11.23.2006

next, the top

*Note: Travelling to Montana to volunteer with the Buffalo Field Campaign. The next time I update should be around December 18.



from June 20, 2006

big winds moving rattled leaves across dirted earth
an uncompromising plane strewn with sharp stones
a faltering line
a sudden peak
leaping (again and again) into fuzzy belows
out of focus ranges
thundering storms gathering
i can touch the bottom
(again)
springboarding back up from sunken muddy waters
slightly stuck
but stronger from past experience
i touched the bottom
next,
the top

11.22.2006

When is a man educated?

"When he can look out upon the universe, now lucid and lovely, now dark and terrible, with a sense of his own littleness in the great scheme of things, and yet have faith and courage. When he knows how to make friends and keep them, and above all, when he can keep friends with himself. When he can be happy alone and high-minded amid the drudgeries of life. When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something besides mud, and into the face of the most forlorn mortal and see something divine. When he knows how to live, how to love, how to hope, how to pray--- is glad to live… and has in his heart a bit of a song.”
- J.F. Newton

11.13.2006

Cactus to Clouds



A midnight hike by the light of the moon, led by Barry. It's 10 miles, with 8,300 feet of gain, to the tram, starting from the trailhead behind the Desert Museum in Palm Springs. 13 people hiked to the tram; only 7 continued on to the summit, with 2,400 feet of additional gain and an added 10 miles roundtrip from tram to summit, a total of 10,700 feet of gain. We started at 12:30 AM, summitted at 1:30 PM, then returned to the tram at 4 PM. Coming down afterwards, all of us looked straggly and slightly pathetic tired. Driving back to Los Angeles though, already suffering road-fever (the need to move), and looking at Mount San Jacinto soaring over the 10 freeway, I feel different than the dead-tired me of a mere 24 hours back. "Wow, we just hiked from there," pointing at the flat-looking cactus-y bottom of the mountain, "to there," pointing up at the high clouded peak, "I feel awesome now!" "You are awesome," Curry replies to me, smiling, "we all are."

Apollo Ascending

eagle soaring
over sunrise landscape
where to next?



I walk in shadows searching for light

11.08.2006

Flying Disc Ranch date farm




Father Sun, Mother EarthMoonSky



November 6, 2006
I woke in the most wonderful fashion this morning. Accustomed to sleeping on my right side, I woke facing the east, the gleam of the setting full moon blinding me through the clear mesh of my little hut. I roll over onto my left side to face the west, to see pink clouds scattering the dark blue sky of night, lit from below by the eager sun on his daily sojourn around the globe. I decide to get up. I clamber onto the sandy bank overlooking the farm and begin my daily routine of Tai Chi, stretches, and exercises. There's no more invigorating way to begin the day than moving along with the rhythmic rise and fall of the setting moon, rising sun. Arms stretched high to the sky, both for hello and goodbye to these two dear old friends, I am strong and happy, my mind devoid of excess, leaving a clear, smooth peacefulness. Dear Earth, but I am ready to start my day (new beginnings).

Joshua tree







Painted Canyon



November 3, 2006
I am a complicated mix of emotion--- part of me wants to scream out, "Why!" at the heavens, another wants to ball up into a fetal position and just sleep the rest of my life away, yet another wants to go running naked down a hilly slope, while all the other me's are still bickering amongst themselves, struggling to find a solid voice. I am so internally conflicted. And my wrists hurt.

11.07.2006

3 months later



I can't believe three months passed by so quickly. Everyday is like a slow dream. With nothing to do, my mind jumps all over the place--- eventually off the cliffs of intellect, landing itself (shattered) in the seas of despair. Work and action are like the reins of sanity, safely chaining me from myself.

11.06.2006

Dharma Bums

(by Jack Kerouac)

"Climbing up Cold Mountain path, Cold Mountain path goes on and on, long gorge choked with scree and boulders, wide creek and mist-blurred grass, moss is slippery though there's been no rain, pine sings but there's no wind, who can leap the world's ties and sit with me among white clouds?"
- Han Shan translation by Japhy

"When you get to the top of a mountain, keep climbing."
- Zen saying, remembered by Ray (author's alias) atop Matterhorn

(from the same passge):
Suddenly I heard a beautiful broken yodel of a strange musical and mystical intensity in the wind, and looked up, and it was Japhy standing on top of Matterhorn peak letting out his triumphant mountain-conquering Buddha Mountain Smashing song of joy. It was beautiful... then suddenly everything was just like jazz: it happened in one insane second or so: I looked up and saw Japhy running down the mountain in huge twenty-foot leaps, running, leaping, landing with a great drive of his booted heels, bouncing five feet or so, running, then taking another long crazy yelling yodelaying sail down the sides of the world and in that flash I realized it's impossible to fall off mountains you fool and with a yodel of my own I suddenly got up and began running down the mountain after him doing exactly the same huge leaps, the same fantastic runs and jumps... and came leaping and yelling like mountain goats or I'd say like Chinese lunatics of a thousand years ago...

