Selections from my Summer Journal
Camping in the Driftless
I had not fished in many years but suddenly had the thought to try again and realized I still had my old pole tucked away in my camper van.
Casting my line into the water, I began to notice a subtle effect, a delicate connection between me and the surface of the water, the surface tension, the surface membrane of the water. I came into her line of sight and she into my mine. My soul was widened. This went on for days. I touched the water and she touched me. I caught no fish, but I began to understand the deeper appeal of fishing.
Then one evening I landed a fish and not a small one at that. The tug of her body on my line called forth a most exquisite feeling–a cry of joy for every spot on her blessed brook trouted back echoed through the coulee. I removed the hook, cradled her in my hands, raised up her glowing body and shallow breath to the last rays of twilight and then released her back into the stream.
And so I thought my fishing story was now over, completed in this wild splash of joy and accomplishment. Only later that night, when meditating on my day, did I discover that my soul-line was still attached to my blessed brook trout and that through her I could feel the beingness of the stream itself and the cooling crevice it creases like a furrow into the warm, dry earth. And the magic that occurs when it meets the lake and the water spirits of the stream go through a kind of death and are reunited with the stars. And the great power that lives in that meeting place of stream and lake. Like the blood circulation of the human embryo that slowly up builds the heart, I saw how this meeting of waters creates a vortex of life force that builds up and nourishes the whole landscape, spreading out in great concentric rings, shaping the land, shaping the sky, shaping me…
The tree speaks to me:
Let your thought flow into my veins
Release it from your gnarly brain, your wooden senses.
Let it flow like water into my living, giving, growing flesh.
Let it feel how all that flies, all the sails and glides through the seeming empty sky, is born here, is nurtured and cradled here in my maternal arms.
For I am the nest of the sky, the egg round, star filled sky, that reaches downwards through me, through my roots, onto the depths of the earth, and then rises again, renewed, through my brothers and sisters on the other side of the earth.
We are the mighty lungs of the earth and our breath of being extends as high above the horizon into the light above as it reaches downwards into the golden heart light at the center of the earth.
What you see with your physical eyes is but the barest stump of our true being, our sun-lit, sun-bearing force of being.
Oh human, let me heal you from your spiritual alienation, your cosmic hibernation, your emptiness of soul.
Oh human, I speak to you from the void, the seeming void of being in which you find yourself, like a seed aching to be born.
Oh human seed in the void of being, let me cradle and nurture you, let me tend and water you, let me give you wings of thought that can sail far beyond your gnarly brain, your wooden senses!
One civilization is going down, as sure and steady as the titanic, and another civilization is rising up as clear and strong as a bell at sunrise.
A physical civilization is going down and an etheric civilization is rising up. A mechanistic, materialistic, greed-based civilization is going down. A living, spirit-knowing, gifting civilization is rising up and breaking through, slowly but surely, it cannot be any other way.
For only in the dying husk of the great iron tanker can the seeds of new life be born. And only through the newly-born life can the old world be rightly cared for, tamed and safely laid to rest, composted, in the depths. For there is, in truth, no separating the two.
It is not given to us to desert the ship that falters and sinks. It is not given to us to forsake sister and brother, father and mother, friend or foe. We must go down with the ship into the greatest depths of darkness ever known, even while we forge new pathways to the air and light.
Even while we rise to the surface on the currents of a new life-stream, of a new aeon of Christ-life, we do not desert the ship that sinks but strive, ever again, to fill all that is dying with the warmth of the newly quickening life and to carry to the surface and into the future all that is of value from the old.
For we are a part of both and each has a part in us.