Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Death of Osama Bin Ladin and One Man's View

Somehow, I think it is fitting that I was out of it while this “news event” was taking place. It seems to solidify a different perspective that I have from others around me that started on September 11th 2001. It seems to spark this gulf that exists in the way I see the world, and the way that the Media's America is portrayed. It speaks to the sickness that is eating at the heart of a honest American Soul.

On 9/11, I was deep in the backcountry of Glacier Peak Wilderness. I was there with a good friend of mine, John Solo while we did a 4 day traverse of the northern slopes of that mountain. It was the high times of the bloom and the views of the Mountains and Valleys seemed to sign to a man of the true nature of the world. Having spent the previous day arduously climbing the endless switchbacks of Vista Ridge from the Suiattle River Bridge, we sat overlooking the views. That day we passed many travelers and thru-hikers, sharing stories of their experiences, getting in touch with our fellow kindered spirits that walked these trails. This was humanity at it's best, sharing experiences, sharing food, and sharing knowledge of the trail ahead.

The only odd thing about this day, was there were no airplanes. John and I had watched the contrails of a jet double back on their path, returning to Canadian Airspace. I remember causually turning to John, and mentioning a Joke, “They must have forgotten the Boyd's Coffee..” A pop culture pun on an old tv commercial. It was when we came back that I noticed how nuts my fellow American's had become. Flags at half mass, mourners, and that low drum-beat of patriotism and revenge reverberating from a country in the grips of fear and seeking revenge. As the days went by, and the press and politicians stoked those Drums, we jumped into two wars of “revenge”. Our natural reaction was like that of a wounded cat, strike out with full claws while licking your wound.

That mentality, allowed us to be tricked and lead in wrong directions. People don't seem to remember that now. But I remember it from those days. A disturbed feeling of what my fellow American's were feeling, and the large gulf that existed between me and them. For me, the viewpoint was that we were seeing the reaction of, “man's-inhumanity to fellow man.” Look to the sources of how we got there and the reaction that was released. There was more to be gained out of this then just rote revenge and lashing out. For a large part most of us did, but there was still the odd justification for extending ourselves out into two wars in the name of crushing Al-Queda.

The root of crushing Al-Queida lay in the simple act of changing the world that those people lived in. In many cases, those who would follow Bin Ladin's words were those that had seen the hard knocks of the world, how the crushing weight of poverty, lack of opportunity, and shear hippocritial propaganda of the commercial state dealt with there life which was far different from those of us that lived in the crystal palace of western civilization. You don't have to go across the world to find places where these people are from. They might not have the zeal of far off lands and foreign names, but they lay here in our slums and ghettos as Gang's. People trying to find meaning and make sense of a world that they have fallen off from. The key as we later learned in Iraq and Afghanistan was not in military might, but by improving the lives and social connections of the people in these places. That was the way of real change.

Yesterday, as I was getting an examination by the doctor for an Accident I was in Sunday, I was asked a series of cognitive questions to test how I had fared from a concussion by the steering wheel of my late Ford Ranger. He asked me, “what is today's date?” “What important event happened yesterday?” I looked at him and thought it was odd that he should said that. I said, it was May Day, celebration of people and spring. He said, “No... We got Osama...” There was a sort of satisfied look on his face. I had not felt nausea till then, even though I had been in a vehicle accident. There in the face of what I thought was an intelligent man, was that old septor of revenge. I wanted to tell him, we hadn’t got anyone, he got us... He let lose a dragon, and gave the example he needed to wage his war.. We had not changed, and there was still more for us yet to learn about ourselves before we could accept the problems with our own society, let alone one on distant shores hunkered down in the mountains of Pakistan..

Osama Bin Ladin maybe dead, but people are still suffering without hope. There are still places where the disillusioned are looking for answers and, extreme men can be swayed to fight rather then build. Until, we change that, until we look at why this place in the human heart exist, there will be no peace, from them or ourselves... And more then technology or materialism, this is one of the most important things we can do with our country in these times.. Personally, I think it starts with turning off the media and getting to know your neighbor, one person at a time..

Just a thought,

– Ridgewalker

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where is our Source...

