still walking the path

Some years ago, I became vegan. It happened incrementally over a period of many years, until it became a conscious decision. That decision was a way point along a much longer and larger spiritual journey. I did not realize at the time that it was a choice that would facilitate my capacity to continue deeper on that journey, to walk a path of compassion.

Lately, I have been pondering the spiritual metamorphosis that continues to blossom in ever more amazing ways in my life. 

Even as all the church buildings were shuttered last year, I suspect the ensuing months were very spiritual ones for many folks. With so much on our minds, the constant fear peddling, loss, and our limited in-person contacts, who could help but be introspective, reflective about what actually matters? 

Now, as we attempt to reclaim our freedom and ways of life, the spiritual self cannot be ignored. The spiritual self is integral to all facets of the way forward. Rather than be corralled into an ever-smaller world of fear-driven mindsets, protocols, and division, the spiritual self expands and aspires to wisdom in the broadest spectrum.

It seems we are at one of those classic forks in the road. We stand at a moment of opportunity to reach toward a much more whole and healthy kind of society. 

The spiritual self points to the path of compassion, to love not fear. 


thru hike #WritePhoto

I open my eyes. Still tired. Notice the dew on the tent, the sun just beginning to work. Muscles aching, I wriggle out of my sleeping bag. 

I rub my sore feet before lacing up my dirty Altras. What, after all, am I wearing that isn’t dirty? I laugh to myself.

Down some chow, a protein bar will suffice for now. A swig of water. Break camp. Get everything in the pack, hoist it on my tired back. 

Time to hit the trail. I grab my poles.

Yesterday morning, I remember how excited I was to see that verdant green as I came over the ridge. The sunlit hills lay before me looking lush and inviting after my time in the forest. There was an incline, but the trail was easy pickings. 

The miles passed under my feet as the sun rose, arced over me, and then made its ponderous descent. I pulled my hat low.

As the day waned, I realized the trail was cresting. One foot in front of the other. Left. Right. I looked up as I reached the top.

I laughed out loud. Ruefully. Nature seems to enjoy cooking up all these surprises for me. There before me I saw what looked like the surface of the moon or maybe Mars: a harsh, monochromic terrain, strewn with boulders. It looked like a long, hard trek. I set up camp in the grassy field.

This morning, I look ahead as I approach the forbidding land. It is shrouded with heavy, damp air. The towering rock formations loom like surly titans patrolling the perimeter.

Go, though, I will. I have trudged these many miles alone, discovering my rightful place in this cryptic world both savage and beautiful. This is, after all, the point. 

Left. Right. Damn, this pack’s heavy.

One day, soon enough, I’ll crest another hill, and find myself back in the phantasmagoria that I used to call normal. The city lurks unseen, out there, like a distant planet for now — far more ominous and strange in many ways than these brooding rock behemoths.

Left. Right.


Thank you, Sue Vincent, for the inspiration of this week’s #WritePhoto prompt.