Saturday, December 20, 2008

the challenge has begun

Isn’t it interesting how sometimes in life we cross paths with those who show us who we truly are?
Maybe I have a tendency to look for it, but I seem to have experienced this many times in my life.
Each person, moment, adventure and time in silence can bring it.
But the best always seems to be when it is brought by another human being, another soul.
That is also when it can be the most confusing as well.
All the richer the experience, I say.

I’ve got a long winter ahead of me which is going to demand a lot of inner discipline and firing up some sort of excitement and desire to fulfill some goals.
Goals have not really been my thing. I’ve lived a rather Taoist path thus far, having a loose set of definitions as to what I am wanting my life to be. It is wearing a bit thin at times. Feeling like it has been misplaced – that there are some things in which vision and assertiveness need to be expressed.
I stumbled upon Hasrat Inyat Khan’s book on Mastery while in Denver.
It’s helping quite a bit. Putting the next piece in that puzzle. In a way, it is a guidebook to asserting and bringing forth – mastering – the gifts we have been given in order to do God’s work in the world.
For those more secularly minded and not comfortable with the word God, substitute the word “Life” or think of the cosmic energy which makes up the entire known existence. Whatever works best as the metaphor for you. Just don’t simply dismiss because of the use of the name God.
I’ve always had a problem with this implementation.
I have my waves of creativity, but very, very rarely the desire to be assertive about sharing them. Sure, I will share openly with the friends around me, but to be ‘commercially’ assertive, to participate in the ways of the world, that is where the problems lie.
So – this winter, the big idea is to overcome that – to learn how to be more assertive.

Sometimes I realize that I have for some odd reason convinced myself that I do not have permission or am not invited into the big play. I’m still trying to figure out what convinced me of this, how this notion got started.
Sometimes it turns me into a recloose. I become a bit like a ghost.
I’m not sure what to make of it.

Well, I started out writing about people we cross paths with that kind of “wake us up.’
I feel lucky to have one of those people near.
It keeps me on my toes. It gives me the spark to move forward with positive, life affirming changes.
It also leaves me sorting out my perceptions and feeling – what am I really feeling about each issue that comes up about my Nafs?
How should I face them, move through them, find peace and prosperity?

There are particular struggles that occur time and again in my life. One of the most prominent is the tension between being in Agapé or Eros. What kind of Love am I experiencing, meant to express and feel? Why is it that Love most often moves to the realm of Agapé in my life?
Am I simply not being assertive in this realm too? Do I purposefully move myself in that direction?
The desire to have someone by my side is tremendous. At the same time, it is so very selective. It is not as if I am desperate or simply want that situation.
It is that I want that soul walking by my side, in person, sharing experiences, growing, laughing and crying and experiencing the infinity of life.
Yet that other path is always tugging at me, confusing me, but I am not meant for asceticism.

It is truly going to be a challenging winter. It’s up to me whether or not that is a bad or good thing. Time to rise to the challenge to use the gifts. To celebrate them and to celebrate life, even in the quietest of times.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

winter has come

so, my first winter in Boulder UT has officially started.
We got our first snow early in the week and it keeps coming.
Quite a sight for the eyes to behold.

The town is now so quiet.
people are gone. no tourists.
people not leaving their homes.
it is a time of reflection and inner work.
of creative projects.
of reconfiguring my life from the inside out.
this is the kind of time that reminds me of how complex i really am.
of how bored i can become by the simple.
yet at the same time i find great peace in the land here.

there is so much inside wanting to come out.
but it is not for this post, but for something or someone else.

here are a few pictures from early in the week before heavier snowfall.
more pictures to come soon....

my backyard

winter vibes.

serene

a dusting of snow over lower calf creek canyon

lower calf creek canyon

part of Boulder

lower boulder

dry hollow

dry hollow

Monday, November 24, 2008

music...

So i figured it is near the end of the year and time to compile a list of favorites.
I did not buy new music for quite a long time due to the thriftiness accompanying being a national park volunteer.
due to that, this is not going to be a list of releases solely in 2008, but rather, a list of favorite albums since I left Chicago in October 2007 - that is , what has come into my possession within that timeframe and been released at least close to within that same time.
here's the list in no particular order:

Tunng - Good Arrows
Burnt Friedman - First Night Forever
Swell Session - Swell Communications
Amorphous Androgynous - The Peppermint Tree
Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
Mercury Rev - Snowflake Midnight
Adam Franklin - Bolts of Melody
Benoit Pioulard - Temper
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
Syclops - I've Got My Eye On You

other heavy spins:
The Books: The Lemon of Pink
Animal Collective - Sung Tongs
Plaid - Spokes
Rollerskate Skinny - Horsedrawn Wishes
Caribou - Up In Flames
Swervedriver - both Mezcal Head and Raise
Mercury Rev - The Secret Migration
Corker/Conboy - Radiant Idiot
Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue

sorry there are not links. i am lazy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ragged Cloak of Colors

The search,
Ah, yes! The search
Yet what are we searching for?
Better still, what am I searching for?
Confounding
Confusing
All around amusing!

A tear shed here and there,
But it is but a passing moment
In which I care
About that pain, that confusion
That all around illusion.

Are you confused too?
Say yes and we can laugh
Out loud at this holy mess!
Stumbling as we may
Hoping for that day
When a light shines on
That target – that destination
That place which we seek.

What is it you expect and see
Within me?
Are you sure you have
Sight to see?
Or maybe you mistake my moment
For something more
And try to keep score?

To do so is to commit yourself
To some misunderstanding
Of my meaning
Of my path
Of my temporary plight.

To read into it without asking
Now, that is a folly of which I must laugh!
For that laughter burns away the anger
Which I feel towards you
Wanting me to fit some role
Some outside definition
Of who I am.

I take these ragged pieces of
Experience good and bad
And rename them,
Reclaim them
And weave them into something
Not unlike my own homemade
Dervish cloak.
My mistakes and my grandest acts
Are equals – all adding a wider palette
Of colors to this garment.
How is it that you cannot gaze upon them
When it is I whom has to wear them!
Imagine it!
I am this being
Due to those actions
This living which I have done
Enriches my understanding.

Casting judgement on this from
Some high seat of simplicity
Will not do!
Walk by my side and see for yourself
How my eyes have been opened wider
With each and every ragged bit.
With each and every glorious jewel.

You will see how all too human
both you and I are!
Playing, praying, stumbling
Rising, crying, and laughing.

So let me digest.
Let it come to rest
And trust in this
My ability to cope
To grow
To know the fullness of life.

If you just once
Let go of that judgement,
That need to control
To be safe
You just might see that side
Of me which I refuse to hide
So why hide from it?

I’m just a simple soul,
Complex in color,
Trying to walk the path to the light.
Let me bring forth your compassion
I’ll show you mine without hesitation.

Those barriers do neither you nor I
One ounce of favor.
So let them disintegrate
And relax into this.
It’s just another color
Of my cloak.

hafiz

SOME FILL WITH EACH GOOD RAIN

There are different wells within your heart.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far too deep for that.

In one well
You have just a few precious cups of water,
That "love" is literally something of yourself,
It can grow as slow as a diamond
If it is lost.

Your love
Should never be offered to the mouth of a
Stranger,
Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.

There are different wells within us.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far, far too deep
For that.


---------

ghazal 323

Laden with my ignorant ties
Ashamed of the courageous and wise
May a hidden hand help me rise
Or else madness becomes my prize.
Of stars and fate ask of my eyes
That watch the havens until sunrise.
I kiss the cup that me apprise
Of the world’s turnings and its disguise.
Praise of wine-sellers’ reprise
Praise of God’s bounty, why despise.
Grateful for my power and size
Unable to deal in deceit and lies.
Drunk like Hafiz, till my demise,
Hopeful of that angel’s enterprise.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wallace Stevens

a few poems by Wallace Stevens
(who was thankfully brought to my attention by Ellie)

Final Solilioquy of the Interior Paramour

Light the first light of evening
In which we rest and, for small reason, think
The world imagined is the ultimate good.

This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of indifferences, into one thing:

Within that single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
A light, a power, the miraculous influence.

Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.

Within its vital boundary, in the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one...
How high that highest candle lights the dark.

Out of this same light, out of central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.