What if I told you that the world was going to be much grander in the days forward then they have been past… Would the cynical nature of hard times really get in the way of that. Or would hope and the power of human innovation ascend beyond that? Do people need more the just a paycheck to make a difference? Do they instead need something that calls deep and renders that stirring sense of purpose.. Where once meet with a country so prone to the extraordinary that it should transform the people as a whole and beg more then what was once before…

Would this be a better day, or just something that fell unto the endless lines of the daily dialog, consumed with the ordinary, with the troubles we face and the tragedy of this materialistic lifestyle that plagues us… Would somewhere in these stories, the outreach to those who have not a hope in the world, being shown the light of inspiration. Or those who are struggling under unbearable odds of this human existence, still look to the horizon and see that new day, brought by their own hand and their hard earned toil…. Now that.. That indeed would be a story worth telling… Something that would be worthy of the medias interest and worth the reading…

And yet in it all it would be an American Story… One told from each farm, city and township across our great land. Woven together by great highways and lines that tie us all, and yet one that is different to each corner, sacred to the earth from which they bring their bounty. From the story in which each story weaves in is solemn line, and it’s eyes looking up in hope… For as long are there are stories there is always hope. As long as there is heart in a country so wide that one word can barely describe it, there shall be promise…

So bring on the pundits, the neah sayers, the people cynical of change. Bring on those who whould look at temporary gain, over the long vision of a people evolving. The politicians who do not take the time to learn the story of those they fly over, and the people who do not follow the discourse of our era. We need a new tone, a new speech, one that does not look to divide, but yet unite. One that takes the strengths of each and builds it to be more as a whole. One that brings hope and action in places where they have not seen that. For then we shall see an honest change, a good change and shall endure this national tragedy that rampant greed invoked, and the heart of America was quelled in. It is not that we are different that divides us… It is precisely that which unites us… After all something a few of us used to say back in High School… United We Stand, Divided We Fall…

Monday, January 10, 2011


Softly, the flake descend in the open meadow,
The extended green boughs of great cedars turn to white,
As with the passage of the ghosts of the for deposit their essence.
I walk silently through the winter forest,
Everywhere the sound of water in its passing,
Yet still the silence is broken by the muffle of the flake.
I am caught in a dream it seems,
Yet the vitality of nature reminds me that it is all real
And passing the time before me.

A call to my spirit pushes me down the trail,
every so often slowing my pace to stop beside a brook
or a downed log.
I ascend slowly towards the ridge cliffs,
The echos of a waterfall calling deep to my heart.
A lone passenger of this way,
The forest for a moment seems alone,
Only halls of silent mist between the trees.
A deer reminds me better,
First glancing slowly towards my direction.
It seems I can hear his pulse quicken with mine as well,
For now the forest seems to come alive before me.
he bounds off…

It has indeed been far too long since I seen his spirit,
And like wise far to long since I have seen my own,
Between these woods.
A trail junction, a sign with an arrow,
All leading higher still towards the palisades.
Ancient Snoquera like a veil streaming down towards the floor.
I push further even more.

The trail is among the hemlock and the cedar,
The salal forms the ground,
Each a different shade of green.
The moss hangs from the trees electric with life,
Telling of the forests long damp age.
All are dusted with a coat of white,
Again the switchback takes me higher still.

I push around the corner to see waterfalling from the top palisafde,
The mist hiding the twists and turns of the rock wall.
Edge with white against the deep purple rock,
The thunder of the falls seems to remind me of the bellows.
The climber in me looks up the short cracks,
Snaking their way, block by block to the summit,
My heart seems to follow my eyes upward into the blue above the ledge.
My chest reverberates like a drum following pulse of the cataracts flow.

After a bit, I try and follow the trails loop beneath the crags edge.
Soon I am pushed out onto the loose talus,
Lost the trail long ago.
I told myself adventure is what I seek,
And so I begin to descend the slides towards the camp below,
Loose rocks covered with moss and old slides
Beginning to flow below my feet.
But this is the place I have been before,
High on the mountain, darkness approaches
And the cold wind beginning to blow.

With an old confidence, I place each step,
Lasting not to long to begin to go,
Yet keeping pace with the fading light.
A thousand feet seem to click off quickly,
And yet there still there is another to go.
My approach is found,
Down into the forest’s edge,
I find the deers evidence, following drop to drop
I am not alone.

A rock here, a log there,
A jump to a bed of hemlock and cedar needles,
It seems almost fluid, like the cascading streams
Descending ever below.
Soon it levels off and I turn my bearing,
A warm cabin and hot coffee,
Seems to make me glow…
Again the woods seeps in,
And I know I am home…

Monday, January 3, 2011



What would Helms Hammer Hand resounding in the deep feel like at dawn of the new day... There within the caverns of a hidden fiord along the walls of the North Sea and the fogs of Norway? As the light from a far off distant star, giving all her blaze of glory to the life of this untold cold world. Would the ringing tones of steel resound after the first rays strike it's forges depths.. Or would the rining notes of her light spell more to the bass procussion that would follow after each note...

