In the small community of Arlee, MT, off the beaten path and pretty much in the middle of nowhere, is the Ewan Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. Last Thursday, in pouring down rain and intermittent hail, I arrived at this serene place, donned my rain gear, and enjoyed an hour of meditative walking amongst what I am trusting is, one thousand Buddhas.
Despite the gnarly weather and my freezing cold hands, I enjoyed the Buddhas in all of their states of existence, from nearly perfect to crumbling. Because really, while we are each nearly perfect, we too are in a state of crumbling and decline.
Hello friends and family! My travels have been amazing and I am happy to say that I am in a spot with some service for just a few minutes. I will be heading forward into some more gorgeous country here soon and wanted to touch base and let everyone know that the journey is more than I could’ve asked for.
I got to spend the last two nights outside Devils Tower.
I am still at a loss for words… Sacred space, sacred place.
I will write more tomorrow night; for now, I continue east.
The start of day four is cold! I’ve been at Glacier National Park since Tuesday evening and last night brought two thunderstorms with rain and hail and wind. Exciting until this morning when I had to pack up a wet rain fly and damp tent.
However, two other great adventures were had prior to the storms. The first was my visit to Wallace, Idaho to see the Mummified Mermaid. Isn’t she beautiful?!
Wallace also claims to be the Center of the Universe. There is even a sign saying so, therefore it must be true. Got off the interstate to see the Savenac Historic Tree Nursery and stumbled across this place. Great milkshake and Rainier Cherries.
I now have a full appreciation of why Montana is called Big Sky Country. I’ve never seen a sky like it! Stayed at the Timber Wolf Resort and Campground. Great location, about nine miles out of Glacier National Park; fantastic hosts. I highly recommend this place. Not only do you miss the crowds in the park campgrounds, but you’ll have the opportunity meet some pretty nice folks.
The second great adventure was my hike to Avalanche Lake. Alas, I’ve miles to drive. Another post later in the day.
“She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis…” Tom Petty has been gracing my travels, as has some fabulous music from my cosmic doppelgänger, Lindsay. Thanks for the shared playlists!
Meet Limonita. She’s a good girl whom I have yet to introduce to Elvis.
Last night I stayed at Camp Coeur d’Alene. Nice campground along Lake Coeur d’Alene. Was awakened by red-winged blackbirds and others I could not identify at 4:15. Drifted back to sleep for a bit.
For the early opening of the day, the closing is quite late. Tomorrow I will introduce you all to Limonita. You’ve heard of limoncello; I’ve acquired a limonauto. To be fair, she has handled like a champ and aside from a check engine light I thought was resolved by the mechanic at 7am, she has run quite smoothly. Let’s not talk about about bent wheel that also was replaced this morning. Sigh.
What is a heroine’s journey without obstacles to overcome?!
It is nearly midnight, and while Roslyn was a nice stop with a bite to eat at The Brick, a stroll past what was once Dr. Fleischman’s office, and a meander down the road to Roslyn’s cafe, the highlight of the day was the spectacular sunset that lasted for nearly two hours!
I am both pleased and sorry to say I took no photos; I was doing 70 mph. Pink and tangerine to purple and crimson. Stunning! And the full moon rising along the opposite horizon, red to orange… breathtaking!
My tent is pitched, my sleeping pad inflated, and I am grateful to have had a hot shower. Now to turn off the headlamp and fall asleep to a moon climbing over the mountains and the serenade of bull frogs.
I am continually surprised by the passage of time and speed of life. Having not written in nearly four years, I pick-up with another cross-country move to Wisconsin. Perhaps beyond.
Stay tuned for stories of adventure, transformation, and random ramblings.
I heard the call of Cackling Geese this morning as I arrived at my office in the West Eugene Wetlands on this last day of summer. For the last four years I have lived here they have been my mindfulness bell from the autumn migration to the spring migration. They are returning from the Yukon-Kuskokwin Delta in Alaska where they breed, and will spend the winter in the West Eugene Wetlands and points further south.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
— Mary Oliver
What is your mindfulness bell in nature?
I have the best view from my desk, into the West Eugene Wetlands. This month’s poem is an original, written this morning as I start my work day. Namaste.
Gentle breeze blowing Blades of grass bend on elbow My thoughts imitate
The weather this month has been anything but usual. Here in Oregon, we have been warm with little precipitation. Our mountains have maybe 15% of the snowpack they should have, our rivers are low, the rain comes in a misty drizzle. While I was in Pennsylvania the weather was odd; minus zero temps, little snow, lots of sunshine.
But on my yoga mat I find stability in my own weather patterns. The fluctuations remind me to return to my breath, to return to the only thing that seeks my attention, the present moment.
This month’s poem comes from my sunrise yoga practice, from within the storm.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A Piece of the Storm
By Mark Strand
From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed.
That’s all There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
‘It’s time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening.’