as I reflect on traveling from Portland, Oregon to Smith Rock, to Yosemite, to Indian Creek. Enjoy the pictures as they reveal how I see things. You can also follow along with the text below. Afterwards, I recommend listening to Alt-J's, "Hand-made" - for the "fully" full effect.
This is where I learned what I still need to learn. This is where I learned that sometimes blood is the only reward. This is where I learned that we are all reaching heights and limits. This is where I learned that we are doing it for different reasons. This is where I learned that you can't panic. This is where I learned lessons that can’t be undone.
This is where I learned that even in the depths of exhaustion there is an earthly delight, a sun tilting through the clouds.
This is where I learned how to ask myself, “What are you going to do?” This is where I learned the answer is, “what can I do?” This is where I learned that through miles and miles of desert, there is redemption.
This is where I learned how to be buried in my own ugly truth, how I nearly lost it when I saw it up close, and how even after being struck by it I was able to run my hands down the spine of the ugly thing, and see it, simply. This is where I learned that personal truth comes without temper, it shuffles in, unhurried and unexpected. Personal truth swells inside like an unendurable tragedy, it is old and you can feel it aging you, like the wild life of these canyons.
This is where I learned that I have been consumed by my own limits, by my loneliness, my misery, my bitterness. This is where I learned that precious metals, minerals, and stone cannot shine as brightly if I didn’t stumble, if I wasn’t reckless.
This is where I learned that I crave this melancholy joy, if joy can be melancholy, the kind that makes me feel like a stranger, like I am lost, like my dreams have been lies. This is where I learned that I have no words for these paths that I have traveled, they burn in my mind and make smoke.
This is where I Iearned that I drink these lessons like silky water. I see little fish, green spotted frogs, salmonberries. This is where I learned that the cold creek still crashes over the old, old boulders, and through the valley, and into the rest of the world.
This is where I learned that I am aging, that I am a moving part if only for a moment. This is where I learned how to press my head against the cool rock, listen to the cold, tangled water, and look down at my hands, empty, hanging.
This is where I learned the way of the sun, that it floats and goes, and slides along the branches to the other side of the world, across the desert.
This is where I learned that I have gone crazy, and gone into love, and gone with the wind, and gone with the birds, and I learned how to return.
This is where I learned that eventually, whatever we carry scatters in the purest light over the mossy green-black granite, over the gold, scathed sandstone, that the wind still pounds, that the water still runs, and the sky folds into indigo blackness, into another day.
This is where I learned that that there is an undeterred light even in the deepest snags and vines and obstacles.