A Week in the Wood and a Lake

I spent the week in one of my favorite places, along the shores of Lake Superior. I camped in the Temperance river, and fished, hiked, and took a bike ride. But the most telling moments of the week were reaching the summit of Eagle Mountain, and sitting on a rock next to the shoreline watching the sunrise every morning. I don’t know if I could better reach the peace of mind available to us all in these natural surroundings. I know today, hands on how difficult it may be on the psych and the body to return to the concrete of the cities.

A goal of mine has always been to hike up Eagle Mountain. I have heard it to be challenging and especially the last half a mile before you find the summit is quite rock laden, so as they say, wear your hiking boots. I think one of the spectacular pieces of the hike are watching the tops of the trees lower as you further yourself up the mountain. Soon the overlooks begin to occur and they are everywhere with a few steps any direction from the highest point. There is a plaque speaks to the history of the summit, and it was so refreshing to sit there for a minute or two and be grateful to the nature around me. I realize these are soft mountain hikes and there are potentially higher and more challenging ones down the road, God willing.

On my hikes I have begun carrying one small rock in each hand, weight enough to balance my stride when walking. I found a couple at the start of the hike and set them down next to me as I had some trail mix before my adventure back. Once I began I realized I had left them where I was sitting, so I picked up a couple more, as they still belonged to the nature around me. I was told of this idea by a friend years ago, and I have mentioned the practice before, but recently it has had a profound effect on my connection to the environment around me. The walk allows the rocks to maintained that balanced cadence that carries me home, and now they are on a shelf in my home, where I do hope to gather many sets over the next couple of decades. Hiking has become a passion with me that I struggled with for many years. I cannot suggest why it is more relaxing, just that it is compelling and has become freeing.

On Lake Superior I found a rock where I sat each morning and watched the sunrise and observed a different flow of waves hitting the shoreline each time. The first day the water was calm and the second pleasant waves graced the rocks and boulders around the shoreline. On the third day there were quite stunning waves, the sort that imagined there would be surfers somewhere on the lake today, assuredly wearing wet suits given the temperature of this lake.

The fourth brought a calm again, but the waves still indicated a new presence. On that day, the same rock, same time of morning, no one else on the shoreline, I felt tears come and I let them go. There are so many reasons in my life to have tears, and yet so often we don’t allow them to flow. We hold them back. On this morning, I let them go, and I sobbed, and I didn’t wipe the tears, I wanted the feel them on my cheeks, my skin, my body. The moment was truly cleansing and brought by my expressing a gratefulness for the serenity of the lake. I provided apologies, and hopes, and dreams, and a desire to remain present in my life. I thanked the water in a manner of speaking to God, and the moment felt incredibly peaceful. My coffee finished, I got in my packed vehicle and started out my return to the cities.

There is something rather unusual about my time alone lately, camping travels, bike rides, attending events. It feels good, and thus far it feels right. It helps to balance the pain. I am learning how to ‘be’ as a dear friend plead me to do in the early days of the dissolution of my marriage. I am learning how to be ok. But it does take time. I would like to believe I am there, I have arrived, and for the moments I experienced this week on the summit and near the lake, I am confident I met those goals.

I look forward to the next adventure ahead.


© Thom Amundsen 7/2021

Waking to Love

Sweet remedy

a kindness draws eyes

a wander

inside foggy interior.

~

While each passing hour

holds promise

asks empathy

an immediate proposal

may suggest in heart

sweet peace of mind.

~

Morning sunlight

will create shadow

that will ask a conscious

need to step in

guide a soul lost inside

a societal nightmare.

~

A pleasure would be a breeze

let fortune in life to breathe.


©️ Thom Amundsen 6/2021

Two Soul

We did when once

held eyes

then spoke of feeling blessed.

We asked each other

if that held inside

matched each other.

Would wits in unison

strike gold or a stricken fever

would be the natural course of love

when fraught with fear

the flip-side will

prevail.

