Photos, Artwork, & Musings on Life, Spirit, Entheogens, Time, & Travel

Poems

Mariners We Are

MarinersWeAre-ColeManhood-frame

My posting frequency on this blog has slowed recently due to my becoming deeply involved in writing my first novel. The book, an epic science-fiction/fantasy series, is approaching completion and I will update this blog as I can, but I thought that for now I’d post some recent thoughts in the forms of a poem and a digital image or two.

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Often, I find myself simultaneously holding different visions of my humanity. On one hand, I sense the melancholy (which is not the same as sadness or hopelessness) of our situation here in this physical reality. It is the conundrum of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s metaphor of the Stairs that I’ve spoken of several times in these pages. Upon those stairs, we awake and know not whence we came, nor where we are bound. It is an authentic and enduring melancholy for every person–a melancholy borne of that mystery.

On the other hand, I feel a strong imperative to constantly and consciously create real happiness and fulfillment for myself within the time I exist upon those mysterious stairs. I do so by being a creator and I live that role right now. This is the only way to be in this life that brings me (or, I will maintain, anyone else) true joy. It is what Casteneda called a “Path with Heart,” and it brings unexpected delights and challenges to us, while each of us also remains involuntarily bound to that mysterious river of time that leads us to an unknown destination.

Those two visions emerged into two different creations recently, and I thought I’d share them here while I may be away from more regular blog posts for a while.

The Melancholy observation is represented by a poem that is my take on Emerson’s Stairs. It came fully formed out of sleep and the spirit realm of dream last night. The accompanying image (above) is my digital art alteration or enhancement of a detail from one of my favorite painters, Thomas Cole. (It’s from his four panel “Voyage of Life” series from 1842.) His paintings include some directly religious elements, but I believe the idea of guidance from “outside” of ourselves is possible in many shapes and forms that cannot be empirically measured. We are, in any case, on the boat and in motion to an unseen destination.

The Creative/happiness/joy/challenge observation is an original saying and a digital artwork rendered on a moonrise photograph I took along the Caribbean coast in Costa Rica a few months ago.

May we all continue to look, wonder, and choose to make our time upon the waters of life worthwhile by creating joy.

starband

 

 

Mariners

We are,

Passing through

Unknown lands

In fragile boats

Clad with skin.

 

We make no stops–

Frail vessels that

Set no anchor.

The wind blows

Without cease.

Our measured course

Fades in mists

Ahead.

 

[David P. Crews, 2015]

 

[Click any image for full size.]

PASSIONtoSEEK

 

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Big Bend National Park–Summer Photography

I have just returned from a short visit to the wonderful Big Bend National Park in southwestern Texas, USA. I’ve been traveling here off and on since the spring of 1962, taking photos and video, hiking and camping, and doing inner work and vision quests. With some extensive new photography equipment in hand including a Nikon D5300 and a computerized slider, I’m setting out to shoot new cinematography and photography of the park in multiple seasons. This is to remake an artistic film I created some years ago using standard definition video. Now, I can remake it in full HD with professional rigging for camera moves.

I’ll post more of the video elements later, but for now, here are some of the still photographs I made this week, accompanied by some script excerpts from the original film.

I hope you enjoy them!

I urge you to click through to the larger images for much higher quality!

MorningBigBend-borderTime

In Big Bend
The scale of time is different from
our time – the observers, ourselves – who come.

It is a different scale of time and of movement than
our time – our movement.

We are too fast to see it.
We cannot slow down.

Slow                 Down

EveningWindowView-borderWonder

There is an enchanted doorway –
a wonder and a sign.

A Temple of water
and air,

And walls of determination.

We briefly enter – and return again.

CastolonPeak-borderHeat

There is nothing between this sand and that yonder star
but empty space and a thin breath of blistered air.

A Weight Bears Down.
Relentless.
We cannot escape.

Our branches grow tough – and dark.
Our water, our blood, our thoughts
Dwindle . . . down.

The white light sears our flesh into dust,
and there is no wind to blow it away.

MexicanWallBoquillas-border

Stillness

The desert does not sleep.
It is an endless movement – the motion of survival.

We look and listen . . . and there is

Stillness

Silence

You can see it move if you are slow enough.
You can feel it, anyway,
if you are still enough.

Do not listen for it or watch for it.

Be Still

and Listen

and Watch

OldWindmillChisos-borderChange

This desert is young. This desert is old.
It depends on your speed, you see.

Some have come to change this land.
Some have changed it – some.