-------

A High-Toned Old Christian Woman

Poetry is the supreme fiction, madame.
Take the moral law and make a nave of it
And from the nave build a haunted heaven. Thus,
The conscience is converted into palms,
Like windy citherns hankering for hymn.
We agree in principle. That's clear. But take
The opposing law and make a peristyle,
And from the peristyle project a masque
beyond the planets. Thus, our bawdiness,
Unpurged by epitaph, indulged at last,
Is equally converted into palms,
Squiggling like saxaphones. And palm for palm,
Madame, we are where we began. Allow,
Therefore, that in the planetary scene
Your disaffected flagellants, well-stuffed,
Smacking their muzzy bellies in parade,
Proud of such novelties of the sublime,
Such tink and tank and tunk-a-tunk-tunk,
May, merely may, madame, whip from themselves
A jovial hullabaloo among the spheres.
This will make widows wince. But fictive things
Wink as they will. Wink most when widows wince.

Monday, November 17, 2008

new hikes

I was lucky enough to finally take my first hike on Boulder Mountain thanks to my wonderful friend Kandis. see her blogpost about it here including pics.
We hiked around the King's Pasture area.
a couple of days later, Kandis, Jess, Elizabeth and myself hiked out along Haymaker Bench to the south side of the big bluff/ledge that is between the main bench area and Boulder Creek. We found a route up to the top of the Bench but since the sun was setting, all of us but Jess backtracked and he hotfooted it over and down.
I plan on making my own way to the top eventually and exploring a bit up there, possibly doing some camping up there too.
anyway, here are some pics...

Boulder Mountain:

Kandis...
kandis

layers

jawbones

lake

bent

root spirit

Haymaker Bench:

view south over escalante river

top of 'the gallumph'

ridges

Sunday, November 02, 2008

365 review

tonite i went back and looked at the pictures that i took for the 365 days group on flickr back in late '06 and early '07.I did not finish the entire 365 days, but did make it over 200. the year of pics was interrupted by my camping/road trip through utah and the 4 corners area.
it is incredible how life changes, how we go through so much
i am amazed at how melodramatic i could get. I feel so much more balanced these days.
I've been a very lucky man in this life and have managed to bring some really great changes into my life over the past few years.
looking at those pics solidified it for me.
it is strange to look back at that life in Chicago.
I feel like i have matured so much since then.
some examples:
day 11 of 365

Day 123 of 365 days
you can check out the whole photo set here
and all of my photo sets here
tons and tons of hiking pics, graf pics, random city pics, life pics, etc....

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Night Sky

The night sky overflowing
Pouring forth its milky stars
I gaze in wonder
Such bliss
This existence
Pouring into my Soul!

I weep for those moments
In which I had forgotten!
Alas, my heart swells
Like the sweetest overripe fruit.
The skin splitting and
Dripping with the sweet nectar
Of the Divine.

How did I ever lose sight of this?
Ah, 'twas so I could return and enjoy it
That much more!

The earthly guise of That Love
Flowers right here beside and inside of me
To have looked elsewhere was to be a fool.
For it is right here,
Reminding me
That all I need is to open
And be the
Love Love Love!

I can feel the warmth
Of that Loving Embrace
That Gift one cannot ask for
Which simply presents itself
In another Soul
Whom one is blessed enough
To share a moment,
even one glance!

There is not enough thanks in the world for that!

Yet I bow graciously,
Knowing,
Feeling the Divine Spark
Ignite,
Pass between us
And instill the warmth
Of that eternal blaze
In my Heart.

The thought of a cold winter fades.
There is no shortage of warmth here!
So, come sit by my fire,
And discover that it is not mine,
but Yours!
I'm just the hearth!
A spark of it has merely jumped here
So that You can witness
That which tends to hide in the self.

We'll tell stories of
The lived life
Ecstatic becoming
And sorrows of the heart.
Healing, Loving, Exploring.

Then, in that unmovable,
Unshakable silence,
We will take rest with
Divine smiles across our faces,
Knowing, that for a moment
We've touched Heaven.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Desert artwork

this first one is one i finished in early summer here in Boulder.
it is 16x20 and done with water mixable oils on stretched canvas.
seems to me to be the desert trickster - a little surrealist coyote spirit.

the desert trickster

this next one is the painting i am currently working on.
I am inspired by all of the faces i see in the rocks out here.
this is a kind of surrealist take on a navajo sandstone petrified dune thing.
lots of work to do still.
same dimensions and mediums as above painting

not finished

(note: the second painting did not see fruition and was painted over)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Farid

a few poems by Farid-U-Din-Attar
from "Fifty Poems of Attar" translated by Kenneth Avery and Ali Alizadeh

-

Love of the Beloved burned me like a candle, head to foot.
My soul-bird burned like a moth, wing and feather.

The fire of her love smoked my heart like aloes;
then her fire consumed both the smoke and the aloes.

A coal from her face fell into the desert:
both worlds burned like kindling from her ember.

I was to offer my soul to the soul-mate.
the Beloved outsmarted me; I got burnt.

There's nothing left of my blood or flesh, but ash;
the zealous fire burned me altogether.

When I scattered the ashes upon her street
the blaze of disdain struck and charred the remains.

So I said: I've been reduced to particles.
She said: That may be, but all particles shall burn.

In Attar's state of neither being nor not being,
neither doubt nor trust, the pious and the infidel both burn.

-


I got drunk at the tavern last night;
howling, dancing, drinking the wine-dregs.

As my heart's fervour topped the flagon
the fire of my heart brought it to the boil.

The Master of the Tavern heard my noise
and said: Enter, cloak wearing boy!

I told him: Master, how do you know me?
He said: Don't speak of yourself. Be quiet.

Take up the faith of the tavern swindlers.
Throw off your cloak and your prayer-mat.

Become the gambler, the thug, the dervish;
yell out abuse among the hoodlums.

Shed the ascetics' purity with scorn;
drink the lovers' wine-dregs with pleasure.

Tear the mask of metaphors from your eyes;
take the cotton of reproach out of your ears.

You aren't you while you're at peace with yourself.
Rip down your veil and wrangle with yourself.

The depth of your heart is an endless world.
face the direction of that world attentively.

Attar's treasure for one hundred souls.
How much would you pay for it, jewel-seller?

the upward climb

So, today has been productive so far.
Paycheck to the bank...then setting the stage.
Ordered a bunch of art supplies - canvas panels, acrylic gel medium for my sand art, stretched canvas, a box of pastels, pastel paper pad.... gotta make sure i have supplies for the creative season, ya know.
Then i went on over to amazon to see what i could find to help with research for my book.
One of the main threads of my book will be basing it off of the 7 valleys in Farid - Uddin Attar's Conference of the Birds. I discovered that there is a newer rendition of those valleys called The Seven Valleys by Baha'u'llah. then i found some pretty promising teleportation research materials.
maybe this book will have a little more hard science in it than i thought it would.
it feels good to be getting things lined up for some projects.
Now i want to actually do some creating today too.
what i am not sure yet.
but i will figure it out.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

questions

so, what exactly am i doing?
over the last several days i have been asking myself this and having to look back and face some questions that i have yet to really answer.
What was my real reason for moving to Utah?
The original trip i took which brought me here enraptured me.
This landscape is truly marvelous beyond belief.
but i have been caught up in it too much.
Hiking has become obsession, and while thoroughly enjoyable, I'm afraid i have let it move me away from my creative side a bit too much.

I've always had difficulties focusing on projects.
I am great at manifesting ideas, but putting them into action can be a different thing altogether.
some of you know of the book project. the idea has existed for a couple of years now and i have all of 652 words written. not good.
I have not created art in months, nor music. one song at Arches (plus a remix of it) and one song here in Boulder.
I started a new medium with my art at Arches, but have not continued it here.yet.
though i have painted one and a half paintings since coming to boulder.
the slow season is now upon us out here, and i will have much more time for these things, yet i find myself not really feeling i have the proper workspace to do them in.

