The Rains

I sat with a desk lamp nearby

listening to the rains,

I knew clearly the reason why

this forest maintains

~

such wonderful animations in the mind,

a forest may the soul in peace unwind.

~

Earlier in the afternoon sunlight

before the setting of dusk,

I watched the clouds in plumes might

settle into a natural melodic busk.

~

I listened to the rains and next the tears

would speak quiet to my mind

wishing only might I ever quell fears

shook her away to rewind

~

Yet I couldn’t help but wish such beauty

might hold promise to love

as would the sound of rains serenely

slicing through the skies above…

~

Such wonderful animations in the mind

a forest may the soul in peace unwind.


© Thom Amundsen 7/2021 

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

Humility on a mountaintop

I sat on this peak the other day after a healthy climb of just over a few miles. What you see is quite a satisfying result of the hike. I sat looking over the horizon for about 30 minutes before returning from where I started. I had done this hike several times over the years, but never alone. I was even sharp enough to keep my license in my camel-pack in the event of an injury along the way. Aging I suppose contributes to making smarter decisions, but that’s not really that important right now.

What I do wish to focus upon is the impact this trip had upon my state of mind. To go the miles it took and the strenuous nature of the landscape I encountered was an accomplishment fills me with satisfaction. Living a healthy lifestyle is important to me these days, and the rewards are immeasurable. I could easily have remained at my campground and stewed about my life and the hardships I have to endure, ignoring someone much like me lost in their own world of poverty and sickness without near the capacity I have to take an invigorating hike on a beautiful afternoon in the north-woods. Can anyone relate? I hope so. We can easily find reasons to discount the opportunities that lay before us and rather than ignore them we must put the effort forth to experience life as we know it in the moment.

What I experienced on this hike was the beauty of nature around me. Certainly the vista at the top was the reward, but the walk to get there was as special making the whole a complete adventure. A long time ago a friend of mine suggested I pick up two rocks and carry them with equal weight in each of my hands and let them carry me up the mountain. I remember trying this years ago and it didn’t work. I was too preoccupied with holding the rocks than I was with letting them carry me. I let their weight move my wrists and my arms in such a motion that I naturally felt like I was gliding up the mountainside. I held onto them afterwards, a gift from the nature around me. I decided I will find a set of rocks upon every landscape I walk in the future and recognize the blessing they provide my journey.

The humility I felt when surveying the world before my eyes let me imagine how fortunate my life is what lays ahead of my future. These are the things important to our lives to appreciate life around us. There is beauty and elegance surrounds us all everywhere. Take a moment, breathe in and out, and rest our weary soul. Life has a certain reward.


© Thom Amundsen 6/2021

A Week In The Forest

To leave it all behind,

pitched a tent near the water’s edge,

a place I would often fantasize

to be a stopping ground

the pain and fear of having to survive,

suddenly wrapped in the cool depths.

~

I looked around for no one,

only the animals in the deep wood,

wondering what creature I would be

to steal their space for a few days.

not knowing the sunlight and stars

would be my only way of remembering

I was borrowing their land

for a time.

~

I’m not going to talk much anymore,

I made a vow with myself

alone in the woods I set up a chair,

I could watch the lake for hours,

me and the woods,

and the silence except for nature,

the rustling of the brush,

singing cherubs in the trees

all seemed to be communicating with each other,

a head’s up about the guy,

in the chair.

~

I could easily make choices

in such a serene wood and fallen limb world,

just me and the world

that no one could see without some …

search party,

the ones that would find the reality

of a tired turn in the mind of a

traveler.

~

I was that journeyman if only for a day,

and then the next I returned to the concrete.


© Thom Amundsen 6/2021

In Nature’s Realm

A dear friend is walking this morning. She told me that is where she discovers her peace of mind. Our world is not the same as it once was, certainly not the last week. We carry a lot upon our minds. While weathering the storm of Covid and a confusing political atmosphere, we can be thankful that one aspect of our lives remains fluid, abundantly available, and welcoming. Nature is now our refuge, fresh air, beauty and serenity all await our heart with open arms.

The ‘hoar frost’ has been particularly abundant this January. I noticed it on the treetops nearby as the sun rose in a morning fog – a rather spectacular setting I wish I might have caught on camera to use in this observation, but the camera would not have done the moment justice. What it did do though is give me a moment of pause. I imagined my friend on her own walk experiencing the same many miles away, and yet so close because the elements of nature can draw everyone together with meaning. How many times have we watched a full moon from our backyard, knowing someone hundreds of miles or continents away would soon do the very same? We are all in position to know that nature offers a universal release so valuable during such an improbable time in our lives.

