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You can’t get there from here……

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unknown photographer

          “Sometimes we plan a trip to one place, but something takes us to another”
                                                                         Rumi

No one would have mistaken her for a leader, or perhaps she was a leader without any followers.  Her hair hung to her waist, the last foot of which was a tangled mass of dread locks and beads. The beads appeared to have been threaded in so long ago that any hope of retrieval would have had to involve scissors. Every inch of what remained from head to bead was dyed various shades of neon red, green and purple.

Her body was covered in exquisitely drawn and coloured tattoos enhanced by piercings that appeared on various exposed body parts. The finished effect resembled a moveable human art piece. If she had been a bird, she would have been a Macaw.

Our paths intersected when we both chose to attend a two-hour Labyrinth workshop that was offered as part of a weekend yoga symposium. I smile every time I think about the unlikely bond we forged when it all went ‘terribly wrong’.

For the uninitiated there is a difference between a Labyrinth and a Maze.  A Maze is designed as a problem to solve and a Labyrinth can be walked to solve a problem. Previous experiences walking a Labyrinth had revealed that there are points as you move forward where you have a sense you may have ‘taken a wrong turn’ or ‘lost your way’.  Trust the path even though you may feel lost and eventually you will spiral your way to the center  and out again with new insight.

Our group of ten was led to a large gym where a canvas Labyrinth had been assembled.  Encouraged to start walking it when we felt ‘called’ there was initial awkward glances and shuffling.  Sudden movement and a blur of color swept past; the Macaw had been ‘called’ she would be our leader.

I followed behind, gave her space and stepped forward…

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unknown photographer

Having previously walked a Labyrinth alone or with one other person I was unprepared for the delicate dance of meeting and passing others on such narrow pathways.  This interaction became not just a metaphor for life but an enjoyable physical exchange. Approaching another person on an adjacent pathway would compel you to turn completely to the side, arms out, sometimes face to face other times turned away.  When three of us would intersect on parallel paths we all moved and turned in unison.

I was enjoying this immensely until I noticed a short distance ahead our ‘Leader’ had stopped unexpectedly and appeared confused. Coming up behind her I could see the dilemma, there did not appear to be ‘a clear path forward’.

With military precision she sized up the problem, the canvas Labyrinth was comprised of three pieces that were held together with velcro. The larger outer paths matched up but the center did not, it had been put together incorrectly.

She looked at me urgently  “We have to tear it apart, turn it around and start from the beginning.”  The Facilitator standing on the sidelines started to mumble things like “we don’t have time to fix it….. it takes a long time to assemble…..it is not my fault”….. the Macaw would have none of it. Taking orders from no one, she was now in charge and failure was not an option!

Without further instruction I followed her to the edge of the canvas where we found the points where the two seams met. The sound of ripping velcro filled the gym. The other participants moved in to help and within minutes we ripped it apart turned the center piece and reattached the seams.

The Macaw was now back in her rightful position at the entrance to the properly assembled Labyrinth. The dance this time as we turned and moved forward was that  much more joyful now that we knew we would be taken both in and out and to the all important center.

She and I parted that afternoon with a nod of mutual respect.  I caught a glimpse of her the following day as she flitted across the campus en route to another workshop.  Silently I bid her ‘safe travels’ it will be difficult for her to fly under the radar with such bright plumage.

Human error and the inability at some points to see and take action appears to be a frailty that may well be our undoing.  The planet we depend on for our survival is starting to wither with our demands that she give more and more with little given in return.
We appear to have lost our center.

There comes a point both personally and on a planetary scale that things appear ‘FUBAR’, to steal a military term my feathered friend would approve of…. when that point is reached the only solution to an obviously wrong course or path seems to be:

“Tear it apart, turn it around and start again from the beginning.”

And from there we will again find our Center.