There has been a great amount of escape involved in all of this.
Escape from Chicago - from a job that i did not like and did me very little good, from relationship/friendship patterns that caused inner turmoil and unanswered things, from high financial burdens.
but there has been a great cost as well.
until very recently, i'd been pretty much alone and on my own here in Boulder. it was not until a week ago that i even stepped into the house of another Boulderian.
a sad sad thing.
The last few weeks though, have brought a great friendship that i cherish. yet i need to make sure that i do not overcompensate for the time alone.
don't get me wrong, time spent with this wonderful new compadre is time extremely well spent. i love it.
but I'm still feeling that something big is missing here for me.
It could be the uneasiness I have about my own creativity.
there is an element of missing the types of psychological, philosophical and spiritual discussion i had in Chicago as well.
those are the very things that drive me and i thrive on, and to not have that kind of connection here is proving difficult. it is not that i believe i will not find it here, but that i have not yet found it.
I feel it is so great that people here are so 'of the earth' yet that is only half of what i need. I'm also a man of the 'quantum world' of the 'great evolution'
the more i've found my own awareness and become more critical in my thinking and feeling, the more i have found myself outside of any particular cultural group.

I remember back in the late nineties when Stacie and I met with this goofy 'monk' woman named Bovany. She told us some new agey stuff that was interesting yet a bit full of fluff. when she had my birthtime (sidenote: when another guy did my chart, i remember him giving me the strangest look and saying he had not really seen a chart like it before also said my mid thirties would be a time of intense change - which they were and have been) and looked at my chart, she mentioned how i am one that is meant to connect- i am inbetween. and that is truly how i feel a times. there is such an art to learning how to help people connect, to connect ideas, philosophies, etc. it can be rather taxing. it is one of the few things in life that i feel obsessed about - at least the ideas and beliefs part.
that is supposedly the reason for writing my book. i can;t seem to find a forum for myself outside of that.
anything online just gets me riled up in ways i do not feel are healthy because posting on threads just gets out of control and most do not take the time to really read what the words say and just react. discussion boards get heated.
sometimes it is very difficult to be one who thinks and speaks outside of the box.
people tend to not want to hear it.
living in a place where i can't really get a lot of feedback doesn't help when it comes to dealing with debate and such either. there is simply not the discourse that is needed for me to be able to refine and practice that kind of interaction. and i do not really want to do it on the web.
i would much rather do it in person. there is too much to body language and intonation that is not expressed in written words.
(yet i think about writing a book - crazy , eh?)

I guess i am feeling a bit lost.
I can;t really get a vision for what is to come. Would there be another place i would like to live? if so, how to make that happen? how to have the funds needed? getting a new job in this current economy?
Boulder has been able to provide what i need to survive without any surplus. a lot of that is due to having to replace things this year - cellphone - car, computer.
Heck i think i've only made about 7 grand so far this year.

with things winding down here in Boulder, i simply wonder how winter will be.
it is going to be a test. the 3 restaurants close (not that i go to them often), the seasonal people leave and it pretty much closes up. fund will dry out too - as i will be down to about 20 to 25 hours of work a week.
that makes for great time to work on those creative projects though.
I simply wish that i felt inspired towards them.
it is as if i have finally come to some existentialist nihilistic point that i swore i would never come to. i am having trouble finding any real meaning or purpose behind any of these activities. entertaining myself with them is just not enough.
i suppose this means that i am at a blank slate as well and can create whatever meaning i want to.
i'm just feelin kind of.... stuck.
feeling i need to visit a larger place as well. i have not been in a place bigger than Moab (5,000) since march. and before that it had been since october.

hard to believe i have been out here for a year already.

I am sure i will figure it all out, i always do somehow, at least enough to get me goin until the next questions arise.

i feel as if i have to temper myself too much here.i can't be myself full blown. i think it would scare people- or maybe, for the first time in my life, make enemies or people who really do not like me (not that i do things to be liked, but in a town of 200, better to have a good relationship with most of the town - especially in UT)
truth is that i find that the kind of thought i espouse and practice is not necesarily welcome anywhere, especially in an election year like this one.
I've developed a very low tolerance for political self righteousness on any side.
I personally do not think people are really prepared for what is to come, a change that will be beyond belief and will have nothing to do with politics. another reason for my book - and no i am not new agey about some damn 2012 we are all going to the center of the galaxy crap. plus i am one of those batards that would refuse to go and stay behind to help those that could not make it due to their lack of spiritual evolution or whatever. funny how those that think they are going find that their spiritual evolution that earns them the right includes abandoning the rest of humanity. sounds a bit selfish if you ask me and not very holy.
but i digress...
I've got monday off and i've gotta find something good to do with it.
too bad i have no ideas beside 'hike'

I've got a Rumi book on the way this week, so that will be good medicine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

accept

A door
A door
Always a door
Where does it lead?
So many moments spent on the threshold
Alas!
I walk through
Once more!

That dark hallway
Fills with light
Upon my first step
How did I doubt?
How could I?
When every single step
Has brought more than before!

It matters not where that doorway leads
Open places of light
Or dark caverns
My torch burns bright and
I bring light there!
Everywhere!

To grasp is to lose
The choice is there
To be awake
Or to snooze
Which will it be?
I ask myself reflectively.

Aha!
What is this?
Some experience of Bliss
Tinged with desire’s despair
One more thing to overcome
In this lair.

A labyrinth of intrigue
Of questions unanswered
Expanding contractions
Will I remain centered?

Awareness teases me
As I ache for that
Un-namable
Infinite feeling
Which only comes when one lets go
And walks with The Friend
Hand in hand.

The transient, the here-now
Reflecting that infinity
Reminding me of
The Great One
The taste of Love
Which permeates all things
If only we have eyes to see,
Ears to hear,
Skin to touch.

Nothing is excepted
All inclusive being
How can there be poison
When The Friend is All Things?
Ah, the choices
The questions,
The dreams and desires
How they lead to suffering-
That razor which cuts away
All of the dross.
To embrace that which brings
Suffering, change,
Questions and complications
Leads straight into the storm
Of evolving expression.

How can I deny that which
Propels me into the deepest realms?
My inner complexity confounds me in
A world of simplicity.

The desert winds ripping the unneeded flesh
From my bones
Exposing my soul,
The core of my being
Do you have eyes to see?
or are you simply another somnambulist
Who chooses the shore instead of the ocean deep?

Does my mixture of metaphors confuse?
Confound?
So be it!
For I am everywhere and all times!
Awakening in every moment from my walk of slumber.
Over and over
As my humanity dances
With that divine spark
In a heliacal dance upwards
Towards the Heavens.

Such a beautiful
Bittersweet inner torment
To behold beauty beyond compare
Held at arm’s length
Able to observe, to drink it all in,
Yet not to commune
In the fullest degree.

I ask too much of this world,
Yet never enough
The Fire!
Let it burn all I see and touch
with It’s Golden Light
transforming the base into
the refined.

Everywhere I Look
I taste,
I breathe,
It fills me

I cannot deny this beautiful gift
This life I have been given.
Gifts have been trampled, abandoned
And dismissed
NO MORE!
The Friend’s Divine Wine flows forth from me!
It matters not if a single soul
Does see
The cork has been removed
Richness flows forth
And I will fill every cup
Which is held beneath my stream.

Simply take notice.
Come, partake,
For I cannot hold it in another day!
I shall not fit into the expected,
The common,
The veil set forth by so many men.
Tis the gift I have been given
And I accept.
Do you?

current obsessions

gonna try to regularly update y'all on my tastes or what i am ingesting at least...

Currently reading/just read and going to read soon:

Nine Kinds of Naked by Tony Vigorito

Paul of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
River of Gods by Ian McDonald>
The Garden of Heaven - Poems of Hafiz (Dover Thrift Edition)


currently listening to:

Caribou - Up in Flames & The Milk of Human Kindness
The Books - The Lemon of Pink
The Politik - s/t
Swervedriver - Mezcal Head
The Verve - Forth

other obsessions and pleasurable things:
hanging with my great friend Kandis,
hiking the north end of Calf Creek Canyon,
exploring Dry Hollow,
developing creative ideas for winter.

thoughts

so, i may actually try to post a few more pics on this blog...update people on hikes and such.
I've pretty much been posting all of that stuff over at Flickr, but it wouldn't hurt to put a few random photos or hiking stories on here too.