(on Desolation Peak):
...there it was, hundreds of miles of pure snow-covered rocks and virgin lakes and high timber, and below, instead of the world, I saw a sea of marshmallow clouds flat as a roof and extending miles and miles in every direction, creaming all the valleys... it was all far below me... and it was all mine, not another human pair of eyes in the world were looking at this immense cycloramic universe of matter. I had a tremendous sensation of its dreamlikeness which never left me in all that summer and in fact grew and grew, especially when I stood on my head to circulate my blood, right on top of the mountain, usig a burlap bag for a head mat, and then the mountains looked like little bubbles hanging in the void upsidedown. There was nothing here to hide the fact of grvity holding us all intact upsidedown against a surface globe of earth in infinite empty space. And I suddenly realized I was truly alone... the little flowers grow everywhere around the rocks, and no one had asked them to grow, or me to grow.

Down on the lake rosy reflections of celestial vapor appeared, and I said "God, I love you" and looked up to the sky and really meant it. "I have fallen in love with you, God. Take care of us all, one way or the other." To the children and the innocent it's all the same. And in keeping with Japhy's habit of always getting down on one knee and delivering a little prayer to the camp we left, to the one in the Sierra, and the others in Marin, and the little prayer of gratitude he had delivered in Sean's shack the day he sailed away, as I was hiking down the mountain with my pack I turned and knelt on the trail and said "Thank you, shack." Then I added "Blah," with a little grin, because I knew that shack and that mountain would understand what that meant, and turned and went on down the trail back to this world.

Living the answer

I am what I do. If I cease to do, I will not be.

There are moments in difficult situations, far away, that there is no more doubt. There, the questions are gone. And I think these are the important moments. If the question is gone, I have not to answer. Myself living--- I am the answer.

- Reinhold Messner

11.05.2006

Benedicto

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome,
dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
May your rivers flow without end, meandering through
astoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples
and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval
forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl,
through miasmal and mysterious swamps
and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas,
domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone,
and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm
where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs,
where deer walk across the white sand beaches,
where storms come and go as lightning clangs
upon the high crags,
where something strange and more beautiful and
more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you-
beyond the next turning of the canyon walls.

--Edward Abbey

11.04.2006

50,000



As of November 3, 2006, Luvi, my trusty and beloved Nikon D70 camera, an extension of my self since January 2005, has successfully captured over 50,000 images. We've been across the USA and back again (and are leaving for more at the end of this month). We romped through mountains, deserts, oceans, college, forests, swamps, relationships, plains, fields, countless miles of road, and more. Together we've touched skin, rock, ice, cloud, air, the natural, unnatural, supernatural, and every color imaginable. May we frolic through this dance of life and share the infinite exciting adventures to come.

Desert Solitaire quotes

(by Edward Abbey)

All things are in motion, all is in process, nothing abides, nothing will ever change in this eternal moment. I'll be back before I'm fairly out of sight. Time to go.

When I return will it be the same? Will I be the same? Will anything ever be quite the same again? If I return.

I see myself sinking into the landscape, fixed in place like a stone, like a tree, a small motionless shape of vague outline, desert-colored, and with the wings of imagination look down at myself through the eyes of the bird, wathing a human figure that becomes smaller, smaller in the receding landscape as the bird rises into the evening--- a man at a table near a twinkling campfire, surrounded by a rolling wasteland of stone and dune and sandstone monuments, the wasteland surrounded by dark canyons and the course of rivers and mountrain ranges on a vast plateau stretching across Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, and beyond this plateau more deserts and greater mountains, the Rockies in dusk, the Sierra Nevadas shinig in their late afternoon, and farther and farther yet, the darkened East, the gleaming Pacific, the curving margins of the great earth itself, and beyond earth that ultimate world of sun and stars whose bounds we cannot discover.