We spoke of time in a sudden fantasy

turn only foreign sentiment

to realize today,

hearts aligned would still wander

in some vacant stereo of emotion.

Within the truth of love

two souls find one.


©️ Thom Amundsen 6/2021

If When We Cry

Policy and truth

patterns in protestations.

~

What I saw today

might be the same tomorrow,

a different lens

similar sorrow.

When tears do well my eyes

could you be my mirror …

would you let me stand nearby

though uneven would be our worlds.

~

Seems an opportunity to feel you close by

might help heal hearts wanting only a cry.


©️Thom Amundsen 1/2021

Stepping Inside

I found this enormous chasm,

walls beyond my reach,

a dank stream of sarcasm

flowing in between broken lives.

I have had a fear of this place,

a very long time,

ever since once in a moment,

I felt a silence in my mind.

Sorting through shuttered windows,

imagining teeming lives outside

while perception stand alone

enabling now the shrinking walls.

A certain tightness in this acrid air

give a visionary a repulsive response

to wondering just why, tell me how

we lost contact our wandering sky.

Discovering there really are limits,

vaporous form sans freedom emits.


© Thom Amundsen 10/2020

Once, In Sunlight

We did

in quiet observation,

attend of course

the eyes

windows that speak

well beyond the notice

of a fashion,

of a trend,

of an expectation.

 

Instead, just a glance

where both pain and joy

can reside,

can wait for the next opportunity

to speak aloud

in the framework

of sweet silence.

 

We are that coincidence

when two people

encounter one another

on a summer’s day,

in the heat,

the passionate embrace

of a spectacular

sunrise.

 

We look for the eyes

accentuate the why


© Thom Amundsen 2019

I Remember John Lennon

Lennon

I’m listening to ‘Mind Games’ right now. I woke this morning imagining I would write about John Lennon, this being the 38th year since he was gunned down outside the Dakota in New York City. I’ve since visited the site many times over the years, and every time there is an ominous takeaway that speaks to the terror of that single night.

I look up at the building itself – the one with gargoyles streaming the rooftops, a structuredakota my mom always said was her favorite building in the city, and I look for the white shutters, the flats that represent Yoko’s property, and I think that very possibly she is in there right now. Hers is a private world, deservedly so given the circumstances.

Not minutes before I sat down to this idea, I received the above picture of John Lennon on my timeline from my dear friend John. The timing was important, because 38 years ago on this night, I walked into my job at the health care center where he and I worked, and he approached me as we were changing shifts and told me the news. See I didn’t hear it from Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football, or on any of the airwaves on my car radio. I was listening to a tape – it was probably a Lennon song.

I lived and breathed John Lennon as a young adult. I dressed like him, people told me I had his look, so I bought the glasses, grew out my hair, still have an old pair of aviator frames I’d like to repair some day in his honor of course. I truly believed I was going to meet him someday. I grew up with the Beatles and slowly my love for their music evolved into being completely taken by Lennon because of his lyrical prowess. He spoke to the world, he spoke to the family, he spoke to woman, he spoke to children, he spoke to me.

I think one of the things that fascinated me the most about Lennon at that time – I was 21 years old – was how he had turned his life around and was again producing music that was relevant to the society around him. This time it was about family. He had just produced Double Fantasy, and I sent it to my brother for Christmas, because all it spoke of was love and harmony, and that was something I thought everyone was in need of, badly. Three weeks later he was dead on the street, a statistic, a victim of a Saturday night special in the hands of a sick, psychotic, fan.

That night in the mental health ward of the hospital I worked in all I did was watch the news. I can remember walking in the door of the hospital, I have dreams about it today, because the whole night was surreal. This man, who I idolized was suddenly gone, and all of his words were now left to memory. All we could do is replay his magic and imagine. My friend John, told me the news, gave me a hug, and walked out into the night, his shift over, and mine just beginning. No one could know the impact this night might and would have on so many lives in the years to come.

