Monday 21 September 2015

What makes it a "journey"?

I'll tell you.

It's things like this:

Falling in love with a group of people in a magical place.

Getting to know them fast.  Learning what their laughter sounds like.  Letting them see you cry.

Sunrise on The Colorado at Lee's Ferry

We set out from Lee's Ferry under a new moon, celebrated by the Perseid meteor shower.  (You know that if you share a shooting star with someone you'll be friends for life?)  I shared my stars with fifteen new lifelong friends that first night.

At Redwall cavern, jumping for joy! 

Every single day on that river was amazing. 


And it was a journey alright.  I hear that pictures are worth a thousand words.  So to tell the story,  I'll share some photos for now and write a thousand words later.

Come, let's dive in - this is what a journey looks like:

Taking it all in.

Paddling our hearts out.

Making meals together.

Loving Charlotte and Jim.


And having to leave them behind.

Taking time to listen.


Regaining perspective.


Healing each other.

 And saying goodbye too soon.


Shining our lights.

Playing with child-like abandon.

Laughing every day.

Taking time out at the 'groover' - our loo with a view. 


Making music.


And enjoying the quiet moments.

We finished at Diamond Creek 16 days later with our hearts and the moon full.

Reflecting on the Grand Canyon. 

It was perfect.

It was magic.

It was like being in love.

I'll never be the same again. 

And that's what made it a journey.

Gratitude for these beautiful photos to the following members of the canyon crew:  Adam Lindenburger, Gerrit McGowan, Kaeli Benoit, Joanne McGrew, Joseph Daniel & Sarah Brown.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

The Edge of the Envelope

Lee's Ferry.  Mystical morning, Day 1.

Sometimes words aren't enough.

And, (those of you who know me well will be shocked), my recent journey on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon has rendered me speechless. 

So here today as I begin the lifelong process of recounting the soul-spinning, heart-expanding journey of a lifetime, I'll turn for help to the beautiful photography, paintings and poetry of my companions.

Cactus at Nankoweap overlooking The Colorado.  Photo:  Joe Daniel
Traffic lights, sounds of cities,
Alarm clocks and nighttime TV,
Left it all for a break from my mind,
Giving up my sense of time.
Floating downstream past the eddies of our minds.
It all began at a plug in the sand,
Days dictated by some far off demand.
Waters rose and fell through the night,
Eroding through the sands of time.
Flowing down through the currents we define.
Tracked the moon as it plotted our course,
From dark to light holding evening court.
Illuminating the grandest of sights,
As we drifted into night.
Shining down to light the stories of our time.
Wandering in this desert of dreams,
Unsure horizons present what they may seem.
Some fall fast past the depths of our sight,
Leaving misgivings behind.
Waters flow fast through the faults that we resign.
Sixteen heartbeats soon beat as few,
Three went down though each far too soon.
With toasts and tears we had to leave them behind,
Growing wiser through the trials.
Though we were less we grow stronger in our minds.
A final moon and one last sunset to view,
Nights of joy when libations weren't few.
The fortnight brought us to the end of the line,
Returning to the lands of time.
Roaring down through the annals of our lives.
In these canyons, finding friends for a lifetime.

~words & music, Gerrit McGowan


With deep gratitude to Kaeli Benoit for her paintings and heArtistry!
What I know is this:

Since being in the canyon, that red womb of the world, I cry more easily.  I feel more deeply.  All I want to do is to read desert poetry and write my own.  I am open.  Raw. 

I am drawn to those with the wild in their eyes - and to children - perhaps because, like me, they are still so fresh from the womb.

Those days on the water in that most magical of places reawakened me - brought me to another side.  And now, nearly three weeks later, I still find myself living close to the edge of that envelope - the 'knowing' place - fearful of ever letting it fall away again (yet knowing of course that it always does).

I feel the lessons of the canyon in my bones: 
        Sleep outside.
        Stick close to my tribe.
        Make space for magic in my life. 
        And remain ever vigilant to the call of the wild, immersing myself in those places that help me

You know what I mean?  Then come sleep with me under the stars...

This we must never forget: sleep with the stars.  Thank you for capturing the magic, Joe Daniel.