Sep 9, 2009

Time in the Woods - Day 4

Guess I won't be starting a career as a weatherman anytime soon. I refuse to check the weather on my iPhone, I want to be more attuned to nature and live in the moment rather than anticipating or dreading a change. Well, I was out at midnight last night and it was calm with high cirrus clouds, big moon, comfortably cool -- beautiful with no hint of rain. I even unzipped the rain fly on my tent, cockily confident in my prognostication abilities. This morning around 4 am I was awakened by you-know-what. It is poetic to wake up to the sound of rain on a tent, but that poetry turned to ghetto slang when I felt my sleeping bag getting wet.

At least the rain had the good sense to stop before my morning constitutional, and now things are again drying out. The rain/sun is another natural cycle that I'm only loosely connected to in the city. Here I myself am one of the things that's drying out. And not just me, but all of my forest companions take shelter during the rain, from the crickets to the birds. As things dry out, the sounds of life return.

The cameras stayed dry under their zip-lock tents. Of course the lens filters were wet; I'm hoping the resultant distortion and blur in the photos will reflect what it felt like for me this morning.

Last night i decided to reposition the camera that was pointed at my camp. As some of you know, I did a month-long work/study program in Shamanism at Esalen earlier this year. The primary technique I learned was to "journey" to the spirit realm and ask for guidance from either, or both, of my spirit helpers and animal guides.

Now I'm the world's biggest skeptic when it comes to spirits and animal guides, but I'm also open-minded enough to believe that I might be totally wrong. A journey for me is like a self-guided dream, done to the accompanyment of drumming to get my mind in a trance-like state. Before I left my good friend LaRae Cunningham (who generously lent me her tent and thermarest for this sleigh ride) sent me some MP3's of drumming so I could listen to them on my camping-essential iPhone. Thanks to her I've been journeying every night out in the fields, next to a big oak tree, under the moon. Last night I asked for guidance about my choice of subjects here. I got confirmation of two of the three intervalometer cameras and a need for correction on the third.

I've come to think of shamanic journies as a way of connecting with something you already know but are perhaps too distracted to realize or have or temporarily forgotten. My realization last night was that the images that come out of my photography must "make me cry". Not literally perhaps but they should be beautiful and poetic and striking enough that I derive optic pleasure from seeing them over and over. While the picture of my camp would have shown the beauty of the changing forest light, It would have also shown me on latrine duty. Not especially poetic. Instead I found an area similar to the photo above that feels like a natural cathedral. I'm not one for man-made cathedrals, it's here in nature where feel a connection to the spirituality of life. The wisdom in shooting the passage of time in such a moving location is surely something I already knew, it just took a shamanic journey to help me realize it.

And now, if you'll excuse me, a solar shower awaits.

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