I can feel the fall changes coming on and it feels sooo goood....

here are a few random pics from recent hikes:

on a saddle between dry hollow and boulder creek
more hoodoo action
volcanic toadstool in dry hollow
volcanic toadstool
iron concretion capped hoodoo in dry hollow
hoodoo
side canyon east of calf creek canyon looking towards the escalante river
looking towards the entrance of the canyon
ol' sleepy head in side canyon off of escalante river
sleepy head

Saturday, October 11, 2008

inverted seasons

the high desert
canyons of solid sand
silence
bringing one to gaze
at an internal mirror.

solitude
disconnected from the world
in ways unexpected and
liberating.

loneliness sprouts it's head above the dry ground
once and again
reminding me of the importance
of connections...
...they come randomly
and unexpected
a reversal of seasons-
fall comes and with it
a meeting of souls

a cornucopia of overflowing compliments
i feast as if it is my last meal
have i been starving all of this time
and simply not noticing?

many things falling away
making room for more
problems come and fade away
money thrown out the door
yet what is this i see come in
a wealth beyond compare
replacing gifts with things earned
walking a razor of have and have not
placing value where it deserves to be placed.
not simply where it is desired.

my inner self fruits in winter
in the cold months
after being basked in the sun of summer
out on the hot slickrock slopes
and deep canyons
in those places of silence
where only the wind, the sound of the avians
skittering lizards, my own footsteps
my breathing and beating heart
dance across my eardrums.
a gentle rhythm nurturing all of that
creation growing inside.
letting those thoughts float
in the background of my subconscious mind
knitting together their own stories.

they are sprouting
as the cold blustery winds of fall move in.
with only a moons phase or two
until the time is ripe
and the fruits are available to be expressed
in this physical world.

it only feels right that a new source of support
reveals itself at its proper time
unexpected and feeding my fire.
with simple words, a deeply felt look,
a wonderful smile.

the desert is a wonderful place, my friends,
if one is willing to face ones self
without most of the distractions of modern life.
one has to face it all out here.
and one has to face nothing at all.
a beautiful contradictory examination of life.

spend some time in a place like this,
and all of a sudden the absurdity of most of civilization
can't be ignored.

I'm glad i took this risk.
this new life is rich beyond belief,
and so am I.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

rebuilding

So, the last post was a bit of a downer I guess.
i personally did not see it that way, i was simply taking account of the happenings of the earlier part of the year.
I'm one who does not really fear loss or trouble. over the years i have learned very well through experience how these things always make room for new life and new opportunities.
to be too attached to things is what causes the strife, and i have learned to be somewhat detached, not that i do not care, but that i am always coming to a deeper, fuller understanding of the nature of change.

so...to spin positive on the things that have happened so far this year...

- I'm living in an amazing place - beautiful and relatively stress free except for typical self created small town drama (created by others) that i tend to ignore.
- my laptop breaking allowed me to prove to myself that i could make the repair myself, and i did!
- losing my cellphone allowed me to get the one i really wanted in the first place, a rugged phone that is more fitting to my location and lifestyle.
- the dodge neon dying allowed me to get the first car i have owned myself since high school, an 87 AMC Eagle, which can get me to more places that i wish to go out here with its high clearance and 4 wheel drive capabilities.
- just recently started a second job at Hills & Hollows, the local general store, which is providing the opportunity to meet many many more of the locals, as well as interact more with tourists coming through.
- looks like i will be living in one of the lodge rooms for winter (rent free) since it will be really slow and there will not be many hours of work available.
this will give me plenty of time to create: art, photos, my book, etc. in preparation for next season.
- even though i am not moving to Portland with my wonderful friend Blair, I am lucky enough to have an ever growing and meaningful friendship with her which i simply thrive on! Truly an amazing and brilliant woman.

i am sure there are plenty of other things that i could come up with that are positive...
but heck, the point is to enjoy and live them, not to catalog them.

I am going to attempt to post more often 9as i have said so many times before)
maybe it will help me get more into the habit of writing and getting started on my book.
time will tell....

Sunday, August 03, 2008

trials of summer '08 (deathrider RIP)

This summer has been quite challenging.
So far though, I have managed to keep my head up and not fall into depression, well, maybe a slight one off and on, but nothing a good hike won’t burn out of my system.

It seems that the world of possessions and finances wants to challenge me as much as it can.
Working in a small town in the middle of no-where in southern utah makes for low wages and not many hours. Doing housekeeping at a lodge is alright, but not very rewarding…
Going into that from 6 months of volunteering at a national park does not help monetarily either.
The troubles started a few months ago when Sierra Trading Post accidentally doubled one of my orders and sent me into a negative balance spin.
Add to it that I have to drive 30 miles to get groceries…
Then about a month ago I lost my cell phone and had to buy a new one.
I’d never lost or damaged a phone before, so I did not have insurance.
Once again a small (les than $4) overdraft sent me into a tailspin that cost me a few hundred.
Then on July 31st, my car decided that the timing belt needed to break, which trashed the engine – DEAD.
Luckily it happened close enough to my Moab on a trip over here and I have AAA.
So i managed to at least get into town and a friend of mine is willing to drive me back to Boulder.
Now comes the challenge of having almost no money, no car , and being in nowheresville and having to hitch rides to get groceries. Luckily I am able to stock up here and will not have to go shopping for food for awhile.

All of this has made it impossible to save up any money for a future move, back to moab for winter or elsewhere, and I am having a difficult time deciding exactly what to do with myself for winter.
At the same time, it is definitely throwing me back into what it is I really NEED to be doing – writing, making art, music, etc.
Not having a vehicle for awhile will definitely keep me from being able to go out hiking., so I will need to use that time for other things. It won’t be a matter of choice, but necessity.

I think one of the most difficult things about this car situation is that it happened on the way over to visit my wonderful friend Blair while she is stopping thru on her way to her move to Portland. I have not been able to see her yet and since her car is completely full of her belongings, she is not able to give me a ride into town or to a trailhead or what have you for the plans that we had made.
So, everything, the most simple things, are becoming challenges.
Yet I am not panicked or tense – at least not enough to make me feel ill. Ha
I trudge on thru the challenges.
What else is there to do?
At times I have felt like sobbing over the past few days, but I haven’t.
I’ve held it together.
Not that a good cry would not release some pressure, mind you.
I just hope that my friend pulls through and takes me back home and does not flake out on me. I doubt he will, but one never knows…
So today is another day of waiting to see what happens, living in the moment, and trusting in life.
Somehow it will all work out.
It’s got to, right?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

warped historical perspective part 1

how long must a way of life be practiced in order for it to become a tradition?

what makes me ask this question at this time?

a combination of things -
I'm currently rereading the Dune Chronicles which places a huge emphasis on tradition and adaptation.
Do we follow ways of being by rote - by being culturally programmed?
or is there the possibility of a greater freedom of vision and adaptation?
what are the potential outcomes of these differing views?

I am going to attempt to put into words some of my thoughts about the subject...thoughts which are constantly evolving, which should clue you in a little bit on which 'side' of this discussion i currently reside.

As a species, traditions definitely can have a positive function.
They pass down information, ways of dealing with the world and our interconnections
with each other.
They work marvelously on a local and regional basis, most likely being originally created in accord with a balanced relationship with the local biome.
examples...how to plant crops to grow with the regional climate, how to relate to the local flora and fauna in order to MAINTAIN a symbiotic relationship which ensures the proliferation and continuation of a sustainable living system.
When tradition flourishes in this regard, it could be considered to be of evolutionary advantage.

There are a few areas where tradition runs into trouble though, where it becomes a process of devolution.
One instance is when it becomes steeped in abstract thought - thought and belief not rooted in the physical world.
In these instances, human concepts tend to over-rule symbiotic relationships, and Taker relationships (to use a Daniel Quinn term)evolve with the biome.
These type of relationships tend to be rooted in a psychology that is akin to parasitism and mimic the activity of cancer cells.
Gluttony and Greed tend to dominate this way of being and inevitably lead to deeper problems such as famine, plague and the like.

This way of being also has a tendency to want to enforce itself on a universal basis rather than existing in a regional form, ignoring local biomes and symbiotic relationships in preference to 'easily controlled' (not really) monoculture.
Whn one believes that things should be similar everywhere, not only are they creating a psychologically and physically violent culture, they are at war with existence and evolution itself.
Evolution has a tendency towards diversification, not homogenization.
The less diversity there is, the less likely the system is capable of adaptation to change, and change is the one and only constant.

Now, do not think that i am all for an 'anything goes' attitude. There are certain cultural values and traditions which reinforce evolutionary advantageous traits.
it matters not whether they are physical , mental, spiritual or emotional, all of these things are of great importance.
to deny any one attribute of our existence is to handicap ourselves.

