Viewpoint

I’m at a roadside park just off I-94 overlooking a part of the Badlands called Painted Canyon.

The sun is setting to my left. It highlights the layered colors of the sprawling valley below me in intense blues, fiery reds, bruised purpled, living greens and a hundred shades of grey and brown.

The clouds are lit from within on a background that slowly shifts from pale blue to a deep violet capturing all the colors of my imagination.

Just past the edge of this vantage is an ancient juniper with dark berries. Balancing on the edge of its sparse limbs a meadowlark sings. In the distance a red tailed hawk circles.

At my feet are perfect yellow flowers that iridescent green bees suckle at. Ants clamber in the deep grass, carrying supplies to stock their underground metropolis.

A child’s balloon floats by me. A red island drifting on a cool breeze. Dancing with the invisible.

In the distance a child cries. Another laughs. The incessant sounds of man, the murmuring chatterous monotony of high and low and hushed and shouted tones and nearby traffic and all their smells, sweet and masked and dirty, are all broken, drowned in a profound silence that has no name.

Standing at the fence that keeps humanity at bay, separate from the world we were born into, is a young couple, giddy with love, arms wrapped around each other, smiling, content, joyous. Their love shines so brightly that it adds to the glow of the setting sun. A stranger takes their picture, hands the camera back to them with a “You’re welcome” and with no more than a quick glance into eternity and a shrug, walks quickly back to their car. They have someplace to be. An itinerary. A plan. They will miss so much. Too much.

I take in the sight and am filled with a deep peace, with the miracle of this moment. It is captured within me and I am captured within it and it lives forever.

Not in the past. Not as a memory, now, because Now is all that ever exists.


Image by J M Greff

Long Nights Moon

Today I woke to this gorgeous nearly full moon illuminating the clouds from within and was reminded that even in the darkest days there is light.

I took some time to contemplate the shortness of our own days, the divine spark that resides in all of us which lights the darkness from within, and the eternal promise of life renewed, and I silently expressed my gratitude for every second of light and life I am given as well as for those inevitable periods of darkness that make the light so much easier to see and appreciate.

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. The sun will remain low on the horizon for three days before rising back into the heavens. The nights will be long and cold.

This solstice is quite rare because it is accompanied by a full moon that brings with it positive change and pleasant and welcome surprises. The next time we will witness a full moon on the solstice is 2094.

To make it even more special it will be followed by the Ursids meteor shower on the 22nd and 23rd. I have no idea when this triple crown will happen again but I don’t imagine it will be any time soon.

It is quite literally a once in a lifetime event so I hope you take the time to bear witness and celebrate in your own way.

Tonight I will celebrate publicly. I’ve been invited to a Christmas party hosted by one of the companies I drive for that also happens to be a company I have contracted with many times over the years and was an employee of until last year. It will be a comfortable gathering among friends.

Tomorrow night I will honor this time privately by writing down my hopes and fears, my joys and sorrows, and release them all in fire and an offering of the ashes to the wind in gratitude.

Sunday I will connect with friends, family, and Beloved to reaffirm my presence, my promise, my commitment, and to thank them for being in my life.

However you decide to celebrate or honor this sacred time I wish you a happy and blessed solstice!

My midnight muse

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You dance within the twilight of my dreams
Whimsical and lithe
Lingering here
Darting there
A firefly in the dark
A flickering spark
Playful
Alluring
Enticing
Enchanting
A shimmering vapor drifting through shadow
Your heart beating in pyrophoric frenzy
A strobing cannon
A beacon in the cavern of my soul
Inviting me
Drawing me
Beckoning
Further
Always further
Always closer
Always just out of reach
So I climb
 and scramble 
and hazard these frozen depths
Careless of rope or harness or blaze
Because where you go
Returns us to the surface
And once in the light of day
We
Will mock the sun
Together


Image by Jonatan Pie.

Mixing it up: Full Moon – Time in the Womb – Giving Thanks

November 23 brings another full moon and with it comes impulsiveness and anger. Not a good mix.

Solution: Be mindful and compassionate.

Well, that was an easy moon to explain so I’ll move right on to the good stuff.

Here we are at the beginning of a new year so it’s time to set intentions for what we want the coming year to bring.

“New year?” you say.

That was part of what I didn’t cover in my Samhain post so I’ll cast a little light now.

In many ancient beliefs the new year begins not at spring but just before the dark of winter.

That may seem strange to many of us. We often view the little death of winter as an end times. But the old view is more alike to a time in the womb. The darkness before the light.