All who have come
Have Been Changed.

Some have gone now.
A fragrance lingers in secret places.
Their song echoes lightly on adobe and wood and stone.

The mesa shrugs, and it is gone.

SotolAndChisos-borderLife

She is clothed in riches. Bejewelled in green and yellow and brown.
An extravagance on this plate of rock – standing up, tasting the water.

Big Bend is not barren.

LIFE is everywhere in this Desert –
this Living Land.

Raising faces – arms to the air,
feeling deeply down for the lifeblood –
a watery current within.
Knowing how to keep that – and to hold it.

A Treasure.

WindowSunset-borderSpirit

The desert is a mirror.
The desert is a portal.

It reflects our souls back at us,
and then offers a Way
into another Realm.

We are opened up
and slowed down.

The soft voices of the Plants can be heard.
The wordless brotherhood of the Animals is known.
The marvel of the Eternal Moment can be felt
In our very ground.

Big Bend is a Heart Land.
A place of shifting Shapes.
It is a healer of the Spirit.

PetroStrip1

 

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An Earth Blessing

AboveTheSacredValley-border

 

Bless me, O beautiful Earth.

Bless me, O beautiful Earth.

For I have come forth from You,

And, I return again to You.

TorchGingerAmazon-border

 

Bless me, O beautiful Earth.

Bless me through my feet.

Bless me through my legs.

Bless me through my body.

Bless me through my arms.

Bless me through my hands.

Bless me through my face.

UpperAmazonJungle-border

 

Give me your blessing

As I gaze at your beauty.

HiddenBeachCaraneras-border

 

I return your blessing

With every movement and

Every sacred Word.

I am filled up with You.

SacredEarthDrum-border

 

Bless me, O beautiful Earth.

I am your Child.

I am Earth.

 

 

[Click any image for a larger view.]

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Stone Spirit Woman

DesertSpiritWoman-border

 

 

This is a digital art and photograph collage, but the stone face is an actual formation I came across in a less-traveled region of a lightly traveled hoodoo wonderland called the Bisti Wilderness Area in northwestern New Mexico, USA (commonly called the Bisti Badlands).  Is it pareidolia – an accidental shape that looks like a face, or is it an expression of animism? Yes, of course, and perhaps, I think, the other as well. Having taken myself down under the skin of consensus reality and once meeting a female Spirit of the Earth, I treat such things as this with respect and honor.

~  ~  ~  ~

Spirit Stone Woman                                   (by David P. Crews)

 

Once, I was wandering through time,

Threading a tortuous line through

undulations and towers of rock and clay.

 

Sitting, resting from my efforts,

I looked up and saw her face,

Sudden awareness chilling my arms.

A crickle of power and presence:

I had come unawares into a place

of natural holiness.

 

I speak. I ask permission. I look.

I gaze into the sky as She gazes.

 

Who has spoken with her in ancient days?

How long has she watched the stars?

For whom does she wait?

A shape sits silent, breathing another air

poised on the edge of eternity.

 

starband

 

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Moonrise

MoonriseGulf-border

From the swirl of

Unconsciousness

She rises.

A lantern

Glowing,

Revealing a

Pathway into

Dreams.

starband

An image I took of the moonrise over the Gulf of Mexico at Surfside Beach, Texas on October 23, 2013.

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The Stars Within

A new poem and artwork today.

It speaks of unfathomed dimension and scale in the human mind and soul.

StarsWithin-border

[click image for larger]

The Stars Within

 

Are we so small?

And yet are we many,

Oh so many, glowing here and there?

Bodies of intricate illusion,

Tiny swirls of light and bone?

Each contains a galaxy.

 

Breath and beat, independent

Engines that move us,

Just like all the others.

Fear and happiness

Shaping the face

Our mind looks out of.

 

Step within to see the trick.

Vastness. Volume –

Filled with stars.

Each the color of a memory.

Ideas cluster and flare: suns

Lighting the dark lanes.

 

Hard and cold planets, some

Massive and others minor;

Worlds of water and storms;

Orbs of unspeakable beauty,

Filled with people and stories;

Turn themselves ’round

And whirl within.

 

Some we craft with careful

Intention, spinning each one

Lovingly. Returning there,

Spending time, comforted –

Renewed by loved lands and faces.

 

Others, uncalled for,

Rush up to surprise us –

Alien visions within our domain,

We wonder who made these

Worlds we did not plan.

Our galaxy is so vast.

 

The stars within swirl right around

And sing the strands of Life.