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unknown photographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

3 a.m. sentence(s)

DSC_1384 (1)photo credit west coast woman

 

Dusk til Dawn
Shadow and Light
the veil is thin

The call goes out
spiritual refugees
seeking a conscious oasis-
awaken to
torrents of words
whispering past as
we linger between
the threshold of
one world and another

in

out

Truth drifting on
shattered hearts
hover just beyond
the collective reach,
pluck what is close
as mist envelops
the pain the loss the love
the ephemeral words
the 3 a.m. sentence(s)
the puzzle being solved
piece by piece
Together, Apart

We wait for Dawn.

J.S.

DSC_2178photo credit west coast woman

 

 

 

Featured

She let go……

unknown photographer

Searching for the right words to describe a ‘moment in time’ and you discover someone already found and assembled them for you…..

She Let Go
by Safire Rose

She let go.

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of judgements.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around in her head.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the Prayer Line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good, and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her.

And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…..

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Exposed

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As if in reply
to an unformed question
illusion of secure
grounded, stable
is revealed
perhaps reformed

Life nursing life
Foundations on shifting sand
surrenders, exposes
no safe haven
no inland retreat
life recalculating

Trickster emerges
Coyote, Raven
New vision. New rules.
No limits…
Co-operators are standing by,
“Woof, Woof, wanna play?”

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Featured

A HOME WHICH MAYBE NEVER WAS

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Hiraeth is a Welsh word that perfectly describes my yearning for the emotions I experienced around Christmases long past. I am not alone in my ‘hiraeth’, without prompting I hear the same yearning in the voices of people I meet on the street this time of year.

It is an ambiguous loss for a season that arrives each year without fail, earlier and earlier with less and less of what my heart is longing for.

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I was decorating the tree last night when I came across  ‘Eagle with Santa hat’ and as I placed him on the tree it brought to mind an incident last summer that involved two mismatched birds. Their uneasy coexistence had caught my attention days earlier and I photographed them as they perched side by side in the pond in front of the house.

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The Eagle is one of a pair whose nest can be seen from the house. Over the last ten years, I watched them raise their young, watched when despite all their careful tending, guarding and feeding they occasionally ‘lost’ one of the young eaglets before it could fledge. One year both eaglets were killed in the nest by a Golden Eagle and one of the pair was badly injured in the attempt to fend off the attack.

Enter the Crow……. the Scavenger and the Predator, these two are not ‘birds of a feather’ but with wonder and curiosity I  watched them ‘flock together’.  The Crow mercilessly dive bombs the Eagle from above when he is perched in the nesting tree but other than the occasional glance upward the Eagle seems unaffected by this constant annoyance.

Other than that, Eagle and Crow coexist peacefully enough, although the Eagle could easily do away with him with one movement of his powerful beak, he does not. The Crow always ensures he is above the talons that could make short work of him. There is a form of mutual respect between the two.

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Perhaps that is what I’m feeling as I experience this homesickness for ephemeral memories of Christmas past. It is the slow erosion of mutual respect that is starting to permeate many parts of our human society. As a species, we appear to be on the verge of entering uncharted waters on many levels.

I have experienced a few ‘Christmas moments’ this year and as I look at the photograph below I realize that is probably what I am longing for. It is the fleeting moments of moving side by side with other human beings.  It is the bravery it takes to spread our wings without knowing what the future will bring, and the trust that it will hold us.

Mostly I feel it is sharing and respecting this exquisite little blue planet that we find ourselves on at this moment in time.  Instead of feeling sadness for a “home that maybe never was” I will go forward this year with gratitude for ‘what is’ and for this beautiful home that we all share.

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Featured

Ripple in Still Waters

Walking and watching the River yesterday, the power of nature, constant movement, wearing away, giving in. Photographs and words hardly touch it, “there is the trying though”….

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River
Shapes stone, cuts stone,
Banks and bottoms
Nothing escapes the reach,
the filing down, the silky caress
water seeking touch, truth,
the constant Reveal
what is hidden, Exposed.

