Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Olympic Peninsula, which is not irregular for me, but the unpredictable conditions steered me away from my original intention of visiting the beaches and drew me to almost exclusive focus on the Sol Duc river. I will share some of my observations from various spots along the river. . .
Sol Duc Falls plunges down the canyon that is now filled with light with the creeping sun. The shaded and relatively cold shadows above the falls transform the spray crystallizing it into a brilliant design around the falls. The spray refracts the light beam and together they paint rainbows of color. The power of the falls is both energizing and deafening.
A light mist billows through the forest and merges with angled-morning sunlight. The forest begins to awake out of a dense silence; a few birds begin to shatter the quiet in their melody. Lichens and mosses become alive in new color with the highlights of the morning sun. Echoes of the rolling Sol Duc river are heard as it moves with a broader chorus with the addition of spring snowmelt; layered in turquoise it rolls and tumbles over large boulders as it moves downstream.
Large old growth trees provide shelter and habitat to a large number of species and act like a sponge and filter for the river. These trees are great temperature regulators; I can feel the cool and crispness to the air as they split the light beams that move over a tributary creek that runs into the Sol Duc River.
The morning sunlight illuminates the light fog that hangs over the Sol Duc River as it is nearing completion on its 78-mile journey. The river begins to shift to a more oceanic ecology as it nears the Pacific; neighboring forests become less dense and the river becomes wider .The westward wind carries fragments of the ocean as it entangles the flora. Contrasted with its powerful beginnings emanating from the glaciers and cutting through the canyons with much force; the Sol Duc is seen in relative silence as it moves softly during a quiet morning.
The moon hangs over the Sol Duc River and warmly lit trees at this popular fishing spot along the river. The Sol Duc River eventually joins the Bogachiel River to form the Quillayute River which leads to the Pacific Ocean at La Push. The Sol Duc watershed is an impressive 219 square miles!
A brief poem I thought up along the river:
When nature comes to life
When silence springs to sound
The complex chorus of the earth
Speaks to the inner stillness that is found.
Here are some musings on mystery/imagination and a couple recent photos from the last couple weeks.
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of all true art and science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. “- Albert Einstein
Some of my personal thoughts and a poem of mine:
Every action that we take as a mysterious and imaginative component to it. We know not of the outcome, but can only imagine what result our actions will take. The whole of life is blanketed in this sort of mystery. We are given some initial puzzle pieces and an area with which to work, and we must collect and create the rest of the puzzle along the way until we complete it and say, so this was the whole picture it formed.
When I can’t move any further I reach an edge
It is then up for the imagination to tend
To carry me to lands unseen
To weave this world out of a dream
To shatter barriers of worry and fear
And allow creativity to steer
To roads which see no end
This path always exists right around the bend!
Here are some haikus I have written lately with some corresponding imagery. Enjoy!
Mt. St. Helens
Mountains return to Earth
Flowers grow out of the ash
Ode to the Glacier Peak Wilderness
Blooming for Many Miles
a colorful reminder
of what we can be
Nature Sharpens Sense
On the reflection of life’s events
all seems more brilliant
Imagine a flowing stream. The stream is going to do whatever is necessary to follow the most efficient route possible to its destination. It will, by design, move to an area with the least amount of conflict possible. I like to think back to this flowing stream as a beautiful metaphor to how to navigate situations that arise in life. Though it’s tempting to go an immediate route full of conflicting items at times, it is always wisest to take the path of least resistance. Like a stream flowing to the river, it’s always wise to arrange your course of action with the destination in mind. If there is a source of negativity in your life or an issue that must be dealt with, I find taking a step back and briefly thinking about the different courses all of your potential actions will create in this situation. In many of life’s situations, there are a number of ways you can handle something, but usually only a couple different responses can get you to where you need to go smoothly. Continuing to choose conflict builds the resistance you will face on your path. When you react to somebody in a negative way once, you give permission to this situation to arise again. With every peaceful response to a situation, you further carve a safe course to experiencing less conflict in the future, and ideally reach your river of satisfaction!
The image is somewhat irrelevant, but I am adding it for complementary purposes.
Using Constructive Thought
Recently an idea I have been thinking about is the energy and emotions tied to thinking, and how every thought you have carries with it seeds of an emotion, whether constructive or destructive. From this idea one can work to control how they choose to think to build better health or perhaps indulge in grumpiness if that is their source of pleasure.
By these examples, it is obvious that how we think plays a pivotal role in the life that we lead. Knowing this we can move towards steering thinking in a way that builds energy and momentum. The same equation applied to destructive thinking could also be applied to constructive thinking. Using constructive thinking you could eventually inspire a state of health. And every moment carries an opportunity to go one way or the other by a matter of choice. Much of the stress we feel from thinking is born out of reactions to ideas which are neutral at their core which we then decide to react to these ideas based on preconceived thoughts we might have had about them.