They swirl right ’round:

An unexpected gleaming nebula

Clothed in humble membrane.

 

An unchartable symphony,

An unexpected dimension within.

A million million stars and worlds

Dance and turn about

An invisible Center,

An obscured Mystery.

 

We are many and oh so small,

And when each one is no more,

A wide galaxy, a very Universe

Transforming, winks away

Into unknown night.

–  –  –  –  –

[© David P. Crews, 2013]

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Emerge

Now,

I am in the greater void.
Reborn. Discontent.
Infused with intensity,
Straining for sustenance,
Comforted by reason.
Overjoyed by love,
Amazed by the newly seen,
Grasping for a higher throne
Made solid by the hand and mind
Of my recast soul.

Emerge-border

 

There is much I would like to know about the nature of God,

but I should be satisfied with startling him.

 

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A New Vista

 

 

 

GuatemalaView-border

 


In a New Land

 

Long I have struggled in the valley, only

To look up at the end and realize with a

Sudden start,

That I have arrived at the top of a

Mountain, instead.

 

The view ahead is one of beauty

And favor. The path before me is

Enticing, promising.

More hills in view, but

The slope is gentle

And green.

 

ColoradoValleyView-border

I’m anticipating a very big change in my life, which I will describe at the right time, but this poem came to me today to speak of the way change can sometimes come unexpectedly upon us, just when it seems that all things are stuck in an old pattern and won’t ever change. Maybe that valley we’ve been struggling through is not a valley after all. Maybe we will suddenly gasp as we gaze into a new vista. Then, we must not fear. We must take action and step confidently into our new world, creating it as we go.

 

LakePeten-border

 

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DavidCrews Blog Birthday

ShamanPath-borderThis blog is one year old today (December 23, 2012). It has evolved somewhat from its original directions, but that is what all living things do. I’ve been amazed to see readers from so many different countries around the world. The internet is one of those truly magical things that has become so commonplace so quickly that we take it as matter-of-fact. It is, however, still an amazing and life-changing new phenomenon here on this planet.

I appreciate each of you who discover my blog and take the time to read my little essays and view my photos and artworks. Although many visit, I get very few actual comments, so I want to encourage you to do so if you wish.

In whatever way you celebrate or salute the change of the seasons, I wish you peace and prosperity, especially of the mind and soul. A new year is about to begin for all of us together and for my blog in particular. Thanks for looking and don’t forget to check out my archives for one year’s worth of more interesting things!

‘Another great circle of Time, and off we go
Round that hoop once more. Why
Does the ring keep shrinking?
Soon, we’ll end up here again tomorrow.’
WinterSolstice
(or Summer Solstice for those in the Southern Hemisphere! 😀  )
Just remember the true reason for the season:  Axial Tilt!
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The Shape-shifter’s Tale

 

The Shape-shifter’s Tale
(a fragment of a myth)

He asked the Turtle, “Would you like to learn about things? Would you like to see what the world looks like for a horse?”

The Turtle replied, “A horse? That big thing? I don’t know what that would be like. It is too different from being a Turtle.”

“Yes, but you would learn what it is like!”

“I like being a Turtle. Turtle makes sense. Turtle is comfortable and safe.”

He approached the Horse. “Would you like to learn about things? Would you like to see what the world looks like for a Sparrow?”

The Horse whinnied at him and said, “Neigh – OK, that was a joke. So is that little Sparrow. I’m a Horse and I am happy to be a Horse. That’s the mane thing!” And he whinnied several more times causing the Sparrow to fly away in disgust.

He did not bother to remind the Horse that he might learn what other things are like.
He came up to the Boy and said, “Would you like to learn about things?” The Boy smiled at him, so he continued, “Would you like to see what the world looks like for a Lion?”

The Boy said, “I AM a Lion!!” and, still smiling, he ran around the meadow making a roaring sound.

 

 

 

 

[Click on any photo for a larger image.]

The petroglyph panels above are from the remarkable (and remarkably accessible) Newspaper Rock State Park site, right along the roadway to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah.

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Perspective

A lifetime of knowledge earned
Along the paths of wisdom,
Will one day surely seem to you
Quite meager and in vain.

Not because you have failed to learn,
But that the universe has opened up
Infinitely before you.

– David Crews

The photo is of myself at Bonneville Salt Flats in the NW corner of Utah. It had rained recently, leaving a wonderful reflective mirror for the mountains to float above.

