of it all, lands that are harsher and less dramatic than this. Would you believe them? would you want to go on out to explore or would you want to stay within?

The mountain sides define this valley, make it what it is. They contain its energy and define its boundaries and create a world within – a world with a life of its own for from the valley floor you cannot see what is beyond. Do you stare at the walls? do you focus on what is inside? Are you contained? Do you seek to discover what may lay beyond?

I was called to spend several days in Yosemite Valley and in my time there i looked at the walls and within, felt contained,wanted to stay forever and wanted to escape – not only the walls of the valley, but of the walls that surround myself. I said that i needed to look at and clear the energy inside of my container and found myself unconsciously coming here for i knew this place was special with an energy and life all of its own.

I spend days looking at the walls from a variety of vantage points – in the morning i look at the cliff side that is Yosemite falls and watch the sun rise above, i travel around the valley, out to the area near bridal veil falls and admire El Captain and how it changes depending on where you stand, in the evening i watch the sun set over half dome, and in the moonlight i look at the wall that forms the backdrop to camp 4 where i stay. I stand in meadows which are like large rooms, alone for a moment, and feel like i am in a magical world held in and nurtured by what is around, i meditate and see shapes and faces in the rocky facades. I seek out vantage points that will provide different views, and see how the walls change over the time of day and have a life of their own. i walk back from the meadow near the swinging bridge and the mountain seems to move back and forth back and forth as i move forward and recede. And i watch the water trickle or stream down these walls from above. I love these walls, they are magic to me but then they can start to close in. And become just walls; walls that i cannot see beyond, like the walls of a room or perhaps myself.

I’m staring at walls, these walls are grand and majestic, stunning with a life of their own, mineral content, patches of trees, multiple textures but they are walls nonetheless. they are not like those in a dim room – the typical grey walls of despair, but i am in a grand valley and staring at walls nonetheless.

These are but walls – walls of illusion, like the walls that surround us, contain our souls. At times when the mountains have appeared almost transparent despite the granite density that we say (know) is there. And i wonder what life they contain inside, what lay within and if i could only pass through and in. At times they look flat against the sky, and image in 2D – a veil that could lift at any time, or that you could pass through -but alas, i cannot magically slip through.
Up above is another world, and while we might not imagine this valley is here, but once in we do not imagine there is a beyond, do not imagine it although movement in and out of here is great. A few roads leads in and merge at the final moment of entry into the valley, where there is only one way in and out by car. Otherwise it is an immense journey, up and over the top, up, and up some more though the trails are there. It is a large effort, and others, predecessors have carved the roads, (as well as made the trails) for us.

I stare at the walls and imagine what might lay above – a different world, one of the gods. I imagine a land of the gods that is even grander than this valley. I understand the climbers and what it means to climb the walls in a figurative sense. trails lead up from the valley floor, up to a variety of vista points. this time i said i would stay within, spend several days in this container. And people make steep hikes of endurance to half dome, the top of yosemite falls, nevada falls, glacier point and more, hikes up thousands of feet so that they may get a glimpse of the valley below, this valley where i am. These hikes to the top are the point of coming here for so many, the trails that challenge you and reward you with a vision beyond what you imagined from below.

My times here have been mainly spent in the valley – many times where there is snow up above and roads and trails are closed. I was up at glacier point a year ago in december before the road had closed, and looking down over the valley and to the mountains across the way i was in a very different place. But without a car, i was not about to make the four mile climb up there. And i have turned back on the trails before, here and elsewhere, never quite making it to the top. In fact in my times in many mountain areas, i have preferred the valley hikes to those that take you up above to lookouts over the land and sea. But now that i write i realize that i have appreciated the larger views and vistas from above as well as from below.

Most of us live in valleys though and i know i have generally preferred the valleys. Now i wish to look out and beyond and see the vastness of the land. But the climb is arduous – maybe that is it – the climb is long and need to exert effort to get there. it takes effort to reach the peaks. And i turn back every time.

