Trinity Alps Wilderness, California
As I sat on the granite monolith, simply breathing in and out, I began noticing the sounds, smells, sights and sensations of this mountain world. There was the gentle lapping of lake water on the rocky shore, the green dots of conifer trees on the light gray granitic mountainside, the call of Steller’s jay, northern flicker and red-breasted nuthatch, and the feeling of cool stone on my bare legs. But before this intellectualizing and naming of experience, there was just the experience itself. Before I turned this momentous world (a world in the moment) into something extraordinary that I could capture and consume in words and concepts, there was just the world in all its ordinariness and intensity.
Elisabetta Corrà said, “The extraordinary seeks something beyond reality. Intensity forces us to experience reality…” There was still the lapping of the water against the shore and the birds…
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For Ted, Willard and all the others that made last week so great. Thank you for all that you taught.
There was once a great tree that stood in a forest of other great trees, between the mountains and the sea. The great tree stood tall and proud since the beginning of time until one day it was brought down by men who did not understand. But the great tree stayed, refusing to be taken by men who did not understand for it had another purpose, a gift yet to give.
Many salmon came and went and the great tree remained, waiting and watchful. The men who did not understand busied themselves with taking down the great trees as they destroyed forests ancient beyond imagination.
The great tree waited a long time, silent and still, for a people-who-understood to regain the ground upon which it lay. It waited for those who would ask and not simply take what is not given. Meanwhile many rains came and went.
Thwack, thwack went the sledge and the wedge and the great tree spoke for the first time in many, many moons. Thwack, thwack went the sledge and the wedge again – the great tree spoke again and the people-who-understood listened. Thwack, thwack went the sledge and the wedge and the great tree began to see, its heart beating the rhythm of the world. Singing, singing the great tree began to open, open, opening and the people listened.
The great tree opened like a blossoming flower to reveal the gift within – two perfect halves, each reflecting the whole and promising two canoes and the renewal of the world.
In gratitude I pray that we may all listen and learn to walk in beauty throughout our days.