On the verge

...stealing from the stylings of liana's soft light...

You stand at the edge of the forest,

on the verge of the wood, with axe in hand
(but we are done with grinding) wondering,

"How can i find my way to the other side of the wood?"


There is no other side.


There is only the wood.
There are only the trees.


"What if I don't make it?"


There is no not making it.  


There is only the making 
and the made.


"What if there are spirits?"


Of course there are spirits.


There are only spirits


"How can I tell the right way from the wrong?"


Within the earth is the only darkness.
Above, there are only shades and shadows.


"How will I know what I see?"


You will stand under the trees.  
They will know you.


"What if I lose the way?"


There is no losing.  
There is only the way.


"Can I really call myself 
'one who finds the way'?"


There is no finding.  
There is no way.
There is only the calling.


There are only trees
and trails yet to be made,

only woods and words and 
wooly moss upon the stones


and narrow spots 
between the trees 


where a person can 
just pass through.

23 thoughts on “On the verge

  1. JCC the photos are stunning as the words that accomnpany them. The one under “can I really call myself”… is my favourite, then the last one. The woods the trees, the spirits within do indeed communicate. This was beautiful – thank you.


  2. Gravity..I love your eclectic bravery. If I may be so bold…You can be like a wind blowing through but you always leave footprints.
    These photos are luscious


    • Thank you Miri. I’m afraid the reality would be rather disappointing. It’s a very small conservation area barely a stone’s throw from the free-way in one direction and the dregs of suburbia in the other. Rather nice though, considering…
      There are far better places only about an hour or so away. Hope to be able to get out that far with the little one this summer…


  3. I know this… I know this… I know this journey and this place…what a soft and mighty prayer this is…awe awe AWE


    • I should say, “Aw, shucks…’twas you what ‘nspired it…”
      I have been toying with a few photo-stories. This is the first one that worked. The words and the images happened without the knowledge of the other, but seem to have been informed by the same movement…
      Thank you–


  4. Wonderful words; meditative, as someone has already mentioned.

    Your images are magical, John. They capture the feeling of ‘breathing in’ the essence of the woods (life!). Collectively they tell a story between gentleness and strength. The final image is like a punctuation mark. Gorgeous!


    • Thank you so much, Karen. Means a lot coming from an artist of your prodigious talents.
      I was thinking almost of a kind of magical master/apprentice situation. Life and poetry I guess and how we learn one from the other.
      I appreciate you coming by–


  5. I have a special fascination with Muir Woods north of San Francisco. The images here are so magical and overwhelming that I’m having difficulty….

    Just so gorgeous. I can see/not see everything through the trees–so verdant, so “luscious” as someone else said.

    Thank you for reminding me of the most fairy tale experience of my life–my first visit to Muir Woods. Where the mist hung like air and the spider webs, wow. And the canopy.

    I’ll say no more. Except hot damn. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have never been there, but I spent much of my childhood in the outdoors–forests, mountains, alpine meadows, prairies. We went to Wyoming almost every summer when I was a child, camping since I was in diapers, backpacking since I was four. I feel the power of these places in my bones. To this day, one of the most powerful experiences of my life was a 4-day, 3-night solo backpacking trek I did when I was about 20. Part of my heart resides permanently in the Bighorn Mountains. That landscape is part of the landscape of my psyche. I am big on the landscape analogy in regards to the psyche–thinking of it as a 3D environment in which one moves about, explores, gets lost–kind of what I was talking about in “This is the door”.

      I was lucky enough to see some of the Pacific Northwest (Southeast Alaska) so I kind of know the mystical qualities that kind of forest can possess. Ironically, these photos were taken at a small nature area within earshot of two major interstates. The camera is a beautiful liar.
      I am gratified that you connected with this.

      Liked by 1 person

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