For Sol is our soul...

We are blessed with her presence, while not the greatest star she is indeed our own. Giving that eternal warmth that springs forward every new day. One in which our music spins forth those first lines of song. Inspiration of the dawn within our own heart. The touch of the wild within our souls. It is that feeling that all that live here on terra look with inspring eyes as those first rays strike the mountain tops ablaze.

For Sol is our soul...

As our day crosses from first moments till high noon. Light glams upon the forests and the stream. In the early morning mists move and shift with her warmth, then fade away as the brightness overtakes us. Spirits as we are moving, constantly moving about our day, once in awhile catch her glimps. Standing for a moment, taking in her warmth and then moving on in our corrid existance. We are but children of her light, given energy through the long leaves of green that capture her spirit and warmth... We too are transitient like the river flowing ever touched by those lasting rays...

For Sol is our soul...

And yet the rays of light in these winter hights, seem to strike like long forlorned stances. As we approach the coming evening... our long lingering toughts as the days dwan fades to black... And others begin to spring about. Points as far that no man can hope to reach, and yet our imagination keeps holding its hopes in it's grasps.. These are the rays of light that fuels our minds... Or Mirids of colors and endless horizons. Potential that alights out lives and burn fire to our dreams.. Ever knowing as we pass though the night, Sol is just beyond the horizon... Waiting for that new day again...

For Sol is our soul...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ocean of Samsara

Thoughts that run though my mind tonight...

The Ocean of Samsara

Alas, is not Samsara like the Sea?
Drawing as much water as one pleases,
It remains the same without abating.
Are not the three precious jewels
given from the heights of Mt Meru,
That never can be shaken by anyone?
9th song of Milarepa

Samsara is that endless sea of illusion that surrounds us. It seems to flow back and forth like a tide pulling us from here to there, always looking for the horizon. Seeing land fall, yet never able to reach out to climb out of this ocean of delusion. Somehow in these times it seems that I am surrounded by such delusions. Spoken by the talking heads that abound, always screaming out there endless banter. In the end, just filling the air with more constructs of illusions, turning the wheel... Where does one walk from here, how does one cope with such excess of humanity railing and fighting each other about those things that seem to matter not, while turning their backs on those things that are close and indeed far more important. Can one really look past it all and walk away, or should one. After all the Buddha himself when faced with individual nirvana was turn to the path of the Bodhisattva. To look towards the salvation of all others to teach them to turn away from their delusion that keep a man from barely seeing the glimmer of the moon in the nights sky! It is here that the three jewels are presented before us to find out our understanding... After all that is the most important thing that can possible be brought forward... And yet many turn away...

I think to the worlds that I have created recently. Those that seem to have their ups and downs. In each there is a slice of reality, but it is easy to get caught up in the waves of Samsara that abound. Frustration and unsettled tone seem to come to the surface. The strong desire to leave and walk away come like a burning seed deep withing the heart charkra. Yet there is a knowledge that this feeling is but an illusion. That the single moments of what surrounds me, the people I meet and the path that lays ahead is just as valuable here if not more so, then any other place. Without a community or Shanga, it is easy to become distracted from that path. One needs guidance and that requires admitting that you cannot go it alone with all things. It is indeed a moment to become humble. Enlightenment within a community of people is important. When I am out in the wilderness I see the real world about me many times, but it is without one part of Gaia, Humans. We make up 6-7 Billion of the species on the planet. Other then insects and bacteria, there is no other greater population of species (not sure statistically on this one). When trying to look past the cloak of delusion, one cannot forget to add in the human part of the sphere, for we make up a great amount of what actually occurs on the planet.

So in those moments, like today where the Ocean of Samsara seems to be clouding my course, it takes just a moment to think of the view from atop Mt Meru and look out across the clouds, knowing that one can climb above it like a fall day back on at Hidden Lakes Lookout. But one must make it to the trail to begin to ascend...