But i stare at the walls and they begin to close in – i want to see what is above on this north and east side of the valley – a place i have never been. i want to know, i cannot see and must rely on my imagination – i could look at photos but i do not. How i once yearned to be contained by walls, nurturing, holding me tight. now they confine, and close on in, is it that i do not like what is inside, or that i have spent too long in this place.

i take the shuttle to tuloume meadows on the tioga road, a road that has been shut on each of my visits before the one road that leads out of the park, through the highlands, to the east. I break my vow of spending five day in the valley without taking a bus out of its bounds. But the shuttle service will end the next day, a day where there could be rain. we ascend and see the land below – a brief vista at olmstead point but the bus drives on through. I have less time than i thought and end up around a lake surrounded by walls – the bus is full of hikers making long difficult hikes down to the valley floor.

the energy is different up there, and i feel off kilter, i have felt off since we left the valley. i stare at new walls and flat lands and feel the harshness of the place. I feel trapped and panic as i wait for a shuttle to take me back to the bus, panic that i will not be able to get back down. Am i meant to spend time in the valley where i said i would stay for a while, am not meant to go to the highlands, to focus on the container within? Is this the difference between what we call and introvert and an extrovert? But once below i feel content and safe and realize once again just how special the valley is.

The valley is more than the walls that contain. It is a sacred place, a cathedral, and i feel its spirit each time i arrive – the specialness that it is. it has a rich and diverse life inside, one that springs up and lives its life here – the trees and plants, many of the animals – the deer, the squirrels, the bears, flowers in the spring and so much more. It is rich and the dance of life and energy is intense. In the valley all energy is amplified – the all of it, bouncing off the steep granite walls. This is why i feel the highs and lows so intensely here. Why have i stayed in valleys so often before – they are containers – contain all. The walls that are but a container for the rich life inside, and here in Yosemite the valley is so rich and sacred.

And i look and interact with the life forms here and i like the other people who come in are but part of the rich dance that makes up this place. I ignore the walls and do not see that they are there. I sit by the river on a rock or on the beach, walk trails beneath magnificent trees – the ponderosa pines that stand majestic, the incense cedars and so many more and notice a leaf on a bus that has started to turn. I watch the deer who feed on bushes and the squirrels who seek out human food. I see a bear across the river, and walk and climb on boulders that are around. I smell the trees, listen to the water, the wind blow the needles on the trees, the sounds of others that are around. i feel the coolness of the air at night and the heat of the sun at midday. I talk to others and smile as i walk along the paths. I enter into other containers – the shuttle bus, a store, a resto, my tent, and of course myself, and spend time looking inwards as well as out, exploring the life that is in there, the essence of what i am.

While i focus on the rich life inside, i soon realize that although i cannot see out, all is so interconnected. I sit by the river that still runs, knowing that it has come down the cliffs from above. The waterfalls that feed the life below and make the park so famous have come from the meltoff of snow and streams above. The rocks and boulders that lay about, were once carried here by ice long ago or have come tumbling down the walls so much more recently, and the pebbles and sand by the beach have been carried on down. I look up and see the sun which shines on the life below and on the walls – bringing them to life as well, and at night the moon, and the stars that twinkle in the sky. I see a cloud And i see how this container is so linked with what is beyond, but all blossoms with such a life within.

although the walls contain the energy and magnify it, energy also turns on over. four roads into the park – one roughly from each direction, the merge into a single road that leads in and out of the valley. from here the people come and go, bringing in and taking out the energy that they are – and like a cathedral the energy can become transformed in this place. And also transform what is within – adding life, building, creating the villages, campgrounds, roads, and trails. Joining with nature, overcoming it, appreciating it, transforming it. The walls limit and help define the flow of life, holding it and nurturing it inside, allowing the blossoming of life, and making yosemite valley a sacred place for they amplify what goes on inside and define the valley that is.