In that view it is a time not just to survive and hold out until “life” returns, but a time to prepare for the life we already have. The life we will be born into come spring. A time to gather what we need to face that birth. To nourish so we can flourish.

So winter is here and while the work I am doing for a living tends to evaporate for a time, and in that way winter appears to reflect the more modern thinking of winter as and end, I have learned to be grateful for this short hibernation.

It is, for me, a time to replenish my physical needs, to further my spiritual needs, and to explore and redefine my intentions. A time for me to catch up with all the inner work I am forced to put off the rest of the year and to focus on my goals.

Yes, my financial state becomes… uneasy, this time of year, but this winter is providing some unusual opportunities that I am deeply grateful for.

My employer has set me up in a park model trailer that is quite comfortable and he is not charging me rent.

I have the opportunity to return to Mobile before Christmas and to help some very good friends I have come to think of as family with some remodeling in exchange for room and board and a little pocket cash.

While I haven’t made a ton of money up here because of the weather I have made enough to make some headway with my plans for the website and will have covered almost all of the expenses before heading south for a month or so.

I will be in Mobile, Alabama during the coldest part of the year up here and have a boss that will cover my expenses to return, and if next year is anything like this year turned out to be I can expect to make enough in one last season to focus the next twelve on writing.

I have replaced my unreliable Rodeo with a low mileage minivan with enough room to return north with everything I left behind that will make a good trade for something larger next summer. So when I leave here next fall everything comes with. No more leaving my life spread across two thousand miles.

Long story short; I have a lot to be grateful for and this short rest before the long haul is just what I need.

Silence

There is a silence here. A silence in the air. In the ground I walk upon broken with heavy boots leaving the slightest crackle of lightest snow snuffed little by little with each step as my path hardens into firmest ice.

Above me a sky of photograph blue spreads so far I can see the curve of this incredible planet I call home.

Big Sky. Yes. No denying that moniker. I’ve seen many skies and Montana has the biggest skies I’ve ever seen.

Early winters are the norm here. I guess I forgot that having lived so many years just east of the natural weather break the Badlands provide. Here, there is nothing to stop the winds amplified by unimaginable miles of rolling hills meeting high plains.

So here I am. At the edge of what I knew facing the experience of what I will know.

Sounds familiar. Sounds like Life.

Unless we live under the warm blankets of comfort, never venturing out to explore what we may yet know, we fortify ourselves. Build walls.

We in-experience.

To never step into the cold, the blizzard winds that tear at us, each frozen tear of the Universe itself falling from heights we really can not imagine like an infantry of icy pebbles, or grains of purest sand that burn our feet with impressions of the memories of worlds that left them, is to never experience the gift that life is.

How fortunate I am that the Divine, both furious ice and flame, has put me here to see with eyes and feel with hands what those with only the machinations or extrapolations of minds may express or experience through words.

I hope my words suffice.

Personal Update – November 8, 2018

Surrender isn’t the same as giving up but it sure can feel like it.

The insurance adjusting never paid off. Thousands of dollars, 6 licenses, 32 certifications, over 600 hours of training, and I never worked a single job. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

I’ll take what I learned there and try to apply it somewhere else but in order for me to do it right and to continue pursuing my goals to turn to writing full time I need to be able to support myself and can’t do that alone on the substandard wages I made in Mobile.

So I came back North to finish out the season hoping I could make enough before freeze to at least pay off the debt I created trying to change careers and bank some to see me through winter, but it’s not happening. Freeze came early. The season is pretty much over.

Unless something unexpected happens I have no choice but to commit to driving truck for the full season next year. The man I am working for in Montana is providing a comfortable trailer rent-free as part of my pay so saving money will be easier.

I’ll head back to Mobile for a few months when I know for sure the work season is over and return in the spring.

I was optimistic and hopeful when I moved to Mobile last year and while I’m not giving up on my goals I can’t help feeling like I failed even if it is just a temporary setback.

But that’s just a feeling and I am neither defined nor controlled by it.

I will make the best of what I am given and keep moving forward no matter what.