Many times I have come across people claiming that their way of life is a tradition which cannot be questioned even though that 'tradition' lacks longevity.
This is where i notice an extremely warped sense of time and history.

I am going to use a local example from where i currently live - one that could easily put my physical wellbeing in danger if it was spoken within earshot of a group of members of this 'tradition'.
Ranching. specifically in the Escalante Canyons area.
There was an immense uproar from locals back in 1996 when Bill Clinton passed an act that created the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and declared that millions of acres of wilderness in Southern Utah were to be protected.
People in the local town of Escalante even hung effigies in the street and vandalized cars of 'greenies' during this period.
I myself have even met with the blank wall of attempting to say hello to a rancher while filling up next to him at a local gas station. why? probably because i had my National Park Service Volunteer hat in my back window.
These ranchers claim that their traditional way of life is being attacked by outsiders.
Yes, some outsiders have changed the way the land is dealt with in this area, but with good reason, a reason that should not be ignored, and by many of the ranchers doing so, they prove that their relationship to this landscape is decidedly not in balance or sacred, but rather that of the Taker variety.
There are still grazing easements in the Monument, and for part of the year, the ranchers are allowed to let their cattle graze in some of the canyons and flats of the monument.
Any hiker which has traversed any of the areas where these easements exist can tell you that it has a devastating effect.
Droppings are everywhere, making water that is naturally rather clean and in many cases safe to drink straight from the creeks undrinkable without filtration do to Giardia introduced by the cattle droppings. And that is just one aspect.
The cattle also tear the heck out of the cryptobiotic soil crust, the lifeblood of desert soil- a lichen, fungus, algae symbiotic relationship which holds the soil together, absorbs moisture during the brief and rare rains, and puts nitrogen into the soil. One step on this crust will kill it and it takes many years to recover. older crust can take up to 100 years to reach the growth level it was at.

Other problems exist with the destruction of young plant life, such as Cottonwood trees. Cattle have been eating all of the young shoots of the next generation of trees, so there is a complete generation of them missing in many locations.
They also will not eat sage, so sage stands are growing wider and grasses are disappearing.
a good book to read about some of these problems as well as the feel of the Escalante Canyons is Singing Stone by Thomas Fleischner.

While the ranchers would consider their way of life 'traditional', it is important to realize that white folks have only been settled in this region for a bit over a hundred years (200 tops).
When viewed in terms of human history, that hundred years or so is just a very small blip in time.
The ranching way of life is an IMPORTED way of being which is not based or developed in balance with the local biome.
This area was once heavily occupied by aboriginals, usually referred to as Anasazi.
Chert chippings and work stations abound in this area, and my home is less than a quarter mile from the Anasazi State Park, where there is a 36 room collection of ruins on display.
The Anasazi did NOT ranch. They were hunters and gatherers and possibly did a small amount of farming.
Boulder is lucky enough to be the first town downstream from Boulder Mountain, which makes for a decent water supply for being in the high desert. There are many irrigation channels (small man made streams) which bring water into town and onto ranches.
I've noticed that many do not practice the type of water conservation that should be practiced due to this supply of water.




If we are to survive and thrive as a species which is in balance with our surroundings, we must evolve our understanding of tradition and cultural programming.


to be continued...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

short and simple

One thing i have noticed reccurring over and over is the fact that Europeans do not tip.
well, i know it cannot be made as a blanket statement, but it seems to be true for the majority of Europeans.
I know that many people would make an excuse, that they do not have to tip within their own culture, so they do not know better.
my question is this: how many Europeans complain that Americans are dense or stupid or ignorant and do not behave in a proper cultural manner when visiting European countries?
and if it is true that many Europeans think that way, then why would they ever believe that they have the right to come to another country and behave in teh very way which they complain about?
Isn't it their responsibility to uphold local customs?
if there is one pet peave I have developed in my life it is when people disallow others a form of behavior or way of being and then perform or live in said manner themselves.
Considering the current exchange values, one would think they could spare a buck or two in order to show some appreciation for the service given.

I remember hearing Alex Jones (who I am not exactly a fan of) ranting about how America is turning into a 3rd world service economy designed to serve Europe and the NWO elite.
Whether true or not, the fact that we are turning more into a service economy, mixed with the economic 'recession' and fewer Americans taking vacations this year, pretty much means that those working in the service industry which serves vacationers and tourists in general will be suffering.
The ratio of European Tourists is rising and if the tourist industry is relying on their money more than ever, that pretty much means that the people working in tourist industry jobs should expect to make less in tips this season.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

powerbook blues

just as i am feeling the urge to write, have a ton more pics to post...
the dc power input to my powerbook gives out.
ouch.
so here i sit typing away on my roomie's pc...
my internet presence will be down for a bit as i figure things out, but i'll be around.
lots on my mind and there will be tons to post i am sure.
such an inteesting spring.
who knew simplicity would be so interesting?
ha!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

one month along

so, it's almost hard to believe that i have now been in Boulder Utah for a month!
I've gotta tell ya, at times i get a little cabin fever...there's not really any social life here, at least not that i have found yet.
It's been a time of change and clearing the slate in many ways.

Plans for fall changed... Portland? probably not.
I'm thinking it would probably be for the best anyway, as I have the high desert in my blood and even with the lack of spoiled urban availability of things and experiences, I am thinking that i prefer the ability to drive a few miles and walk out into the middle of wilderness.

So many people, many of my best friends included, get caught up in the need to make a name for themselves or be producing in some sense - whether it be art, personality, monetary or career success....
to tell the truth, I am simply not interested.
maybe I should explain in a little more depth.

I thoroughly enjoy creating, whether it be art, music, thought patterns, ideas, lifestyle, etc.
yet i find myself not interested in accolades.
I don't create in order to obtain acceptance or to make a mark.
I invest in the sheer joy and experience of the act of creation.
it does not matter what other people think or feel about it.
It is an are of personal exploration and growth.
This, to me, is true freedom.

Do not get me wrong, it is not that i do not pay heed to how my creative aspects affect others, I attempt to be as much in tune with that as possible. i consider it to be a kind of feedback loop.
maybe i am actually a bit scientific about it - which would surprise many.
i consider it all a part of evolution of the personal sort.
psychological, spiritual, and heck, maybe physical too, who knows?


I've had a lot rolling thru my head over the last week, and i hope to get to writing it out soon.
more ideas to integrate into my book, more connections with the development of our current society and world views, more insight into why people behave the way they do (including myself of course!)
I don't want to make this a long meandering post, so i will save most of that stuff for later.

lack of noise, media contamination, and abstracted politics has helped me have a head that is much more clear and centered.
having to make efforts to buy food, especially good produce, for which i have to drive 90 miles, as well as other items that urban dwellers take for granted really grounds a person.

I'm living in one of the final frontiers of America.
the Escalante River and Henry Mountains were tha last river and mountain range to be cartographed on this continent by euro settlers.
plus, only a quarter mile north of me is a 35 room Anasazi site.
wilderness - nature - elemental existence right outside my door.
heck, i could go out 10 miles and be lost in the wild here.
yet, here i am with DSL and Google Earth...
I've got the best of both worlds without being spoiled.
so, even though there is not a real social scene, local grocery store, or even an ATM or bank in Boulder, I am feeling like one of the luckiest humans alive.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hello Boulder

well, I am in Boulder finally, but not moved into the room in Eddie's house yet.
staying in the lodge tonight.
i must say the view from my room is spectacular.