Ah, yes, those Bonneville Salt Flats. Thought I’d set a new speed record – for how slow I could go.
🙂

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Accumulation

 

Time settles down as withered flakes
In the land of wizened stone.

Minutes and hours pile up.
Dry drifts,
One on top of another.
The essence of their measure
Baked hard into unyielding clays,
Filling each rocky crack.
Bajadas covered with arid months,
Arroyos layered with dusty days,
Until the desert is made of nothing
But time accumulated – waiting.

Released at last by some cosmic rain,
Floating free and blending.
A mass ascension into Eternity.

 

~ David P. Crews

––––––––––––––––––––

Photo taken in the Bisti Badlands Wilderness Area, NW New Mexico, USA.

 

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Spider Rock

 

Spider Rock – Canyon de Chelly, Arizona __ ©2012 David P. Crews

 

Spider Grandmother

Sitting in the center

Sitting up high

Sing your song

Make the sky.

 

Spider Grandmother

Sitting in the center

Weaving a web

Spinning our song

Make it spread.

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Canyon de Chelly in 1873 _ (Library of Congress)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canyon de Chelly (pronounced “deh Shay”) is in the heartland of the Navajo Nation in NE Arizona. It is a very worthwhile destination for its scenic beauty, but take some time to learn about the trying history of this place as well. I have very mixed feelings about Kit Carson. He was more in-tune with the native peoples than almost any white man at that time, but then he did the Army’s bidding in Canyon de Chelly and the results still echo hauntingly off the canyon’s red-brown cliffs today.

 


Waterfalls

 

 

Of all the

Jewels in

Nature’s chest,

I do love

Waterfalls

The best.

– David Crews

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On Flying

 

What golden king of ancient time

Would not envy my simple pursuit?

The span I leap in minutes,

His fleet-footed messenger could not match

In months of arduous travel.

 

 

My eye gazes down upon a wider land,

From a vantage higher than any mountain.

I eat and drink in ease, and calmly survey sights no

Emperor’s eye of old ever beheld.

 

The Envy of Birds!

The Power of Air!

I, the every day man, an ambler –

Godlike, stepping on clouds to soar above.

The ancient kings would marvel and

Desire above gold, what now I plainly do.

 

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Air travel has become such a commodity these days that I find myself in some kind of strange minority in that I am still amazed and awestruck at the fact that we can don our metal wings and actually fly. I’ll take a window seat any time I get a chance to go. While everyone else is watching a movie or sleeping, I’m gazing out that window with a bemused grin, following the landmarks and geography below or glorying in fantasy cloudscapes and trying to get my brain to realize and accept just exactly where I am up here in the sky, higher than Earth’s tallest mountain, flashing across entire continents and great oceans in my cushioned sedan chair.

It is truly an experience of power (and wealth!) that no ancient King could have imagined. What is truly Amazing, however, soon becomes mundane once it becomes a commonplace method of travel.

All too soon I must turn away from the mythic views from my plastic window and the magic carpet ride comes to its earthy end.

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The Gates of Forever

Original digital art by David P. Crews

.

Endless was my journey over broken

Lands and through forests green;

Between great white mountains,

Across cobalt deeps – desolate seas:

Arduous.

 

Ahead, my goal. My path a road – now a trail.

Steps pursuing lands of promise. I was not

Where I should be. I must campaign to the end.

At last I carved a path from unknown soil

To reach that storied land. I could not stop. I was

Impelled.

 

I stood at last upon a jutting rock,

A stony islet black as a forgotten dream.

Vast waters lay ahead. Somber waves roiled against

My feet, then became singularly quiet.

Receding spume erased my former trail. The

Setting sun reflected in darkling waters, now still as

Glass.

 

I gazed up at two golden towers. Needles –

Silent gnomons attesting a single message:

There is no East or West. There is no

South or North. There is no Down.

We speak for the Zenith. Look

Up.

 

I looked into the fading air above,

My wandering paths all lost from view,

Nor any new paths seen. Only the sharp tips of

Gold and the sweet air beyond.

There is but this one place – this one

Moment.

 

Here, all the pieces of Time collect and

Converge around a mass that compels

All to become one moment, ever moving,

Ever lasting, ever evolving, ever

Still.

 

The Mystery opened my soul,

And I knew I was where I should be,

At the Center. where all things are – beneath

The Gates of Forever.

 

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The word “zenith” is derived from the Arabic: “samt ar-ras”, meaning “the road above one’s head.”

