While in Yosemite I was utterly alone, but at the same time, in the arms of nature, and often the company of goodnatured strangers, a few I came to know briefly. I thought about taking the trip with a friend, but when all was said and done, and all of my belongings wedged into my car, I began my solo trip. Befitting to the setting, I read a bit of Joh Muir while in the Valley and came across this quote:
“Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.”
It inspired this journal entry that is somewhere between an informal, personal essay, and a poem. Read it if you like, if not, the pictures are probably more effective anyway.
Where will the shallow places go when the depths take over,
when the mind grasps and finally holds wisdom in its palm.
The mind has not forgotten that it is inseparable from the soul.
It often forgets this is untrue of the body.
My body requires virtue, just like my mind.
My soul divides the virtue it experiences between the two.
They are the younger brother and the sister,
they are the lover and the best friend.
The mind thins and expands with time, as does the body.
The soul is shapeless, weightless, and unlike the others – is not self aware.
It knows only togetherness, only meaning,
and only the innate parts of each of us that we work hard to learn,
when these virtues: forgiveness, kindness, openness, respect, trust –
are simply waiting to be remembered.
They are in my soul, and my mind is distracted, moving fast,
moving with neither clarity nor purpose, and my body learns these ways.
And then the mind sees something naturally beautiful, hears something profound in the vastness,
touches someone who knows this already,
and the mind remembers where virtue is, where it always was.
And for the first time in a long time,
I am one.
One with every person on this earth, one with the wind, the sea, and the stars,
the light and the darkness, the crows beside me, the Sequoias above me,
and the hard earth beneath my tired body.
Then my body is gone, my mind quiet, and my soul
exhales in relief.