Dens of Predators

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From my place, about a thirty minute drive, and then about a mile and half walk down a trail into a creek valley, regularly torn by floods, I can show you dens in the hillsides. Amongst the fallen boulders on the slopes of the eroded banks, I’ve found all kinds of jaw bones and other bone litter in the dark holes dug between and beneath fallen giant rocks in heaping messes. Dens far older than the current inhabitants. There’s alot of them too, all together, more than you could shake a stick at. It’s a little unsettling, being outnumbered by other predators.

Recently, while hiking these banks, taking pictures of rocks, I came across a recent kill. I clambered over the debris of a slide, and there it was, splayed out, an opossum. Whoever killed it, had just done so and had barely started in on breakfast, and couldn’t be far. I’ve seen coyotes, foxes, bobcat, raccoons. I don’t know who lives in the dens, and maybe they change hands often, a new landlord according to happenstance. Though. some dens are by spring fed pools on the sides of cliffs with waterfalls above and below, and you’d think any creature would want to return to such a sweet setup of crawfish and fresh water. Other dens have no view, but are located on deep, well-worn paths. Old game trails with dens like grassy hobbit-holes along the way. My scent is well worn and mixed in with the scents of other lives, I making noise on those trails. Just a thirty minute drive, and there is this little part of the planet, with these many and different lives weathering the thunderstorms and flash floods and constant encroachment of the city and photographers. It breaks my heart, and yet, that is my plan for the morning.

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Space, Sound and Silence

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I might drive out into the Hill Country tonight, maybe Pedernales Falls or Enchanted Rock, or even just the side of the road somewhere. I want to try my hand at Night Sky photography again. I learned alot from my failed attempts last weekend, and I’m ready to apply what learned, and try again tonight.

I think I’ve figured out the better settings for what I’m trying to capture, and how to work the parts of the camera I’ve avoided thus far. I mainly live in Aperture Priority mode, or Time Mode. With Night Photography, it’s been all manual, and awkward, and mistakes. It’s been fun to explore the mechanics of the camera again. It’s been cool.

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Orlando, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Basic Goodness

I think it was Fr. Richard Rohr who related these words from a Rabbi, “We put these teachings on your heart, so when it breaks, the teachings fall inside.”

June 11th and 12th, 2016; I took a 2-day class taught by Shastri Betsy Pond at the local Shambhala Center. I loved the class. Saturday was good, full of meditation, teachings and talks with good and generous people. It was so good, I think I went into Sunday with lots of preconceived notions of how it should go, based on my Saturday. Perhaps it would be akin to a conquering hero returning home and I would be that hero.

Sunday morning, I attend to my regular routine (meditation, yoga, prayers), then I was off to the laundromat and then finally off to the second day of the class. When you wake early you can get a lot done before 9AM. I arrived in time for the complimentary breakfast, but it wasn’t too long before I started feeling dislocated, out of place and things spiraled from there. Read More

I Love Everyone, and My Stupid Face

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I love everybody, and you’re next.
This is a description Kristen Bell gave about her husband, Rob Bell, and it encapsulates everything I want to express in my walks around town and country. It’s like a motto for my walks.
Prior to that motto, I was shut off, in all the usual ways: underneath my earbuds, below my bad moods, too cool, too depressed, hidden by shame, at arm lengths for fear of pain, absolutely sure no one cared, and more, or even worse. Essentially, I was doing what many other people are doing and thinking around town.

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Fear, Kites and Lightning. No Ben.

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I found a Sponge-Bob-Riding-a-Surfboard kite, at a $5 store. It was $2. Shaped like the old, Spy-in-the-Sky kite (where can I find one of those?). I can’t wait to fly it, but it’s been raining all week. So, I sit with my box kite and my new Sponge Bob kite, waiting. Waiting, while kite season, a short season, passes us by, but I’m not bemoaning the rain. I live on the edge of what is essentially a high desert. We love rain here. Plus, Spring is coming, the Equinox is March 20th. I can see it carved inside a big heart, Spring loves Rain. But that’s not exactly what it’s like here. Here, Spring loves Thunderstorms. It’s been rainy for a week, sure, but Spring really means fast, rolling supercell thunderstorms that rip across West Texas towards the East. They come barreling out of the high desert full of dust and fury. I have a mix of old fear and new excitement around these storms.

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Birds and Breathing

Monday’s are sometimes, blech. Rainy week ahead. Feeling gray as the sky, but still out for a walk. I was hoping for a sudden downpour to drench me, which would send me home to change clothes. I don’t know what that would accomplish, but there it is, that’s what I was thinking as I climbed the big hill, heading back towards the office. The hill is a sharp incline up, and in a short distance. The heart races most of the way down from coming up. I crest the hill and start the long slope down. At the bottom of this hill is a wall of woods, and the road takes a hard right. As I’m doing my careful steps down the hill, I notice one particular tree, directly in front of me, at the bottom of the hill. It’s medium size and dense with leaves, more like a tall bush, and this bush, tree is hiccuping little birds from its crown. About 5 or 10 little birds keep flitting out of the tree, and flying away. A moment passes, I’m a little further down the hill and another 5 or 10 birds are expressed from the tree. It looks so odd, and so rhythmic. The tree looks calm, and then, oof, birds fly out, and away. Another inhale and then another small set of birds swarm out of the tree. I think, the tree is breathing in the city air, and exhaling little puffs of birds. I notice this breath of birds nearly matches my own breathing which is a little short from walking up the steep side of the hill. I reach for my phone, I think a video of this would be -and then the tree lets out a bigger breath of birds, and soon after, another, the breathing is quickening and the groups of birds are getting bigger.

dusk birds congregation

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2015: The Year I Took My Pain for a Walk

2015 is the year I took my pain for a walk. Physical pain related to my sciatic nerve, lower back, psoas, SI joint and hip. I also started a morning yoga and meditation practice in March of 2015, and I think these practices led to me taking a fair amount of emotional pain for a walk as well. Meditation isn’t all roses. You deal with your shit, eventually.

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