This week I have struggled with the events of January 6th. I watched testimonial after testimonial on social networks decry the circumstances, challenge the motivation, denounce and vilify the actions that turned our world visually upside down. Everyone has right to an opinion, I believe that, I always have. Being able to provide an eloquent answer or solution has never been my forte, so I really didn’t know how I wanted to write about this moment in our history. Obviously I do like to write, so this did provide quite a quandary.

So here is my testimonial. I gathered Mak! together this morning, and we took a walk, and just, well, I’m grateful for the fresh air and beauty of a mild winter day. I appreciate the wonder of a morning breeze upon my naked skin. I delight in the startling nature of my dog’s fascination with a crust of snow on the path. I pray that we can all find peace of mind, and know that our heart beats with the same fierce resilience we all might rely upon to carry ourselves through life’s darkest moments.

Close your eyes and breathe.


© Thom Amundsen 1/2021

Eyes Open

Glance outside, slatted reminder

Cloud cover inside rays of sunlight

Awakening to keen choice occasion

Mindless storms set aside today

We are on rhythm designed a hunter

Those whose early rise a sorrow might

Upon now themselves haunting derision

Having practiced in life what we may

For truth will shine in a forever soul

Feel that organic nature of our whole

A startle usually a ticket out of a hole

Skylit harmony help an ugliness ease,

Hold powerful a sweet sensual release

Natural support provide accentuate peace

©️Thom Amundsen 8/2020

Moments in a Blizzard

Windswept sky designs landmark,

the world is being blanketed by that force

greater than our own,

a magical parade of Nature’s wrath,

in the simplest manner of beauty.

 

Oh her strength apparent

inside the wonder of it all,

the winter storm,

a blizzard upon our discontent,

perhaps we might fly away.

 

Lost inside this forever cycle

our lives are equally drawn

by a static probability

of scant survival in the throes

of a woeful condition.

 

Step inside the winds,

that bury this frozen memory,

covering up our sorrows

so there might be a new desire,

a passion to understand.

 

A realization,

recognizing there is an after-life

to the sparkle – once

no longer remains

inside a youthful dream.

 

There inside the wealth of our

humanity

exists a welcome change,

that ever resilient testimony,

suggests we are all ready,

 

already walking again,

this might provocative winds allow.

 


© Thom Amundsen 1/2020

Glance into The Morning Fog

Watching tree limbs bask in the morning fog

Their own shadows hidden from naked eye

We, the observer might question why

Silence in storms, listen a croaking frog.

 

A world exists speak natural balance

Deep in the wood, horrors of life aside

Humanity breathe where watcher reside

A home is habitat for those who chance.

 

While just beyond the gravel road and pond

Live a lifetime in tragic element

Lost souls, lost loves, confusion we lament

Evil is conflict arisen but fond

 

We mourn sweet soul, tragic is sudden death

In the cool dense fog, take solace in breath.



© Thom Amundsen 2019

Nature Is An Ask

IMG_5209

We wind our humanity across a babbling stream

call it our own of course for we say we belong.

Matters little life of a creature seeming dream

this haven feed silence in their tiny world long.

 

Scrape away life with corrosive blades of pain

the construct of a vision far beyond that of game.

We will build here, our own safe haven our gain

quiet animals survive might we give sweet name.

 

We are that primate race intelligence does mask

hiding ourselves in conclaves of brick and mortar.

Would we anyone be less defensive in this an ask

the land we sweep meant to be our general order.

 

When was it that Man chose simplicity to scrape

this order delight, of a living patterned landscape.

Finding Words

They land in different places now, the words

those stories, passages, telling souls

to reinvent our lives

create some simple serenade

lets our heart breathe less of a sign,

certainly not gasping for air,

just a steady rhythm because we come to know

life is far too short

to allow ourselves to slow the direction

of our dreams.

 

I walked outside this afternoon

breathing in the fragrance of a coming rain,

they always do remind us of a soft gentle horizon

when love might be our simplest guide

rather than the fight,

we choose the current

to travel together

in separate worlds

yet still

together

there will be song.

 

Filling the bird feeder

I knew if quiet

the visit would occur

and in the morning

the melody would play, always,

an endless serenade …


Inspired by ‘Burn’ – Hamilton Soundtrack