The valley is a container and i find myself here, to learn to value what is within, the life inside. I realize how porous i am at times – energy entering from all directions instead of on certain paths. I see that i must nurture myself, but also grow and transform what is within. What flows in also flows out, like the river that flows from this place, like the road that takes people away as well as in – ideally transformed, remembering this special place, renewed and enlightened by it, and sharing its wonder with others and glowing a little bit more. And can i be like this, linked to all but contained, transforming energy and shining a light out onto the world.

It is time to leave the valley – i am ready but i am sad. this place has nurtured me and confronted me as i have stared into its walls, scales peaks within and then plunging into the depths. the valley leads me inwards, but it is time to step and flow on out. And as i ride the bus to the lowerlands, i admire these walls one last time (for now).

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There was a waterfall here, a tiny one, and the walls of granite glistened bright green – but that was in the spring. looking at it now you would not imagine it was there. How much else do we not imagine, that which was before and that which will return – but we do not know, we have not seen it, but having seen it we can have faith, faith that it will return, that something will appear, that there is more than meets the eye.

 
I wrote that the first day i came to the park about a week ago, when i went up the Vernal falls trail. The falls i had seen across the valley were also gone, but the Vernal and Nevada Falls still have a flow – minor compared to what they must be in the spring, but i have never truly experienced them at that time – in fact never glimpsed at Nevada Falls before. Since then i have visited several of the “falls”, places which now stand empty of water, or have but a trickle – and the famous Yosemite Falls are gone.

 

Yosemite fall have all but disappeared to a trickle down a sheer cliff, a wet spot on the granite, and the upper falls are not there at all. If you came here now and had not seen photos of them when there are full, would you believe that they were there? If someone told you about the falls after you had seen that place, would you have thought them crazy? But a you “know” that they exist, are you disappointed by what you see and yearn for more? Do you see what is in front of you, or do you imagine the famous pictures you have seen too many times. They are a trickle – so quiet, unlike in the spring when you could hear them from afar, beckoning, and the mist covering the path where people now stand looking at the trickle from a distance. If you arrived unknowing could you envision the spring birth, the cycle that they are? would you?

 

Would you even pause? this place below the “falls” still feels special to me, the trees more alive, the energy high, and the boulders and rocks special – but is that because i have seen? because there is a path that leads here? Because i have come to believe that it is special? Or is there something truly there at all times? I have returned again and again, especially in the early morning, when the sun slowly lights up the cliffs, and the area is quiet – the people have not yet come in, and the falls are almost silent from the path, and i sit and drink my morning coffee and take in what is here.

And i think of cycles and the cyclical nature of so much or maybe of it all. We have been taught to perceive of time as a linear progression but the falls show that it is an illusion – the falls are not progressively, linearly growing stronger or shrinking away, but if we arrived in the spring or lived less than a year we might imagine that they have gone – but we have faith in their rebirth. The sun is rising over the valley floor, and we do not imagine that it will continuously grow stronger, the walls will brighten and then the sun will fade. and i think about waves and tides, when it comes in will also goes out, and the moon which is close to full will fade away in our eyes (but with the sun and the moon, when they are out of sight, we believe they have not disappeared). We see these cycles, and so many more, but still imagine time and history as linear and often fail to conceive of cycles much bigger than ourselves, or of ourselves as we exist on earth this time. And the falls are a cycle – i cycle i have seen, one that others read about, and a cycle in which we have faith, faith that the snow and rain will come and the falls will appear once more. but is any less faith required than that for other cycles that we have not seen, that are longer than us.

But it is not truly a circle – a labyrinth, a spiral of sorts perhaps? for the walls of the valley alter over time, rocks fall, cliffs fall, valleys are carved, people come in, paths are built, a crash – not always a smooth movement like what we see as the flow of water over stone – but movement that is at the same time barely perceptible and with huge instant changes.

I look at the dry creek bed and find it hard to believe that it is the same creek that i saw in the winter frozen with patches of snow or in the spring rushing along. But then again is it? Is it truly the same? And i must say no – though some of it is. I have faith that the creek (which looks like a path of stones) will be filled with snow and water once again – but it will not be the same snow or the same water as before, and even when it is full, the water is in motion. Thus will it be the same creek?