– Ridgewalker

Friday, March 6, 2009

SEA 7 - Haystack

SEA 7 - Haystack

Setting off before dawn, following familure roads of the valley,
crossing new bridges and setting in at the old parking lot in the
woods. Taoist thought cites that life is a journey of cycles, as true
as the passage of the four seasons. The earths rotation about a star
as an eternal beat, and yet each cycle builds upon the last as a
spiral of life growing outward. Each modifing tempo and rhythmn to the
eternal beat. The familur gives us comfort, and yet even old steep
trail change each year. Shouldering the pack, the trail lead off into
the fern laden forest, and empty alder baughs waithing from springs
whisper to bring it to life.

Switchbacks make up the tick of the trail metronome. The pacing of
poles keeping time inbetween. The stands of western hemlock, blend
into hues of green and grey, leading the eyes off in a blur, as the
trail keeps it's beat. These second growth stands shadow the few
remaining black spires of an old fire a century in age. Once at the
Snag Flats, the old cedars and Douglas firs tower in their domain. A
lone Raven crows out his prescence, the low tones of his call echoing
amount the stands giving a sence of space.

The switchbacks begin again in ernest, rising up the mountain sides.
Others training for marathon runs descend past me, only to tag the
bottom and meet me upon my return as the make the summit again. As
views cast out towards the valley, the white vail of Tahoma stands to
the south, and the white lace begins to fill the path I follow.

Opening up to the boulder field, a rocky tooth rises above it all. The
familur sight if my first scramble, brings me back to long summer days
of a child. Finding the small lines that lead to the summit. Somehow
todays ice keeps me from raising into it's folds. But it's presence
seems to warm even on a chilly day.

Looking out at the farmlands of the Snoqualmie, snow capped Alpine
wilderness, and the towers of the city by the Sound, I feel calm. Yet
deep inside as I look out wanderlust still inhabits my soul. On the
descent, I see a man hiking up his pace in familur 3 mph pace. Wearing
the same tan desert shirt, and dusty lightweight pack, I know him to
be a fellow Thru-hiker. We talk for 20 mind sharing stories of the
trail, each desiring to return to those free summer days. It seemed a
week separated us along the Pacific Crest, and the stories yet seem to
remain the same. Bidding ado, I follow the footpath to the valley
below, returning to the city domain. But my heart seem to remain,
walking along mountain lines, thinking of high country days.

Along the waters of a Seattle Rain Retreat,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sea 6 - Hope In a Canyon of Grey

SEA 6 - Hope In a Canyon of Grey

The rain seems to echo in these canyons. Drounding out all ambient
sounds. Only the rapid hiss of the drops falling upon these man made
rocks. Time slowing to the moment of each drop, stoking the smooth
film that covers the court yard. Here in this innercity plaza, alone
with the rain falling from the heavens, reminders that even within the
deep concrete canyons, nature is her own master. As I look outA, time
speeds up, bring each drop to the rhythmn and the beats of the moment.
A man walks before me on his way, a bus travels by, and the city
unfolds, layer after layer, in it's speeding rythmn, but only I
remain... Watching, observing, the ever present naturalist, taking
notes, filling pages behind glass lenses, always watching and waiting.

The city has been my home for five months, and yet the wilderness has
always been just beyond the horizon. Here in these concrete canyons, I
wait, summers rays just beyond the mark. And as the cherry bloosems
begin to bud, I know time is short and I must begin moving again. The
wanderlust in my soul pulls me closer, with trails and job planned
ahead, I have spent the last few days taking in the City-by-the-Sound.

We live in a time when loss is common, the death of the middle-class,
as retirement, and futures seemto fold. Where many sit and asses their
assests, but do they really know those that are true. In times of
hardship, it is friends and joy that find themselves to be the
greatest of Assest. Illreplaceable by material consernse, they are
what pulls us forward through these times. In concrete canyons and
suburban plains, a generation searches for wonder, laying just beyond
their fingertips.

The sudden burst of wings, flapping and snapping in unison, broken by
the distant sound of a ferry's horn reverberating aginst the glass and
steel walls surrounding. Awoken by a dream, I watch the mass circle
against the sky to land again at the fountains edge, brought to life
by the urban pulse. And yet through these canyon walls, the Sea is
within sight. On this spring day I can smell the salty air of low
tide. The sun marks it's time leading the eyetowards mountain
wilderness, just beyond it's edge.

And through it all Natures presence even within the domain of man,
seems to bring Hope to the Traveller's heart. Even here wonder at life
can find itself... Expression... Nurturing and calling! Follow it, and
the journey will beginonce again... Again, along the long thin line,
walking out the miles to the beat of footsteps of the true mile... The
long mile, home...

Along the waters of a Seattle Rain Retreat,