Always

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Love
Is all that matters
It wakes me in the morning
Sets me on my path
Gets me through my days
Keeps me warm on coldest nights
Sends me miles from nowhere
To somewhere
Makes a home
Where a dream rested
Makes a life
Where hope is tested
Makes me full
When I’m hungry
Heals me
When I am unwell
Welcomes me
At all hours
In all places
In all ways
Whether I travel in the company of passion
Or reside in the solitude of self
Whether desire is by my side
Or the isolation I abide
It is always with me
Love
Once given
Remains

A Cycle of Gratitude – from 2016

Another year, Mother

Another Cycle of Moons gone by

I sit with head bowed

While recalling the tears, joys, fears and sorrows

With gratitude

Now

As you thin the veil once more

I peer into the space

That separates us

And see you smiling back at me

And I am overcome with gratitude for all that has been

And with hope

For all that will be

I give to you my heart

With all that it carries

And give thanks that you have made me

Released

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Too long ago
A lifetime
Millennia it seems
I sheltered my heart
And bound my flesh
In hopeful anticipation
I wore the numb pain
Of isolation
Like a badge of honor
I learned acceptance
Became aware of something greater
Than I ever imagined
My Self
A connection to All
I learned to navigate the path of Life
With gratitude
Even for suffering
To live with intention
Compassion
Patience
Still
I was alone
My limbs
Once coiled springs
Memorized their routines
My nerves
Quieted by the absence of touch
Slept
My mind
Made up for what I did not have
With story and song
But neuron and synapse can not replace passion or union
I filled my soul
With all that I desired
Until it became a blazing beacon
That lit the way and carried my call
Across empty miles
To you
You heard my song
Flew to my arms
In a moment my world changed
The chains of solitude evaporated
In a single perfect kiss
My eyes fell upon a world made new
A world with you
How joyful
The pain of awakened nerves and patient flesh released
How perfect
The song resonating in spaces reaerved for Us
How sweet
The memory

Crossroads Moon – October 24, 2018

Welcome to the season of indecision. Buckle up, it’s going to be a roller coaster ride that will either end with nausea and bruises or an elated arm pumping “YESS!!”

It’s also going to be a long ride that won’t officially roll to a stop until the total lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019.

That big box you see in the image is called a Grand Cross and it represents exactly what you might think, a crossroads. In this case, a crossroads of influence.

Think of the image as a flat surface, like a plate, only it’s loaded with pits and peaks and gravity defying turns, and at the outer edge of each direction is a magnet.

Now imagine that you are a steel ball resting somewhere near the middle but already polarized to a particular direction because of recent events and your overall emotional and psychological state prior to this conjunction.

If you were to enter the crossroads unaware or uncaring of the influences there’s a good chance you will gravitate further into that field. Especially if you are already drifting toward those fields where the magnetism is a little stronger. That’s the blue line.

Making sense? I hope so because it’s the best analogy I’ve come up with.

Here’s the cool part: Influence does not equal destiny.

Just because we may feel naturally inclined to roll in a particular direction does not mean we must roll in that direction. We always have a choice and when we make that choice, either consciously or unconsciously, we send energy to one of those magnets and because a charged magnet has a stronger attraction we will invariably be drawn towards it.

This is always true, not just now, and it is our best method of creating desired change. Some refer to it as the Law of Attraction.

So, Mr James, why the big explanation? What’s this buildup all about?

I’m glad you asked.

The magnets here, which mostly deal with love and relationships under this phase of the moon, represent polar opposites of each other: security/insecurity, commitment/abandonment, independence/interdependence, stability/instability.

The natural flow in this case, the position of the charged magnets, is at abandonment and instability. Yay!

Why “Yay?” Because this creates a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow and all I have to do is make a choice and commit to it. Fooo!

Why “Fooo?” Because it will be more difficult to commit during this time.

Therein, as Shakespeare says, lay the rub.

It’s likely that in the coming weeks we will feel both the desire to be in a lasting relationship and the impulse to walk away from the ones we already have. It’s also likely that we will be more inclined to hedonistic urges and (good news/bad news follows) suddenly find ourselves facing the possibility of entering a new relationship, with someone younger or less mature.

If you are single that’s sort of good news. If you are not single it’s going to be a challenge. Either way, it is unlikely to last because those who find themselves in that situation will be drawn there by the negative aspects of those polarities.

But wait! There’s more!

Because this crossroads will basically reverse itself in January the time in between could be a hell of a ride and you may find yourself pinballing back and forth across that plate until you are so beat up you throw in the towel.

Here’s what I suggest:

1. Make a choice. Stick to it. Everything you do is a choice. If you choose to ignore your choices and just go with the flow that is still a choice. So choose wisely and choose now and then focus only on that choice. Indecision is your enemy.

2. Be aware. Going through these next months with eyes closed will only make the ride worse. It’s always best to know what’s coming up and that requires we keep our eyes open and alert.

3. Be excited and unafraid. Getting onto a roller coaster with apprehension and fear will take all the fun out of it and this really could be the best ride you’ve ever been on.

Remember, as with all full moons this is a beginning, not an end.

So strap in close to your partner and enjoy the ride.

Hands up!!