Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Revisiting page 10 of Up the Mtn

Up the Mtn #203 This haiga reminds me of an old oil painting, one whose base layer of gesso is peeling or flaking.The former trunk, is now a stump in the Willamette National Forest, aside an old logging road. It has seen quite a bit of life, and death. Once it thrived which is evident in the width of it's trunk, yet it has been felled for the most part. Still even in death it speaks to me, and to all that take the time to look at it. Its bark is like organic gesso which is peeling away, slowly, yet surely, shedding it's outer layer. To me this shedding of bark is akin to an old oil painting with old pieces of dried out oil paint flaking away at the edges of textured brush strokes. Only it's not the oil paint but the underlying gesso that is drying out and shrinking until chunks begin to crack and fall or peel off the trunk, the tree's canvas.

It is this process that is so interesting and mesmerizing to me as I pass it. I past this flaking trunk stump on an almost daily basis, while climbing back up the old logging road from the McKenzie River. There was something still alive about this seemingly dead trunk stump. I saw and still do see some of my self in it. It, I, am symbolic of life's transitions. I'm older now not as spry as I once was, yet still I stand and move. The trunk stump, although dead on one level, is still a distinct visual part of nature. In essence the trunk stump acts as a mummified part of the forest. Although dead it is still and integral part of the forest, still intersectionally a part of a greater whole. A puzzle piece that is required to complete this forest, and it acts as a sort of symbolism for life's cycle, and the seasonal changes that can be so vivid here in this Pacific Northwest Forest.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Revisiting "Up the Mtn" page 6

           The first poem #138 was honkadoried and inspired by a Richard Wright Haiku. 
The second #235 speaks to hiking along the McKenzie River Trail near my hermit hovel. Then seeing yellowed and browned pine needles blown about and sounding like snowflakes as they fell to the forest floor. 
The third #112 speaks to the view at the end of an out n' back hike, about an hour from my hovel. The hike out is a pretty constant uphill hike, one that culminates in a beautiful view. From this lookout you can see Three Fingered Jack and two of the Three Sisters Mtn Range. You are over looking a lush green valley between you and the previously mentioned Mtn Ranges. Your now in the Western edge of the Cascade Mtn Range. Here it rains for days at a time, and has sporadic winds. If you sit long enough you can see helicopter logging going on during the weekdays. On the weekends you can spot helicopter tours going by, or Forest Service- Bureau ofLand Management Helicopter slowly perusing the valleys and Mtn sides. Most all of these helicopter are flying close to the valley floor, so you're usually looking down upon the air traffic below you.
Some of these helicopters are looking for folks like me, living or squatting in this National Forest. Many of them know us and tolerate us as long as we keep our sites clean. As the Forest Rangers will say off the record, "we'd rather have folks that love these woods as much as we do watching out for it". It is truly an awe inspiring place, a sacred place for me. It's where I grew up and where I lived on and off from 19 until I was 52. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Revisiting "Up the Mtn" page 5

         Page five #168. For me this poem speaks to embracing rather than fighting the good fight, until death overwhelms you. I think it speaks to embracing the illness that may one day claim my life. embracing the pain, the physical, the emotional pain. Embracing our spiritual essence that is epitomized through yielding to the inevitable, regardless of how long we struggle to stay above water in the air of life, and give way to the beauty of spiritually allowing ourselves to drift and yield into death's waters. Whether we face the chronic decline of death through cancer or an acute death in say a fatal car accident, yielding and letting go just prior to death allows us to release from mortal issues, partners, children, finances, etc. During death it is time to let all of life's issues fall by the wayside. Still most in the Anglo Western World find this extremely difficult to do. They cling and fight the good fight, they cling to children, partners, and life's mundane issues. In doing so we miss out on the most significant experience of our life, our death. Like yin & yang. Missing out on yielding to death, causes us to leave life with unfinished business. All of which some say might cause us to return yet again until we get this death thing right, and move on. 
         Experiencing death alongside someone who is embracing it fully, undistracted by earthly concerns versus someone caught up in earthly issues is a humbling, and spiritually deep experience. If your lucky enough to be with someone when they pass, you might even intangibly sense their spiritual essence leaving their body. This spiritual essence is a universal one, not mired in religious faith or ideology, spiritual death is beyond such trivial issues such as what religion one is or isn't associated with. Death is simply death, it does not discriminate based on ones spiritual or religious views or lack thereof.
        All of this is what I think of when I wrote and now read this poem. If we can drift away like cherry blossoms from a tree, we can be open to what lies beyond life, heaven, hell, or otherwise. Or we can resist it like a rock sinking into a river. Only to be picked up once again and thrown back in again till we get it right. Then, once getting it right we drift, as if we're blossoms in the wind or on a river being carried down stream or across a field into another place, into the beyond.
This isn't what I believe, nor is this what my faith tells me, it's what I know. 

          most beautiful death

   life epitomized while yielding

      drifting cherry blossoms

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Up the Mtn revisited

             Since some of you online have asked me about my book Up the Mtn, I thought I would revisit it's pages here on my blog over the summer. Summer for us here in Alaska has begun. The Grizzly our out again. Bear scat alongside their unmistakably massive clawed paw tracks, are all over the place up here in the Interior of Alaska. I live here in the sub arctic, just south of the Arctic Circle

    Hhere is page one, I hope folks enjoy it.

             This first poem Up the Mtn #256 speaks of the leaves of a tree & or human love. So lovely leaves, our love for leaves, alongside human love are all falling and or ceasing to be as they once were. All of which speaks to the evolution of the seasons, of time, of the maturation of human to human love and our love for leaves. Whether human love grows or ebbs it still matures over time over seasons. Seasonal maturation inevitably ends in a death of some sort. This seasonal death is then followed by rebirth, if not in humans then in leafs. So it is for trees, woman, or nature. 
            The last line, Autumned love, speaks to this theme. Autumned love insinuates death, change, and or maturation. It speaks to change, death, and the inevitable rebirth of life or love come spring. 

            Poem #153 continues #256's theme of foliage.It speaks of death falling and rebirth boughs bud or renewal. It speaks of an endless cycle of death & life, of rebirth, on and on. . . And on. It simultaneously speaks to the nature of nature and the nature of woman. Whether your rooted in dharmic or abrahamic religions or otherwise, it is applicable to all on some level.

          The last poem on this page Up the Mtn #141 deviates a bit from the previous two. It speaks to the aftermath of death, of a tree shedding if you will a pine needleIt speaks to the melding of nature and humanity. It speaks to how nature can insert itself into our daily man made existence upon the tatami. Once this insertion of nature occurs it can pause us. This pause causes us to reflect upon the simplistic beauty nature creates anywhere and everywhere. Here nature acts as an emotional catalyst initiating an aha moment, an emotional reaction to the seemingly mundane in our environment.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"Up the Mtn" backcover, available for free as an ebook on

leafs of aged grass

drifting between blossoms

cherry petals

ethereal transcendence

perennial ephemera

(My sense's late mother in Kyoto 2006)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Alyeskan Interior #70


winter's   dark - ice - cold - snow

spring's haute couture . . .  blooming

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017