Still the rocks remain and endure. i assume they are mainly those that were there before – many which were hidden away beneath the water and are now visible. And what endures is exposed to so many conditions – rain, drought, cold, heat – and they thus appear (or are) different over time. Now they are all dry not wet, and their temperature is not the same – so are they the same rocks – parts eroded over time. Or is the cycle merely much longer? I look at the face of the cliff, the moss that grows and the damp spot of the lower falls, and the lines of darks and oranger stone which mark the path of the upper falls, and see what is hidden by the water, and is now revealed. While it looks enduring, it changes too. And we assume that this stone wall is still there even when hidden by the snow, ice and rush of water.

And i think of each of us – what is that part which endures and what merely passes through? And does anything endure at all – or is it always in the process of change – and if something disappears do we not expect it do return, or do we count on it coming back as it was. For even when the falls are full, they are never the same – each moment is different as what we see as drops of water fall over the cliff.
At the base of Vernal falls was a rainbow – both on the way up and on the way down – the seven colours, of the rainbow, or the chakras, of the energies we perceive. but it appears and disappears and moves around, showing all colours of the energetic vibrations of life. and all this that we see is but energy made visible to us, the word made manifest. we see the falls are gone right now, but “know” that they are there. They remind us that there is much more than meets the eyes, but also that all really only exists in the now.

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“Why are some afraid of bliss?” she asked as she sat on the centre carpet in the temple before the yoga class. Her face was serene and filled with joy, and she had told of how the winter had transformed her, and now she was able to see and feel the bliss even more. Gone home, prepared to engage, and for a few hours just let herself be, feeling the joy and connection of eternity. I was groggy, a cool damp morning, having just awoken from a long deep nights sleep, the day still coming to me. I smiled inside as she read some quotes and sang, feeling joy and peace inside, but when she said that i thought of some moments where my bliss had turned, like the calm before the storm. For those moments are fleeting, and we can not hang on to the highs they bring, and i remembered times where they had been the calm before the storm, if they were just preparation for me.

Calm falls over, i feel connected to the universe. And for a moment, i feel truly at bliss transported to another world. I have glimpses of god, and faith. I have been feeling that more and more, in waves over that past week or two. And during my last few days at fisherman’s wharf a sense of inner peace. In Yosemite i catch sight of the divine. But then suddenly it shifts.

A feeling of dread and unease rushes up. As if all is to coming crashing down, if this is but a moment that cannot last, for nothing ever does. But i felt a shattering, as if something is about to break. And i wait, hoping it is not is real..little thoughts in the park, conflict, my stuff, my food eaten – remembering an experience that happened at Yosemite Bug two years ago and several others with greater implications for my life. I go back all is fine, but the feeling that this bubble i am in is about to explode, continues to grow and grow, as if all will be swept away from under my feet.

Two years ago i spent almost a week at the Yosemite Bug and went into the park several times. I had been up in the park, a cool winter day, and walked along the river bank by the campground, a path where few were to be seen. The sun came out and i sat down, some areas free of snow, and watched and listened to the river and looked out to the granite mountains and felt a peace inside, something greater possessing me. i felt so still and there i sat with the peace and calm i had been seeking for a while. For i had come up there a nervous wreck, thrown off-balance and disconnected, anxious  not knowing what was next. I had been to the park a few days before i know and walked the grounds of the bug, some of that stress had dropped, but i knew that i needed calm and quiet and peace. And for a little while i was feeling bliss and connected to the world.

Then out of nowhere thoughts came through, fears about returning to the hostel, an agitation, a fight in hand, others partying and pushing me out or taking my food. now the hostel had been quite, it was a weekday and i had a dorm room with one other and to myself the night before, and i did not know why i felt this way. But the thoughts held on, the images and agitation, and though i got up to walk i could not shake them off. They fleeted in and out but i lost that bliss and that peace of mind.