Boulder Mountain

I'll fill you in on the drama of driving over the mountain later...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Vail Pass damage

So, I really wish I had pictures of my accident while driving through the Vail Pass on I70 on my way to Denver, but I do not.
here is a brief synopsis:
Left Moab on Thursday morning to drive to my sister's place in Denver, the first stop on my way to Minneapolis to pick up my cat Noona, whom my wonderful friends Patty and Elizabeth have been watching for the last 6 months since I could not have her in park housing.
The weather was pretty damn good until I got to Vail Pass, a notoriously bad winter spot (elev. around 12,400 feet)
It was slushy and snowy up there, and traffic kept throwing icey slush on my windshield.
As I approached exit 176, a pick up truck got in front of me and coated my windshield, leaving me pretty much blinded except for seeing his tail lights.
he took the exit without signaling and it seemed that i as heading for the exit sign and guardrail, so i chose to aim for the exit.
My speed was a bit too high and i fishtailed, eventually hitting the front bumper on the right snowbank (losing the left driving light (foglight) and loosening the right.
it cracked the bumper on the driver side, cracked the windshield washer tank too.
I then did a 360 and the rear of the car went up onto the right snowbank with the rear wheels ending up about 3 inches off the ground and the car balanced on it's midsection.
I called AAA and they said an estimated time of 120 minutes to come get me off of there.
In the meantime, 4 people stopped to make sure I was ok and then the police and emergency crew came to check me out.
They were all amazing.
A Sergeant named Annette checked all of my info and wrote up the accident report and said she would call in a tow that would get there right away.
She was really excellent to deal with.
within 10 minues the tow was there and he winched me off and hey sent me on my way.
the only real damage was that the muffler came undone from a hanger and the driver side rear tire broke it's seal (though not completely flat).
I limped to the nearest service station, which was one exit back, and had a driver follow me the whole way to make sure i was ok.
The guy at teh shop fixed the tire and rehung the muffler for only 25 bucks!
I could hardly believe that within an hour and a half (maybe less) i had had the accident and recovered and was back on my way for only 25 dollars!

The exhaust probably got a bit more damage, cus it is definitely louder than before, and i think there may be a small leak in the filling tube to the gas tank cus if i top it off the first couple of gallons go really quickly.
My gas mileage is possibly down a bit too, but not anything drastic.

I made it to Minneapolis with no further problems and have been having a great time hanging out with Patty, Elizabeth, Brett and P & E's parents.
we went to a party last night and today drove over a short ways into Wisconsin to an antique store so patty could check out a spinning wheel which she ended up purchasing.

I've got the car all ready to head back west and am looking forward to finally being in my new home in Boulder.

When I first got here, Noona cursed me out in her catty way, hissing and saying all kinds of cat talk to me.
after about an hour she came out and made peace and now will not let me out of her sight.
P & E say that they have not seen her this happy!
Helps me know that she will be okay with leaving in the morning.
I am sure it will be fun to get her in the carrier though....
2 stops along the way...
Denver for a night and then Moab to get my belongings.
Vail pass is looking to be in good condition from the Colorado road conditions site and i hope it stays that way!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

last day

so, it is my last day working at Arches National Park.
It has been an amazing time and a truly wonderful crew to work with.

in half an hour I will be done with my last shift behind the information desk, then it is time to make my big hike up to Satori Rock, where I will place my broken walking stick as an offering of thanks to the spirits of this land.
Satori Rock, as I call it, Sits like a buddha above the north end of the Petrified Dunes, a lone spire of Dewey Bridge Member red sandstone.

looking NE towards Satori Rock

I know i will be back here to visit, but it's time for the next adventure.

I hit the road thursday to go get Noona in Minneapolis.
an extra special thanks to Patty and Elizabeth for taking care of her for me.
then it is back in this direction and on to Boulder, UT.
I should arrive there around the 18th or 19th.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Boulder, UT, here i come!

Welcome to Boulder (UT)

so...went to check out the Boulder Mountain Lodge on Wednesday...
super sweet spot. looks like i will be working thee for summer.
May try to work at the Hell's Backbone Grill a few nights a week as well.
when not working hard, I will be playing hard, as there are seemingly infinite hiking possibilities in the area.

Looks like i will be renting from one of the maintenance guys named Eddie for a couple of hundred a month.
that means low expenses and an easy time saving up bread for my end of summer move to Portland with Blair.

There is a small general store/gas station in town that has a decent amount of organic food goodies and is attached to a bakery that makes fire oven pizza.
but to go to a grocery store I will have to drive 28 miles to Escalante to the SW via HWY 12- a drive i will not mind at all as it is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever made.

only 10 more days at Arches...last day is March 11th
so surreal!

Friday, February 29, 2008

trippin balls

recent news from Canyonlands Island in the Sky as reported on the NPS Morning Report page...

(oh Blair, look what you missed by having to leave already!)

Canyonlands National Park (UT)
Drug Overdose Results In Charges

On February 23rd at around 3:30 P.M., a male individual called 9-1-1 from his cell phone and stated that his friend was having a medical emergency. The individual could provide only vague information as to their location within the park. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office dispatched an ambulance from Moab and notified rangers at the Island-In-The-Sky District. Rangers began a search of the roads in the district.

Rangers Eric Paul and Sam Flournoy were soon flagged down by the individual, who was driving toward the visitor center with his friend in the passenger seat. The male passenger was extremely agitated and uncooperative. Rangers Kevin Moore and James Herbaugh quickly arrived at the scene and investigation revealed that the passenger had taken LSD. Rangers, assisted by a maintenance worker, restrained the passenger until the ambulance arrived and he was secured for transport. Ranger Herbaugh accompanied the paramedics in the ambulance to the hospital in Moab.

Rangers Moore and Paul hiked with the driver to a viewpoint approximately one and a half miles from the Lathrop Trailhead. Along the way, they collected numerous articles of clothing which had been discarded by the passenger, who later admitted to taking nine hits of LSD. The passenger was held overnight at the hospital and released the following day. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance, being under the influence of a controlled substance and interfering with agency functions (resisting).
[Submitted by Denny Ziemann, Canyonlands/Arches National Parks Chief Park Ranger]

Monday, February 25, 2008

sigh...


SO, things are picking up here at the park, and i have to say, i kinda feel like escaping.
winter season was cake. no worries about the park cars and who was using them, if i was roving actual trails or back country, and no countdown to my last day, which, by the way, is going to be March 15th.
My housing situation in Moab is up in the air. Still have plenty of job opportunities though - but I am really hoping for a position at the Boulder Mountain Lodge. in Boulder UT.
It will take me more into the middle of nowhere and be a more relaxing situation, I do believe. not that i feel it will not be work, but that when i am done with my workday, it will be a place of peace and quiet, away from everything.

Blair's last day here was on Friday, and early saturday morning i drove up to the intersection of 191 and 313 (which goes to canyonlands)to bid her farewell for summer.
It is tough. I already miss her immensely.
Really wishing we would have recognized our connection and feelings towards each other sooner.
I am really looking forward to exploring our relationship further in fall (and over summer at a distance, of course)
Never before have i felt so much respect and admiration for a woman.
my heart is leaping out of my chest every time i think of her or read the lovely words she writes me.
I feel such a loss being away from her.
Amazing how one really incredible week of bonding can reach so deeply, as if it was something always meant to be and simply waiting for us to see it.

I'd thought I might have found an arch a few days ago, but unfortunately, it has been documented. It's not in the printed books yet, but it is in our digital database.
oh well, time to hunt some more.
hard to believe i may only be in moab for a few more weeks though.
i feel a kind of tension in me, wondering what is going to happen, how and when i will be going to get noona, etc.
I'm wishing i could just take off to Florida to be with Blair.
all else seems quite secondary right now.
I know it will take a bit of time to readjust and to get back into the groove of having my time to myself for now, and i know i will manage.
there is still the book to write, art to make, music to play...
love letters to send...
sigh....
here's to life, love and new opportunities!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Best Direction

Spending time with Blair this week has been so utterly amazing it is beyond words.
It solidifies more and more the decision to move to Portland with her.
I feel no doubts or mistrust.
matter of fact, I am experiencing a bonding which I have searched a lifetime for.
hearing words which are intoxicating without being cryptic or misleading.
I feel a sense of 'home' in a woman which i am finding myself so immensely intrigued by, inspired by, and have the utmost respect for.

Unfortunately, tonight is the last time i will be seeing her for quite awhile, as she leaves to go back to Florida for a good part of the summer.
It will be a time of self cultivation and of saving resources for what is to come with our new life.
While bittersweet, I do look forward to the challenge and know full well that i can face it with no qualms as I have faced so many challenges in the past that have felt even more demanding and quixotic.

This new love feels clear and healthy.Immediately there is a depth there.
We cannot stop smiling when together, even during deep intellectual and philosophical conversations.
I hear words come from her mouth which I am only used to hearing from my own.
Each other's concepts and intended meanings almost immediately understood without explanation.

From my flow has come a direction...of the best kind...towards an intimate love built on learning, loving, exploring, inspiring, believing.

As refreshing as a (dare i be cliche) clear mountain spring. hehe

This desert has burned away the past dramas to leave me ready for this. even if the desert winter is cold.
the simple and elegant landscape has cleared my mind and heart and made me ready for this.