Doing anything creative can lead to this fork in the road of destruction and construction. Often creative things are riddled in self-doubt, comparison, condescension and lots of questions. It is helpful in this regard to think of yourself as your only competitor and everyone else as an ally. Because in reality you are only competing against past works of your own. You should only hold yourself at the liberty to compare your work to your past creations and accomplishments, and in doing so not be so self-critical. Take a fairly neutral approach and remember that this past version of you did the best it could with the knowledge and equipment it had. Finding joy in the process of the art is one of the most important aspects to constructive thinking in art. There does come times when the actual creation is more valued than the creative process, but to keep energy high there has to be a lot of joy coming from creating. It is easy to lose sight in the product and not really have it justify the why. It is important to find lots of joy in all aspects of the creative process for your art, otherwise there is going to be stress roadblocks and going back to the stress equation above a resulting loss of quality of life and creative thinking. And I’ve found that I am most joyful when creativity is running high!
To summarize: Thinking can influence your health for better or worse. You can easily manage your thinking and use it for constructive things like extra energy to apply to creative endeavors .
A recent trip into the alpine lakes wilderness not only brought me up close and personal with some beautiful alpine scenery, it also had me encountering shopping-center like crowds .Large groups of people like this are not entirely uncommon in areas along the I-90 corridor, especially the closer to the metro area you go. Counting nearly a couple hundred people on the hike to my destination had me wondering what type of stress load this had on the landscape, and also had me questioning what we will be considering wilderness in the future.
I can wholeheartedly understand the draw to nature on many levels. Experiecing nature in its essence has a grounding and therapeutic effect. Unfettered experiences of nature are a biological necessity. Getting clean air and studying the beauty we see along the trail helps balance our brain and improves health in an array of different areas. On some level we all know this, but we’re sort of a culture with amnesia; it has become accustomed to gravitate towards the electronic world rather than remember our roots in nature. And as I am reminded by my recently deceased laptop, our modernized comforts are often very fleeting in comparison to the self-renewing ecosystems of nature. And this experience of nature is something everyone should be entitled to.
I like to view things more holistically , assuming that each person has the potential to create a ripple effect on the environment around them. I think in its essence, a mass desire to get outdoors has to be viewed in a positive light. The more people that are embracing the outdoors as their form of recreation, the more healthy and balanced the culture is. I think the key thing to emphasize, crowded trail or vacant, solitude or groups, is respect for nature. Respect for nature is something that is instilled when someone is drawn to nature for the experience. This relationship with nature can only help instill a sense of humility for the grandness of it. The difficulty we face is that our culture is still very much in training wheels when it comes to relating to nature. The passive interest in nature has a tendency to bring one to the outdoors, but also with one foot in the noise of modernized culture. Our cultural leap is to encourage and educate respect for nature. There is a lot to be said about the benefits of solitude in nature, but if there are to be many on the trail, perhaps establishing a sense of wilderness community would be the ideal.
Within the tree is a reminder that I am supported by a root structure and only through this connection do I bear my fruits.
In the wind there is a reminder that I vary between stillness and intensity and within either of these movements I cause a chain of events.
Within the flowers is a message that color blooms when conditions are right.
Within the tides is a reminder that I move back and forth and to and fro by the will of cosmic events.
In the deep waters is a message that on the surface I reflect observable objects, yet below the surface possess life unseen.
Within the volcano is a reminder that any point we are always suspended between grace and destructive force.
Within all life on Earth is a reminder that we dance on a fine-tuned web of giving and receiving. We develop ourselves to better develop others.
Forever engaged in a creative dance.
True power comes when we take a stance.
And convey what is ours:
Our oneness with earth, sky, and the infinitude of stars.
Never apart from what we see,
We must look inside to know what causes our mirror to be.
And begin to see reflected back to us what we feel.
Then truly work within a space that is real.
And warm the world like never before. . .
by fully igniting the energy at our core.
The music keeps playing as this story unfolds.
We hear it at times when we grow old.
Its melody plays at a higher volume in times of joy and love.
The rhythm is easy to lose in the struggle and the fight.
Your world may step out of harmony; it may seem as soundless as the deep space at night.
You may get tired of the pressure and such, and conclude that a life with no harmony is simply too much.
But the music plays on ready to be heard on any given day.
So make listening a priority in each and every way.
“The Layers of Experience”
A journey woven through shadows and in light.
Narrow we see in valley, what’s fully revealed with further sight.
Moving through ascents and descents and not knowing what’s ahead.
Heading steadfastly in belief of the path we’ve lead.
Wishing not of chaos, not of randomness to the choices we see.
Taking each step with the intent of marking the trail of our destiny.
When we can see the shadows and the light fuse.
We’ll know that both are necessary on the path we choose.
For impressive is the view, and inspiring the story told.
When we see these layers of experience unfold.