I got back to the hostel that night, feeling nervous and unsure. Imaginary fights battled my mind as i rode back on the bus. I ate dinner, and then went to my bed as if guarding the place. I read for a while, only partially caught in my book, and as 10:30 rolled around, and i was still alone, and i wondered what those thoughts had been all about. I turned off the light and went to bed.

Just after 11pm, the final check in time, the door opened wide, the lights turned on, and a group of people walked inside. I kept my head under the covers, trying to sleep, saying ok i do have roommates, and they will soon be done. the door opened and closed, slamming shut each time, someone stomped their feet, and the voices were both animated and agitated and did not stop, “who is that person?” i heard one say. they left the room, turned out the lights and i got up to take a pee, and fell over several suitcases blocking the bathroom door. I turned on the light and what did i see except bags filled with large bottles of cheap alcohol and high-heeled shoes strewn on the floor. Still i went back to my bed for a while. they came back in one sat on a bed, opened the large bottle and started to joke around. I asked them to be quiet, long after the quiet hours posted on the door, and beside no alcohol allowed in the dorm rooms. One girls said to me its our room and we didn’t expect you here. The office was long closed by that time. We argued back and forth and her friends decided to take the party elsewhere slamming the door hard as they left.

A few hours later, after 1am, the door opened and shut, lights turned off and on, voices were louder, the bottles emptier and i stirred in my bed. Two sat down, drinks in hand and unpacked and poured a drink. i asked them to be quiet. You be quiet the one girl said, i really don’t want you in here. and that set me off . I don’t really remember exactly what transpired except that we ended up in a screaming match. i know i blew, i know i yelled until nothing could be fixed anymore.

The next day i was able to change rooms, to the other that was just the other side of a thin wall, i heard them talking about me, how i was a psychopath and telling all i was crazy and the people in the room i talked to muttered about the noise next door and then the person who screamed aloud and was to be condemned. It had gotten so out of hand.

It sounds like nothing now that i write it, but was one of those moments i carried with me. Did i cause the events to happen because of my thoughts, or had a premonition been granted to me? Was the calm but a temporary reprieve? for the calm and the storm have happened many other times, with much greater implications.

I remember now having the calm and then the internal storm before the journey with my father that would lead me here that time, the journey that left us both ragged and run down. It happened at the end of the journey with Robert, which took us through here. During that last week along the coast i took walks alone, appreciated god’s beauty in the world, felt the clouds lifting from my eyes and the calm returning and caught a glimpse of the devine….and then it all exploded and he was gone. And it happened as well in sierraville, that other place in this mountain range where i spent some time. It was after the Burning Man rush, and i think i had proven my worth, the debates about what i would do and if i were to stay were gone. I felt calm and liked i belonged, but there was still something in the air. One morning i took a walk up the hill behind the baths, and felt a sense of connection come over me, an angel who was there. I hiked to the top of the pools, and the land became eerie and heard another voice, felt a presence of another life, telling me to go away and a shiver ran up my spine. Three days later i left the place. Those stories are long and complicated, but each time i felt a bliss and then a coming storm.

I often wondered if it were a warning of something that was going to occur or if my thoughts created the actions that were to ensue. Still all the times here i had previously been uneasy, off kilter with my mind nervously chattering away. Those moments of clarity that preceded the storms were perhaps a gift to me, a chance to rest, for in those moments i had the answers. the glimpses of the disorder were foreshadowing so that i might prepare how i would respond. In all cases i tried to push the uneasy thoughts away at the same time as feeding on them. not choosing how i would respond, so i was swept away in the storm. But as i write i see how some of the storms were necessary, forcing changes that needed to happen, and sweeping away debris.

And i feel like i have not heard the messages of the stillness or the discord of late. I finish this entry many miles away, and feel like i have made another mistake. A mistake i have made before, a lesson i have not learned and feel that the storm has not yet begun. Or can i trust the bliss, knowing that it will come and go, and listen to all that is being said.

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