That’s How the Light Gets In

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

-Leonard Cohen

Idaho Storm4

It’s all about the light. As a photographer and lover of all the wonder, I look for light continually.  It is there to be found.  We naturally gravitate to it, we revel in it, we bathe in its warmth,       dance in its radiance, savor its luminance of all the wonders around us.

When darkness comes, light a candle, sit close and peer into the flame-light.   Wait for the sunshine.  We can trust that it will come, through the cracks and around the obstacles.  Until then, “ring the bells that still can ring, and forget your perfect offering!”

What People Don’t Forget

Maya2

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,                people will forget what you did,                                                             but people will never forget                                                                   how you made them feel.”

-Maya Angelou

Bryce, First Sun RaysMaya Angelou will live on.  Her passion, poetry, and powerful resonate voice are deeply instilled.  Such depth there, hard won, and strength. I am deeply grateful for the many gifts she brought to the world.

Still I Rise! Maya!

*click on the link below to hear Maya read her “Still I Rise”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&list=RD7HiE4lt_DUY&v=7HiE4lt_DUY

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

-Maya Angelou

Bird, Maya Angelou

“Life is pure adventure and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life
as art.”

-Maya AngelouStalks

Little Wonders (There are No Weeds) – A Gallery of Photos

Ruth Bebee Hill, in her book of the Lakota, Hanta Yo, first introduced me to the nonexistence of a “weed”.  I was in my twenties when I first read her words and hadn’t thought of a weed in just that way before.  In her dedication to authenticity, the author translated the entirety of her book to the Lakota language from English, then back to English again for publication (this has since been disputed).  She stated that she had a deep sense that she had not captured the essence of the Lakota experience on her first try in English, and in learning the language, and therefore the worldview and conceptual landscape the culture lived in, she was able to give the reader a more true feel and understanding of the life and connections of the Lakota (ethnologists again disagree).    No word for “weed” exists in the Lakota language (this I believe they do agree on!).   They do not have a concept for a  throw away or non-respected plant in their world.   There is an honoring of all that is given as useful, unique and sacred.  This is a good way of living on the planet.

I captured these images (slideshow will load below) in my yard and woods.  Not planted and unplanned, these living wonders are gifts given by nature.  Beautiful and appreciated beyond measure.  Certainly not “weeds”.

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

“Just let go. Let go of how you thought your life should be, and
embrace the life that is trying to work its way into your consciousness.”Mountain Lady Slipper

~ Caroline Myss

Yellow Flowers

“Bloom Where You’re Planted”

-Saint Francis de Sales

Zion, Closeup Rock, Plant“Happiness is not in our circumstance, but in ourselves, it is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel like the heat of fire, happiness is something we are.”

-John B. Sheerin

 

 

Certainly I have waited for… perfect circumstances, a perfect body, a perfect life  – to know happiness.

There is no more waiting. Now I am blooming every day, where I am, accepting all that IS.  I know happiness.  It is here now.  It is in spite of, and embracing of, all that is.  Yes, we can all, bloom where we’re planted.

“I live most often in what I call the marvelous messy middle- where I feel ALL my feelings deeply, I just don’t spend so much time in the negative ones.

-Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy

Opportunities for Kindness

This is not a new story having made the rounds on Facebook and other social media, but for reasons that are hard to articulate it has profound impact and it seemed good and right for these words from a New York City cabbie (see the story below) to find a home here too.

Everyone is on a personal journey.  Bryce, Raven 2

 

 

It may not be possible to know at what point in their journey that a fellow traveler will be met.Raven Chat

 

Opportunities for kindness may cross a day that if taken will have an impact that is deep, everlasting and profound.

 

A New York City Taxi driver wrote:

“I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive
through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.”

Our lives are made of these woven together moments.  Most are not grand.  Only in retrospect may we know just how many were.

May we all know the importance of traveling our journey fully awake, with responsive kindness and with wide open heart.

Raven Child Portrait

The Most Beautiful Place on Earth

“This is the most beautiful place on earth.
There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.”

-Edward Abbey

This is the most beautiful place on earth. These words by Edward Abbey come to mind this morning, this perfect morning, at home. “There are many such places”.  And there are.  I have been away from home for ten days and have seen many of these most beautiful places – Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Craters of the Moon, The Nez Perce Trail, Capital Reef… Landscapes so varied and divine as to be overwhelming.  Wondrous.

But no less wondrous are the home woods…  deep forests and tall trees, Summer Forest with Soft Light copyraven conversations, Raven Chatdeer family Deer Smacking Her Lipsvisits, chipmunks, Yellow Flowerdandelions, luxuriant green carpets, stone song, bees buzzing, one perfect sky-blue butterfly, tiny wild violets, the sunlight on the new maple leaves…

 

Spring Maples

Yes, there are wonders everywhere.  Beauty.  Connection.  Spirit.

Home holds me.  The most beautiful place on earth.

Three Stones on Stump

New Life

 

Craters, Tree

Craters of the Moon allows a glimpse of the new earth, recently formed.  The black lava slowly accepts life –                                                   tiny flowers dot the landscape everywhere, Craters, Tiny Flowers

lichens help provide soil, little trees gain purchase.

Nature sculptures invite the eye to linger.   It is so quiet – but life is stirring.

Craters, Mom on Path

Craters, Tree Fall

A Sanctuary of Peace and Refuge

Zion.  The word evokes a place of sanctuary – of peace and refuge.  The majestic red rocks of Zion National Park are in a state of continual change.  The feeling of ancient wisdom, calm, peace,  and movement – of evolving – are so palpable here.   A deep knowing energy pervades the air, the earth, the rocks.

Zion, Big Rocks

 

“Has joy any survival value in the operations of evolution?

I suspect that it does…”

-Edward Abbey

Zion Rocks3Zion, Red Rock, White Rock

 

 

Large Cathedrals and Small Chapels

Here immersed in these extravagant wonders formed over millennia, are cathedrals of stone so immense they cover an expanse as far as the eye can see.  Within these grand cathedrals, in every nook, are small chapels of amazement.  Every glance a testament, a long look a revelation. An acknowledgement.

Bryce, Big HooDoosBryce, HooDoos7

“A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like Delicate Arch has the curious ability to remind us—like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness—that out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted, for if this ring of stone is marvelous then all which shaped it is marvelous, and our journey here on earth, able to see and touch and hear in the midst of tangible and mysterious things-in-themselves, is the most strange and daring of all adventures.”

-Edward Abbey

Bryce, Close Up, HooDoos