September 2010

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Caring

When we honestly ask ourselves which people in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

Henri Nouwen

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Glittering diamonds of dew; emerald leaves, needles, and moss; ripe ruby huckleberries; opalescent water and stone under a brilliant lapis lazuli sky.  These are the many jewels of Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, Mother Nature’s living, breathing cathedral of earth, water, sometimes fire, and air.  Despite their glimmering and pristine character, they hardly encompass the magic and wonder of this truly special place.

As I am one who sees the beauty, power, and resilience of the natural world wherever I go, urban and rural settings alike, I thought I knew what to expect at the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center – a grand place of primal waters and trees older than the nation I call home.  After all, I’ve been to myriad forests and seen the majesty of trees towering above me.  I’ve witnessed the scrappy plant proudly blossoming from a tiny crack in the sidewalk.  I’ve seen water of such blindingly brilliant hues as to leave me speechless.  Despite all of this, I was wholly unprepared for my experience at Opal Creek.  The beauty and peace I felt was staggering and resonated deep in my bones.  Every step, glance, and sound steeped in the sublime.

It all starts with the journey, literally and figuratively.  We load the car here at home, drive south through the cacophony of morning rush hour before turning east.  Already there is a shift.  There are fewer cars, more trees, large stands of oaks peppered between farms, shopping centers, and even a prison.  The landscape changes again as we make gains in elevation, and the grassy knolls turn into vast stands of evergreens.  Their clean scent mingles with the dust of the dirt road under our wheels.  We park the car, but we aren’t quite to the end of our journey.  We walk three miles out of time.  It could be the 1930′s of rustic wood cabins, gold panning, starlit skies, and cast iron.  And in those places where there is no sound save the chirp of a camouflaged bird or the drip of of a watercourse borne of centuries, we might just be in America before it was, two nameless faces living off the land.

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Finish

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Life List

I’ve thought about writing a list like this for a long time yet always worried that it meant that what I’m doing right now is lacking in merit.  A shift occurred, however, when I had that moment of realization that there is no THERE without HERE.  The future doesn’t exist without today.  So thank you, Andrea at Superhero Journal, for inspiring me to voice my dreams to the world.

1. Be a successfully published novelist.

2. Win an award for my work.

3. Be interviewed by Tavis, Terry, and Charlie.

4. Be paid handsomely for work that I love.

4. Visit Cambodia and India.

5. Really know America.

6. Be financially independent.

7. Master the Yoga Shakti DVD and meet Shiva Rea.

8. Love myself, inside and out (and tell my thirteen year old self,  “It’s okay”).

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Think…

It is never too late to give up our prejudices.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Happy Anniversary Mom and Daddy – 42 years!

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