It's probably not wise or right to put into words the thoughts and feelings that are flowing through me to their fullest.
there is time for that.
as new love slowly blossoms to give off the finest fragrance.

Even if it is still cold and there is still snow, for me, spring has sprung!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Unexpected Turns of Excellence

So, I'm at a party out at Canyonlands Isky on Friday, at Blair and Sara's, and having a great time.
It's always a great time over there, matter of fact, I wish it was closer to Arches than 30 some odd miles away.
So, anyway... I hear the wonderful news from Blair that she has been accepted to Louis and Clark Univ. in Portland Oregon for her masters program in International Environmental Law. Now, it IS the 10th school she has been accepted to, which in itself says how brilliant she is. :)
This one is actually 'courting' her - making an effort to get her there, and well,
then all of a sudden she is making an effort to get me to move to Portland with her!
WOW!
from out of nowhere...well, I'd always felt a connection with her that we'd yet to truly express...but here , all of a sudden comes a new opportunity that is immensely rich and exciting.
The more we talked, the more I felt it would be the right thing to do. The more we discovered how much we connect. The more we discovered how excited about it we are.

The bittersweet part is that she is done with her SCA term at the end of this week and moves back to Florida for summer.
But nice & slow is sometimes the very best way to go.
I'm feeling no doubts about this, which is an amazing feeling.

There is something just so intrinsically RIGHT about it.
just wishing the recognition of the connection would have blossomed sooner i guess.
but hey, it has now, just in the nick of time.
and that in and of itself is a great gift.
yep, even just the moments and feelings and content of our last few conversations.
such a wonderful beautiful thing.
Thanks for the invite Blair, I am so there with ya.

now I just need to figure out the time between now and then....
but that's another story.

Friday, February 08, 2008

shake it up a bit and see where things fall

So...
things have gone from calm to confusing over the last few days, but are settling.
I was informed that an SCA position at the Canyonlands Needles District opened up at the last minute for spring. One of my Supes passed on my info and for a moment i thought about doing it.
But then came the warnings from former Needles employees...
Micromanagement, overly formal, and always watching...
I wonder if they know that they have this reputation down there?
It is a truly beautiful place. I had thought about taking this position back in fall when i had gone and camped & day hiked down there.
so..
I decided to pass on it due to multiple reasons.
Firstly, that I am anxious to have my sweet Noona back, although it is a bit difficult to work out teh dynamics of exactly how that is going to happen.
She is in Minneapolis with my wonderful friend Patricia and her sister.
I'm probably going to have to try to schedule time off from Arches or whatever new job I get after here in order to make the drive to get her.
The unfortunate part is that I do not think I will have enough time to hang out there with Patty like I would want to. It will be a grueling drive which i will have to attempt to make over the course of 3 days, or if i am lucky, 4.

Then there is the housing situation...
Since Shea got into town at the beginning of February, he needed to get a place right away, so it looks like we will not be rooming together.at least not until july, when his lease there is up.
Luckily, Murray, my supervisor here at the park, has an extra room that he has thought about renting and which he told me would most likely be available to me if things did not work out with Shea.
Noona is just going to have to learn to live with a dog.

I've been updating my resume and writing cover letters, and decided that i am not really thrilled at the thought of working at a bar again, so i think i am going to look for something else.

It is great to have Shea and Kiersa back in town. I always enjoy hanging with them.
My new roomate Sue is alright, quiet and keeps to herself mostly.

It will be interesting to see how everything develops over the next month.
Wish me luck, and if you ever felt like buying one of my paintings and have yet to do so...now is the time! haha

Saturday, February 02, 2008

new ideas about my art

So, over the last few weeks I have become increasingly inspired by the works of a my wonderful friend Ania Wojtczak


"Before"



""Out of Mist"


and also by the works of Devakrishna Marco Giollo

"Work 105"


"Work 117"


(the works i have shown as examples here are exactly that, examples, and not necessarily specific works of theirs which i find to be directly inspirational. they both have quite a few works i resonate with)

I have decided to no longer paint on canvas. I had started to make a move towards using recovered wood panels, and i have to say that i do not want to go back.
I am feeling more at home with earthen tones, especially since moving to canyon country.
I'm also going to start to create my own mediums, probably oil based, utilizing pigments ground from the sedimentary layers of earth available to me here along with other nature based hand created pigments and dyes as well as found nature or entropic objects.
I am not sure what forms the new works will take in terms of image and/or size, but am anxious to see.
stay tuned for more....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

spring is just around the corner

So, things are still rather quiet here at the park.
the weather has been warming up a bit, which is nice.
A 30 to 40 degree late January and February with a lot of sun sure beats the hell out of the coldest days in an overcast Chicago, i can tell you that much!

Things are still moving a bit slowly on the writing front. I've been continuing my research for the novel, but have not yet really begun the actual writing.
The more ideas and symbolism I am intending to use, the more work has to be put into designing the pattern to weave.

I've managed to get another good job lead, possibly doing some copy editing and/or freelance writing at a local publisher.
I think between that and a good night shift at a local bar a few nights a week I would be doing pretty well.

I've been spending a bit more time with folks from over at ISky too (ISky = Island In The Sky, the northern part of Canyonlands).
Last Sunday there was a small party out there at Blair and Sara's place that was a blast. Got to see Genna (ex-Isky, now Hovenweep) who I had not seen since late November and whom I absolutely adore, and meet her new roomate at the Hove, Miranda, as well as a few other former Canyonlands guys.
We played some cool games and laughed a lot.
Always a good time over there.
Then Wednesday, Blair, Nathanial (also ISky) and I took a day trip over to Goblin Valley. That place is so surreal. We hiked for the most part just outside of the park boundaries and the cliffs reminded me of a less dramatic and less colorful Bryce Canyon.
We did not even go down into the Valley of Goblins, so a return venture is definitely in order.
It was interesting to see how the Entrada sandstone erodes so much differently there than here, and I think that the Moenkopi layer now has some competition when it comes to my favorite geological layer - the Summerville layer - flat thin layers of shale, clay, sandstone and other silts that makes for excellent banding and reminds me of coral jewelry made out of thin pieces and stacked.(good pics here - scroll down for some excellent shots of the layering)
I will post some pics on flickr soon.

When I saw Genna, we talked a bit about starting an artist's group. so I will keep you all up to date on that. I have a feeling that Shea will want to be involved too. Not sure how the local art community will feel about it though, as it may be a bit of a challenge to them - at least if Shea and I assert our own aesthetics and need for exploration beyond the rather tame expressions that already exist locally.
I could foresee a future art gallery thing happening too if all goes well. Most of the local galleries cater specifically to touristy art and landscapes.

My incredible friend Ania is currently showing some of her work in a show in England. One of her paintings was chosen for the poster and mailing card. you can see some of her art here. "Ray" is the painting that they chose for the promotional materials.
It was great to be lucky enough to show some of her work along with mine in Chicago before I left the city. Even more incredible to have made such an amazing and inspiring international connection, including our wonderful spring trip through teh Colorado Plateau, which inspired me to now be where I am.

I'm looking forward to how things will unfold for me in this new life and surroundings.
Going back to the 'real world' after being in this kind of "limbo" state of volunteering and not having to worry about a paycheck or rent is going to be a challenge, but I am sure it's all going to go great.
if not, I'll be living in a tent, and out here, well, that ain't that bad really!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

be bold in your refinement

Like the stars which light up the desert night
Sparks arise inside
Birthed from simple
Words, Sounds, Sights, Tastes,
And the all too rare
Touch

Memories and the Living Present collide
In kaleidoscopic patterns of the Divine
As living experience.

I am a verb!
A climactic creature of becoming!

Living as an open door-
Don’t mistake my meaning.
The invitations I send are many
As I have a whole world I ache to share,
To spill a little bit of this rejoicing into your cup,
Would be bliss.
Then you spill it into yet another!
There are no limits as to who may come.
This pitcher never runs dry!

Though all are invited,
None is held in lower regard
Nor more outstanding than another
As each of us shine
With our own individual expression
of the One.

If all you have been able to perceive
Is the surface of my words,
Then you have missed.
There is an ocean available and you are feasting your eyes
On shells at the shore.
Let the waves of meaning flow over you.
Ask what is behind the waves rather than
Believing they are loaded with intention.

