The combination of my trip to the Northwest and the heat of the Southeast this summer keep returning my thoughts to mountains. These images are from an earlier trip to Heather Meadows in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.
"Mountains and rivers
are spirit, condensed."
From the Tao Te Ching (Mitchell, tr.):
"Every being in the universe
is an expression of the Tao.
It springs into existence,
unconscious, perfect, free,
takes on a physical body,
lets circumstances complete it.
That is why every being
spontaneously honors the Tao."
Robert Adams: "Years ago I enjoyed a winter day with a friend . . . along the Washington coast; he wrote later . . . 'I think now of the blackened driftwood--of the air and light, of the sea, rocks, surf, and trees--it was a world largely complete--for a moment, in that good air, it was perfect.'"
Thich Nhat Hanh: "in my tradition we are taught to look at a tree or something like that for a long time. At first you don't know what use it is to look at a tree like that. You have to look until you can truly see it. And one day the tree reveals itself to you as a very substantial, real identity. It is not that you have a new tree or that the weather is better so that you can see the tree clearly, but something in oneself has changed so there is a new kind of relationship between you and the tree . . . So, a kind of wonderment arises. When I think of the relationship between human beings, it's like that . . .You have to be with him and be with him a lot, and with a kind of open attitude, a kind of continuous self-transformation in you before such a relationship is possible, is fully realized . . . I think that the encounter between humanity and God, the encounter between humanity and Buddhahood, reality, absolute reality, must be realized in the same way."
Dawn in Apalachicola, Florida
From "The Raft is not the Shore": Daniel Berrigan wrote: "How much of the experience of life today is a sense of being alienated, cut off, cast out, or put far from home! . . . Nobody who's conscious today is not sharing in some way the experience of exile"
This morning I've been reading "The Raft Is Not the Shore," a set of conversations from the 60s between Daniel Berrigan and Thich Nhat Hanh. And I read David Brooks' column "Is the United States on the path to ruin?" Together they left me with the feeling I often had back in the 60s: Looking out toward a bleak future, with only broken stones left behind. Then I was reviewing images and this one seemed singularly appropriate for this moment, as we approach political conventions which promise us little to look forward to. Maybe "tomorrow" will feel better . . .
Back to Alaska: Chilkat River Valley
Evelyn Underhill: "We mostly spend life conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have and to Do . . . forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in the fundamental verb, to Be: and that Being, not wanting, having and doing, is the essence of the spiritual life." (CN: i.e., a life of meaning)