Today is significant to me I suppose because for the first time in a long while, I’m thinking about not only the circumstances around his death, but also what his loss has left us with for the last three decades. The simple fact is he was killed by a gunman who had no business carrying the weapon he had, especially not on the streets of Manhattan. johnposter1His whole purpose was to destroy the life of another human being, but not just anyone, only a person at the time who was passionately speaking of the concept of love.

There are people who will remind me of John Lennon’s abusive past – there is history, and it cannot be denied; however, I’m reminded of the concept of forgiveness, and again love. I look at the life of John Lennon, and I realize a person of his capacity was capable of recreating and mending his world, and not for just his own benefit, but more importantly for the benefit of those who endeared him, who believed his message was whole, and he was consumed with trying – attempting to right the wrongs he had created in his own personal life. He spoke to such are the dynamics of the human condition, and I listened with my heart and soul. Having lived a life of misgivings myself, I needed hope like anyone else.

I remember a couple of days went by and I hadn’t cried. Christmas was nearing now, and the holidays were upon us.happy xmas I remember being lost, still clinging on to something that no longer existed, wondering if it were possible that somehow all of this were really a dream. I suppose I felt the way young adults did who were my age when JFK died, or MLK Jr., Malcolm X, RFK – countless mentors in our lives who were cut down by assassins with no regard for human life beyond their own.

I was driving out of a Shop-Ko store in my hometown when ‘Happy Xmas’ came on the radio. My eyes began to water and I knew I wasn’t going to navigate onto the highway so I pulled my car over and I listened to the song and I cried. I remember I cried hard, because all of that emotion I had been holding onto in grief and confusion suddenly poured out of me. It was snowing out, and thankfully I wasn’t visible to anyone. I was just a car in the parking lot, but I stayed there for a long time. I remember at that point twisting the dial on the radio and it wasn’t difficult to find the song again and again all day, all afternoon, all evening … we were all simply lost.

So today, I’m listening to Happy Xmas again, having visited the Dakota in New York, having walked through Central Park and paused by Strawberry Fields, having continued to write with a passion that John Lennon taught me when I was a young and misguided youth willing to make many mistakes in the future that are now the baggage of my time. But there is a message I do forever hold dear to my heart and soul

“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love.” – John Lennon

I listen to his words, and I am grateful. I believe.

Happy Xmas everyone.

… and Love.


photography – various sources on the internet

There In The Deep Wood

There in the deep wood I would watch,

the lights on the house in the distance burn,

the figures inside I knew like my own,

in the damp soil, I would wait in the wood.

wondering if they would ever venture out,

would they wonder where I might next shout.

There in the deep wood I would watch.

 

There in the deep wood I would watch,

the cars travel by all strangers in the hour,

their lives meant for homes beyond my eye,

I would ask about their wonders and wanders

though I would never hear, just keep an eye

on their lives in the brief moments, passers by.

There in the deep wood I would watch.

 

There in the deep wood I would watch,

the stars illuminate a night sky in fall,

I might wonder about the earth in universe

watching all the patterns of the Milky Way,

there were so many, so brilliant their lives

though some I had known, others would fade.

There in the deep wood I would watch.

 

Knocking On Doors

I choose to navigate the open walkways,

a common thread

similarities in typical days

places I dread.

I wonder sometimes about certain choice

if we might know

just why it is we find the time to rejoice,

however swift hearts grow.

When a decision in retrospect is made

we sometime slow realize

that memory that conscience forbade,

will leave our wonder wise.

When a lift in melody caught sweet attention

the very source of gallantry

spoke aloud with strong desire to love, mention

in all its chivalry.

Welcome the moon in familiar tonight’s pattern

while the sky awaits morning light

a beautiful life we swift acknowledge in turn

when covering shadows in the night.

When only the naked mind is given allowance

In simple virtue our humanity’s bliss is chance.