Or look to the layers of high desert sediment
Some crumble to the touch, while those above stand tall and firm.
The most fragile layers support the strongest forms
And eventually give their bodie to the wind and water
Spreading to become renewed earth.

All erodes in this world, but not equally.
Learn to discern which is which.
Only then do the eyes open wide and see beyond
The lowly cultural conditioning
Which plagues most souls.

There can be a meaning behind language
That many do not perceive,
For they have been told:
“Do not look behind the curtain! The Great Oz commands you!’
Pounded into too many children
So that mothers and fathers can hide their sins and misgivings,
Passing on tradition instead of healing and evolving.

Yet some are awakening,
Finding that healing before their time is past!
And sometimes it is their children who provide the pinch!

I ask you, “Can we recognize this great gift?”
A new world is unfolding before us.
An explosion of inner ways of insight,
To help understand who we are
Where we came from,
And how those who have come before
Have been misled and misguided for so long,
Led forth on shallow paths of simple meanings,
Walking along the shore while the whole time
they were at the edge of an ocean!

Banish the idea of victimhood!
Set yourself free through diving deep within
And discovering why you have become who you think you are
And how you can work and play to become
Who you dream to be
(and we’ll all hope that those dreams are not nightmares!)

American ways are both bane and boon
Cancerous narcissism
Mixed with a blank cultural slate.
I grew up free of ethnicity, of deeply entrenched traditions.
How many of you have lived the same?
It makes for fertile soil!
there is just that bit about which kinds of seeds you decide to sow!

Gifted with the ability to write our own destiny
Rather than blindly follow tradition and dogmatic simplicity.
Not that we abandon the ‘Wisdom of the Ages”,
We can simply have a much easier time separating the wheat from the chaff.
and if that whole theory of the evolving is true,
Then by definition, the next generation is always more capable than those who came before.
If not, how have we survived this long?

Yet the question remains:
Will we choose a legacy of Courageous Love?
Or will it be blind hedonism?
Or maybe separation entrenched in ancient reptilian fears?

The time for excuses is past.
BE BOLD!
Nurture your response-ability
turn your inner lead into gold.
Stop living the dreams of the dead.
Cast away your self centered humanism
And return to that which claims,
“This world is the Divine Playground of ALL Life!”
I speak of a belief considered most primitive, which is in fact
The most refined blasphemy:
Animism!
Illa!
All is God!
And all is a living constant change.

Do not let your secular shackles bind you.
Never submit to such a small world
When there is an infinite reality
Begging you to let it reveal its body and soul to you!

Cast away small minded deifications.
Whether an Orthodox believer or an Atheist,
Or somewhere in-between
The time has come to grow past your childhood,
Your simple comfortable fingerpainting,
And witness the Divine masterpiece!
Pick up the fine brush
And lose yourself in the delicate intricacies.
See the individual strokes, but do not forget
To pull back and see the larger picture they create!

Stop worshipping your overspecialized scientist-priests.
Your books do not make you noble.
Only living can do that!
Don’t mistake the map for the territory!
Don’t mistake the data for the reality!

With the birthing of the Age of Aquarius,
We can all too easily forget the coupling dance of the fish,
The shared reality,
And become lost in self-reference
Letting our humanistic self-importance
Lead us into that cancerous narcissism of the ego.
Remember,
Aquarius only carries that which is borrowed,
Not that which is known through experience.
Remember this as she pours forth the jug,
Whatever form it takes: written, viewed or heard twice removed.
She is just a messenger, a carrier:
That which she carries is not hers!

She is just an intermediary, not the Fountain.
There is little judicious insight or clear discernment there.
She brings it ALL, regardless of worth.
Does the postal carrier reveal the deepest secrets and meaning held within your mail?
He brings the coercive junk along with the sweetest letters of love!
Question that! And listen to your own experience!

Cultivate your discernment so you do not hold tight
To that which weighs you down instead of lifting you higher.
What does the deepest place in your heart feel?
What does the clearest place in your mind see?

Those who are invested in being right
Have created a barrier to seeing truth.
Both for themselves and
For those who behave like addicts,
Craving their officially educated and sanctioned words.
Rarely does one find depth there.
Watch and listen closely for coercive words
And know that they do not flow from the lips of truthsayers.
Those who truly know will let you decide for yourself
Leaving the use of defensive and infective language
To those who are still stumbling in the dark.

Beware those who speak in absolutes about that which is relative!

Seek the depth, the core of each thing.
Then expand that out to infinity!
Ask the next question, even if forbidden or
Thought of as heresy.
If you do this, the veil of
That bittersweet civilization which surrounds you
Will show itself for what it really is.
But that part, my friend, is for you to discover.

I know what I have found, but it is mine alone.
And yours will be yours.
Let’s share what we can and find that common place
Where we can dance and share bawdy stories of self discovery,
And our experience of the Whole,
Naked in our truths
Not covered with personality and pretension.
In an oasis where veils are obsolete
Except as playthings caught in the wind
flowing like the waves of the ocean.
As we whirl, whirl, whirl!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

quiet time with small punctuations

So, after New Year's Eve, Moab has pretty much gone to sleep for the rest of the winter.
The Moab Brewery, home of kick ass 2.50 pints and 15 cent wings (mon-wed), has closed for the month of January which makes me sad.
The weather has been interesting.
Blowing winds yesterday with tumbleweeds rolling around all over the place.
Somehow we managed to miss getting snow though (and it had been predicted up to 5 inches).
Michelle came through on her way to San Francisco and stayed for a couple of days.
Was good to see an old friend (first person to visit me!).
Created a little excitement too as she managed to get stuck up at the Delicate Arch upper viewpoint after dark one night and i had to go up and get her. hehe
not a big deal, but definitely a little bit of excitement.

So, I've been trying to figure out my plan for spring and so many things are still up in the air it is hard to determine how things will go.
There are enough options though that i am not freakin at all.
I'm anxious to have Noona around again.(no cats allowed in park housing)

Also managed to get really excited last night by a simple Facebook friend request from one of the coolest gals around which i unfortunately did not manage to spend time with before leaving Chicago cus i can be a real chump like that sometimes.
isn't it interesting how sometimes such small moments can trigger strangely overwhelming responses? Especially when you really do not know the person that well.
I guess sometimes there is just that certain vibe there that is so damn striking.
There's no logic to it, is simply IS.
I have a difficult time figuring out how to express that stuff sometimes, as you can never quite be sure how the person on the receiving end will interpret it.
I've been known in the past to come on too strong or be wanting to go a little too deep too fast for some.
Personally, i feel it is because i don't really proscribe to the "normal" emotional boundaries that this culture seems to maintain.
I love and connect readily and easily, especially when i sense an amazing, outstanding spirit which I feel inspired by.
There's a certain look in the eyes - that special connection that is beynd the rational. how can it even be described in words? it is such a raw thing.
Many of the Romantic Poets and the Sufis come close to describing it, yet even they know that it is really a matter of experiencing it, that the words and images can never replace the lived experience.

I managed to just flip the current Rumi book I am reading open to this:

THINKING AND THE HEART'S MYSTICAL WAY

A peaceful face twists with the poisonous nail of thinking.
A golden spade sinks into

a pile of dung. Suppose you loosen an intellectual knot.
The sack is empty. You've grown

old trying to untie such tightenings, so loosen a few more,
why knot! There is a big one

fastened at your throat, the problem of whether you're in
harmony with that which has

no definition. Solve that! You examine substance
and accidents. You waste

your life making subject and verb agree. You edit hearsay.
You study artifacts and think

you know the maker, so proud of having figured the derivation.
Like a scientist you collect

data and put facts together to come to some conclusion.
Mystics arrive at what they

know differently: they lay a head upon a person's chest
and drift into the answer.

Thinking gives off smoke to prove the existence of fire. A
mystic sits inside the burning.

There are wonderful shapes in rising smoke that imagination
loves to watch. But it's

a mistake to leave teh fire for that filmy sight. Stay
here at the flame's core.

-Rumi

interesting how random things can fit the situation and the feeling.

undoing the knot....

I ache for Love to visit.
at least for a moment.
to share experience
exploration
a venture into the backcountry of both earth and soul
not getting lost far from civilization
but rather finding the truth
which lies in the depths of canyons
where springs gush forth from stone
bringing life, sustenance,
slaking that nearly unquenchable thirst.
a Needle in the I can equal
magical medicine
The Old Ones knew it
and so should we.