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Desert Places

Big Bend Badlands – Photo ©2004 David P. Crews

“They cannot scare me with their empty spaces

Between stars—on stars where no human race is.

I have it in me so much nearer home

To scare myself with my own desert places.”

–       Robert Frost  – from “Desert Places”
A Further Range  –  Henry Holt & Co. (1936)

Photo of badlands in Big Bend National Park, in west Texas, just north of Castolon.


Red Lands

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The red wind whispers – calling me

Out to the sharp world, the cold land,

The place of polished stone, the land of keen breath,

The clean and parched country

Where the river of moments slows its crawl,

And the world runs far, far away to the

Uttermost limb of blue and brown.

The blank places beckon and chide, reaching

Long and deep to find my invented corner, to

Lift me up from my comfortable blindness,

To bring me out to my real house.

The hollow lands fill up my eyes

And the empty flank of the world

Supports my soul.

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At Night in Capitol Reef

“Upon Awakening at 2 a.m.”

With my eyes fresh from sleep

Like the naive gaze of a child,

I look out at the world beyond my simple bed.

The dry air is delicious.

The moonlight is delicious.

The sigh of the soft night breeze is delicious.

The stars are delicious.

The backlit clouds are delicious.

One thin veil of cloud has a fish’s shape and a star

Shining through it, just so placed to be its bright eye.

The spirits of the night sky are watching me sleep.

The Freemont Indians would have understood.

“Moon”

If I reached out my hand and held the Moon within it,

Would it burn me? Is its bright face hot or cold?

Would it, perhaps, freeze me so that I would

Quickly let go and drop it in its old track?

Would it scold me, then, in its dusty old voice

For having been so bold?

It is by the Moon’s cool light only that I write these musings,

So perhaps he would just gaze down upon my tiny form,

Then smile and sail away.

——–
©2012  David P. Crews


Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch — ©2012 David P. Crews

Delicate Arch is waiting. Standing on the edge.

More than the effort of crumbled and windblown stone,

It is like a letter in some unknown alphabet

Set glowing and hard on the desert wall

Quietly hidden until it is sought, or,

More likely still, an entire word –

A statement waiting for some reader.

Is it then a symbol,

Spoken in a language not of words?

Is the speaker also the audience,

Or does he speak to men?

Does he utter such a thing

That shapes the land in reddened art,

Or say some other thing that lies

Beyond the sand and sky?

Delicate Arch remains, silently ringing.

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©2012  David P. Crews

A poem I wrote many years ago, inspired by the incomparable Delicate Arch in Arches NP, Utah.

I once took my father up the trail there to see the arch and I read this out loud. It was very wonderful.

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Another Geometry

A poem and music track from my first album, Cave of the Jaguar.

 

 

Truth in a Strange Land

Truth alone shall appease this needful thirst.
Aloof and intimate.
Content with only that roaring revelation –
Hard and cold.
It stings like disappointment – the price
extracted from my past.
Closing and opening.
Deep and serious mystery. Clear light glory!
Laid out before me – seeker and supplicant to
That God only.
I shed my dear beliefs as rent clothing
slipping from straining muscles.
Naked.
The new Truth is old. Shining and disturbing.
Old and very new.
Raw-nerved, I reach forward to hold, delicately,
The next awe –
An unexpected vista stretching on to newer rules.
Another geometry.

 

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Here is my original music track for this piece: 

http://www.jaguarfeather.com/resources/Another%20Geometry.mp3

 

Information on this album, “Cave of the Jaguar” here:

http://www.jaguarfeather.com/cotj.html


A Poem from a Dream

David Crews
(from a dream)

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Walking earnestly through a timely land,
I dreamt I met myself three times.
Each one, an earlier shade of Self.
Each to cause some sense of shock as
I reentered life where I had been
And found the things I once held,
Surprising with their sudden existence.

Busy in my walking, I had forgotten them.
Like heavy coats, and Things to carry.
Each older version of myself,
Was burdened the more, yet unaware
Of those burdens at all.
Bemused, I wondered at my several selves.
How could I have been so hindered?

As the walker, it is certain I cannot afford them.
I must move on – get to my destination.
I smile and shake my head.
Just leave those things, I say,
And come along.

Perhaps, when I die,
I shall shed it all and become
As light as a Thought.

Perhaps, I shall float above that world
Containing all my older selves –
A soap bubble, fragile but enduring.
A swirl of pastel colors.
As light as a single inspiration.
Strong as the pain of loss.

Where all that keeps me from bursting
Is my own fierce beauty.

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