Archive for category travel
I visited a heavenly place last weekend, where the breeze off Lake Michigan made the daisies dance, and the peaceful energy of the Bahai House of Worship filled me with hope. I don’t know much about the Bahai faith, but the tenets are inspiring: that no religion is superior to another, that all people are deserving of respect and justice, that racism must be overcome.
There are nine inscriptions carved above the entrances of the Temple:
– The earth is but one country; and mankind its citizens. (my favorite)
– The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me.
– My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure.
– Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner.
– Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent.
– I have made death a messenger of joy to thee; wherefore dost thou grieve?
– Make mention of Me on My earth that in My heaven I may remember thee.
– O rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My Trust.
– The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His glory.
The idea that we are put on the earth to seek justice and to love and feel joy resonates with me. I know there is a lot of work to be done and the world is full of injustice and rage, but it seems to me the starting point for healing is to find the peace within and radiate that outward.
Every time I travel I am energized and struck by new possibilities. As the plane begins its descent, I wiggle in my seat and think: I could live here (or there or there). The world brims with sparkling promise, the way ocean waves shimmer and dance all the way to the blurry far off horizon on a blue June day.
As the plane lands, I feel so full of life. In a flash I understand completely why even tired old horses prance so excitedly on windy fine mornings. They smell change on the wind.
I want to run to the edge of the boundaries—those fences I built or the world erected to contain me.
And then to push past that, and find the elusive place where I can live beyond old fears. Where I can revel. And completely relax. It could be anywhere. It could be inside me.
Will people think I’m strange if I prance in this spring wind?
Another 7×7 poem
Heater blasting hottest air
seat warmer radiating—
knuckles whiten on the wheel
as Neptune’s tail lashes hard;
it is three degrees below—
my heart catches fire watching
this sunset through driving snow.
the start of a poem:
driving home from Indiana
sunset blazing an orange goodbye
contrails crisscrossing the deepening sky
speeding through billows of dust
from the seed corn being processed
by harvesters crawling the darkening fields
Pendleton, Eden, Maxwell, tiny towns
brick houses, bonfires blazing in backyards,
November leaves burning, summer burning
up ahead, a great pyramid of golden kernels,
oh, how they glow, under sodium vapor lamps
such a harvest, this year, such a farewell
My Ohio home, lush as it is, looks faded in comparison, dully monochromatic. I feel like I’ve been colorblind until now, and am suddenly cured. New Mexico is red-orange and bright sienna and a million greens— dark pine, gray sage, springy alfalfa and the soft green cottonwood clouds seaming the arroyo behind Staff House and the dining hall.
And blues: robin’s egg morning skies that burst into turquoise afternoons that deepen to cobalt above far-off mountains that range from wet denim to teal to slate. Blues so deep you want to dive in and float. Blues that make me forget for a moment my love of oceans.
Perched on the Welcome Center porch, I have a clear view of Pedernal, the mountain Georgia O’Keefe claimed from God for her very own.
Cerro Pedernal is his full name —I’ve decided this mountain must be male— which in Spanish means Flint Hill. Like everything here, Pedernal changes by the hour, but right now he is crowned with clouds and scrimmed by rain, a looming, watery, flat-topped shadow in the near distance.
Closer in, the sandstone and gypsum cliffs form a backdrop to kids on bikes and the changing kaleidoscope of residents and workers that zigzag between the buildings. The cliffs are a multi-toned tapestry of gold, peach and terracotta red dotted with dark juniper knots and etched with shadows forming a thousand faces.
There are spirits here, in the shadowy mountains and cliffs. I feel them, silently watching those of us who come and go, seducing people like me from flatter, grayer places.
“It is all very beautiful and magical here–a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breathe it, let the sun bake it into you. The skies and land are so enormous, and the detail so precise and exquisite that wherever you are you are isolated in a glowing world between the macro and micro, where everything is sidewise under you and over you, and the clocks stopped long ago.”–Ansel Adams, describing Ghost Ranch, in a letter to Alfred Steiglitz ,1937