Three a.m.
thoughts, inspirations,
no escaping the raw Reveal,
comfort knowing others
are Awake
giving in
to the flow, tumbling,
releasing, realizing,
You Can’t Push the River

There is the trying though,
interior ache
screams it’s message
mouth and arms stretch open
breast exposed
All exposed
shape, cut, touch , caress
reveal, Allow

The Run of the River.

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Possibilities — Meditatio Ephemera

I have read and reread this. It is my first “reblog”.

It speaks to my “inner cowboy” the one who gets tired of wrangling the same old cows…

Last night, I read When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi’s observation of a young and promising life — his own — cut short by cancer. Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who also had a degree in English literature, was completing his last year of residency at Stanford when he got the diagnosis. He died at 37 in […]

via Possibilities — Meditatio Ephemera

Purgatory on Parade (Street Photography 2)

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photo credit westcoastwoman

 

A wandering agnostic amongst a sea of Easter hats

no hat to call my own, moments captured

hardly convey this half way house,

this purgatory on parade.

Turning, Turning…

I move through cobbled streets

and find no spot to settle

a restless dog rotating above it’s bed.

Salvation is offered

at the tip of a blue laced finger

I pass, move forward …

but give an upward glance

as Magic forms above

on this Louisiana morning.

 

 

Hand to Heart (Street Photography 1)

(while working on another piece this morning I found this in my drafts, I meant to go in to delete, but in the end my hand and heart pushed Publish)

I am going to try a short series of poetry inspired by (my second love) street photography, a series I took last year at the Easter Sunday Parade in the French Quarter, New Orleans.

 

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photo credit westcoastwoman

 

Each step you take, from here to there

each hand you hold, they’ll sometimes care

some filled with light some fighting dark

you’ll find what’s right, you’ll make your mark

your heart will break, can’t help you there

you’ll find one hand that let’s you care

but in the end, your hand to heart

is what will lead you home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bell Jar

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photo credit westcoastwoman

 

The ground began to thaw and in a flash it was Spring, time to make their way into that other world, the world of Light.
I observed each day as they gingerly emerged, their fragile petals unfurling in a gift of surrender.
They had no way of knowing that change had been afoot in the world of Light as they slept safe and warm in the protective darkness.
Rules were changing, nothing was as it had been, the warmth, the cold, the light and the dark.
The Bell Jars were placed for protection before the snow fell, days later they  reemerged, safe in their glass houses.
The thought occurred….. is there a Bell Jar large enough to protect our collective humanity, our all too human hearts, the world of Light we live in?

 

(written in response to Sunday’s six sentence word prompt. Prompt word FLASH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in Translation

DSC_2223 (2)photo credit westcoastwoman

We crawl paved arteries,
Protective metal shells
Inch their way forward
No bumper stickers here
Metal emblems shout our allegiances.

  “Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz”

The City called last week….
should have let it go
to Voice Mail.
Screen all talk of departures,
Words that draw me back.

  “Dialing for dollars is trying to find me”

Retracing walkways now paved
with distant memories,
New eyes open to reveal
familiar tender traps
laid with immaculate precision.

  “Prove that you love me and buy the next round”

Early light… dust of snow
I walk as the city sleeps,
Soft footsteps join my path
Coyote and I share a gaze
Half domestic, half wild, still untamed

We stand, lost in translation.
Eyes unlock
heads turn
together the step
in the same direction.

  “I’m counting on you Lord, please don’t let me down” 

   “lyrics  Janis Joplin”

 

Towards the Light

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photo credit westcoastwoman

 

A place exists somewhere between the edge of campfire light and the surrounding forest that cannot be named.  Distant enough from the laughter and storytelling that the draw into the surrounding darkness is tangible.

She awoke to find herself rooted in this unnamed space and unable to remember how long she had lingered there.  Her feet moved towards the familiar light of the fire until she stood close behind the gathered circle.  There was no notice of her presence and it appeared the circle was unbroken, she would not be missed.

A turn and movement into the utter darkness of the path ahead, the inability to see her foot as it moved forward made it clear that for some time this journey would be without light or destination.

 

 

written in response to a word prompt, the word “clear”, limited to six sentences.