Category Archives: Awakening

Play Me a Song

I closed my eyes as my son eased into a Bach cello suite during his recent lesson.  I drifted quickly into serenity and dream.  Keep playing this song, I thought.  Never stop.  And the words began to appear, first describing what I heard, what I felt, then what I saw, and finally what I became.


Play me a song
on that big string cello,
low and slow,
to swell in my chest
and tighten my throat
and get me to crying soft.
Play me that song
again. I want to hear it.
I want to hear
as the walls fall away
and the roof flies off
and trees and flowers
grow up through the decomposing floor,
around me, close,
aromatic, shading
as the song goes on,
low and slow,
till my cocoon is complete
and I wait until Spring
to emerge, your song
still sweet in my ears.


Halter Broke


One meaning of the term “halter broke” indicates the condition of a horse after its mind and spirit have been broken such that when the horse is wearing a halter, the horse will not move from the spot where its halter hangs to the ground, unless led.  As you read my poem Halter Broke, consider the ways in which you may have allowed yourself to be conditioned to the point of paralysis.  Ponder what you can do to free yourself, so that you remember who you really are, so that you realize you are free to become who you choose to become.  Whether it be through religion, spirituality, meditation, learning, prayer, forgiveness, or poetry–come to an understanding of what holds you back from achieving your full potential, both as an individual and as a member of your larger community.  You can do it.


He stands at the scene,
at the very spot,
of his instruction.

Head down.

While the tail lies coiled,
the lead rope’s head lunges
up to its stranglehold.

Eyes down.

He stands in his space
sun-parched, thirst unsated,
though the trough sparkles
nearby under noon.

Shoulders drooped.

This is his place:
he will move
only when invited,
suppressing meanwhile.

Drooped and down.

Come Walk with Me

Rabbit Lane-Laura

It was obvious to me that my daughter, Laura, was feeling emotional distress. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” I asked.  “Nothing,” she replied, in typical hold-it-in fashion.  I put my arm around her and said, “Come walk with me on Rabbit Lane.”  We walked, she talked and cried, and I listened and did my best to buoy her up.  We have taken many walks on Rabbit Lane since.  Rabbit Lane has become more to me than an unremarkable little dirt country road.  It has become for me a place of contemplation, enlightenment, and healing.  I wrote this poem not only to remember the occasion of that walk with Laura, and of many other special walks with my family, but also as an invitation to you, my fellow travelers, to come walk with me down Rabbit Lane, as it were, in our respective journeys to understand, to grow, and to be the best men and women we can be.


Come walk with me,
my child.
Come walk with me
down Rabbit Lane.
Tell me your troubles.
Tell me your fears.
Tell me your joys and your dreams.
Tell me everything
while we walk
past racing horses and cudding cattle,
past the llama guarding thick-wooled sheep,
past deep-green alfalfa and wispy golden grain,
past the skittish muskrat diving to its ditch-bank burrow,
past Monarch caterpillars poised on pink, perfumed milkweed flowers.
Come walk with me,
my child,
just you and me.
Come walk with me
down Rabbit Lane.


House of Offering

Ancient peoples walked and farmed and hunted on this land that we now call Erda.  They fled to the desert wastes ages ago, making way for my ancestors to farm the fertile fields.  But Harvey’s property possessed a connection to the ancient traditions.  And he invited me to a part of that connection for a moment.  Inside the turtle lodge, we left the world behind, left our carnality outside, and sought the Divine Presence through prayer, heat, song, privation, and the smoke offering of the peace pipe.  (See Rabbit Lane: Memoir page of this blog, Chapter 7: Turtle Lodge post, for a full discussion of the turtle lodge sweat ceremony.)


The rocks glow,
like a cluster of orange suns,
shimmering in ferrous shadows
with pulsing heat
in the mid-day darkness
of the stick-framed, skin-clad lodge,
the turtle:
House of sweat,
House of cleansing,
House of song.
Sing of the weathered ancients!
Sing of the laughing children!
Sing of the beasts and the rivers, the woods and the wind!
In this dark other-world:
House of hope,
House of healing,
House of dreams.
Dream of the grisly bear and the bison!
Dream of feathers flying and eyes!
Dream of circles and fire and roads to choose!
Sprinkle now the water,
fill the house with steam,
and breathe,
and sweat,
and renew the chanted song.
Ascend now the burning bark,
fill the house with smoke
pulled from this pipe
and offered up from this
House of prayer,
House of offering, to the
House of God.



Chapter 7: Turtle Lodge


How can we get closer to God?
In airplanes . . . and helicopters! Vvrroooom!
(Caleb-3 to Dad)

Harvey’s property was special to the Indians.  They needed a place to perform their ceremonies, where it was quiet, where animals and nature were close, and where Indians were welcome.  Harvey’s place fit the requirements.  The Skull Valley Band of the Goshute Indians had established Harvey’s land as an official Indian worship site.  Local Indians of several tribes set up a turtle lodge and held their sacred sweat ceremonies there.  Harvey invited me repeatedly to attend a ceremony.  Resisting what I didn’t understand, I politely put him off.  One Saturday, though, I reluctantly agreed, admittedly nervous to attend.   When I came home several hours later, the children found me exhausted, my hair sweaty and matted.  I took a big drink and a shower, then flopped down on the couch.  They begged me to tell them all about the Indians and their turtle lodge.  I sighed wearily, then told them of my experience with the sweat ceremony. Continue reading


Chapter 2: To the Country


–You deserve a palace made of gold. (But even a gold palace needs to be kept clean.)–
(Dad to Erin-8)

We moved to the country in the Spring of 1998.  Our new home offered so much room for the children to explore and play and run around.  They tromped through the tall, tan field grass making twisting paths that were not even visible from the house.  Once the children entered the grass they couldn’t see out (or be seen from without).  They were pioneers, blazing new trails in the wilderness, whacking at the grass with stick swords. Continue reading


Chapter 1: First Walk


–Never betray inspiration with hesitation.–

Sleepily down Church Road I walked, past an unmarked dirt lane traveled most often by farmers on tractors.  Somehow I had tumbled out of bed and out the door.  I would much rather have continued my slumber under warm covers.  Crisp darkness and the ripe fragrance of dew upon cut hay greeted me as I stepped onto the covered porch.  I could see only silhouettes in the lingering darkness: old trees planted by farmers perhaps a century ago; the Oquirrh mountain range; cattle chewing mechanically on coarse grass. Continue reading