Sabbath among the Stones

Safe among the Stones

At last I am still

and everything

from my breath to the birds

moves faster.

Tree boughs bob and shimmy,

and winged missiles streak through my peripheral vision

as if to say

You cannot see everything,

Cannot know all,

Cannot control your world.

And this is as it should be


enough that

Silence seeps into the dirt

and into my own parched heart,

–through the wind raking the hair against the grain on my arm

soaking between the freckles

reminding me there are nerve endings on my back that love caress and tell my soul

where I am rather than where I’ve been.

I already know the secrets whispered between the pines’ fingers

but I’m happy to hear them again.

(ml 8/18 tres piedras)


References about animal totems generally agree that the medicine of the winged Jay family is Proper use of Power.  Many spiritual disciplines consider the mind to be the prime source of human power.

As I sat in meditation Saturday morning, I reflected on the previous day’s Course in Miracles lesson: I rule my mind, which I alone must rule. Not an easy task for most, yet mastery of the personal mind seems key to liberation …into a much greater Mind.

I’ve been faced with some core triggers lately, unbridling my own mind. Humbled, I’ve watched it rear and buck like a bronco with a burr in his back hatch, stomping many of my trusty tools for taming it.

On this morning, as I sat watching my own mind throw every weapon in its guerilla’s arsenal—more likely a gorilla arsenal for the monkey mind—a stellar blue jay landed in the clearing before me, as if to punctuate my ruminations. I felt the blue flash brush my heart; I nodded and re-closed my eyes. To make sure I got it, he soon flew in for a sloppy landing in the juniper right next to me, jostling the branches in all directions for effect. I smiled, “Got it; thanks.”  But did I?

As I packed up for my weekend away, I realized the two humans I would be visiting that day were also both named Jay. Wow. Thanks. Not just one pebble to my window, but three stones. And by that afternoon, I had rendezvoused with the second human Jay just to the west of Tres Piedras.


We walked up onto two of the three (piedras) the following day (Sunday).  The second is a more extensive cluster of globular formations, many with cliff faces as sheer as their curves can generate.


But we eventually found our way up a sloping side and came upon an uncanny staircase—un grand escalier –in the folds of the rock, beckoning us to the summit.  From the bottom, Jay and I both spied the “troll” in its folds, looking like Yoda’s menacing dragon cousin….

Although we were by then tired, both of us feeling our trick hips beginning to object, the Capricorn in me felt compelled to climb it.  I got fairly close to the top—within 25 feet, estimated Jay, who stayed below– and I could have gone farther. But I paused, to be content where I was, taking in the view, feeling the tug upward, but knowing I had nothing to prove. In mastering both mountain and mind, we mustn’t push beyond wisdom.

The fact was, I was content, happier than I ever am in town. While I have companions who prefer to hike nude, clothes were no encumbrance to my sense of freedom, now that I’d shaken off the oppressive clamor of the city. That was enough.

Sometimes a warrior’s power is in knowing her limits.


One but asks to know what is hers to do…

When the call is true,

help is already due…

and granted.


Later, as bats flitted above my head in the dusk, Mars pierced the blue with the fiery color of last weekend’s red ruins. Mars itself is about personal power, summoned for both inner and outer jihad.

Below him, another sort of power cast its light about inside a thunderhead, like a burglar behind the bedroom curtains: Lightning ricocheting through its belly and turning a bright white ghost amber.

I greeted Mars and invited any messages. Immediately I heard the wordless reminder from him that he cannot tell me anything I don’t already know. He can only embolden me to act fearlessly from that intelligence.

Every time I look at him, he seems larger; the message however, does not change: clear as light, true as blood, steady as stone.

Just as I was noting to myself that Mars would turn direct on the morrow, I realized there was another light source to the east. I turned and met full moon, looming large between low clouds, illumined in blushing ivory.

What a Feast this Sabbath!


What a feast this planet.

What a Feast this life.








     Circumstances require me to be away from my home base for several hours on Sundays these days; so, rather than be inconvenienced by it, I decided to take it as license to observe the Sabbath and go wandering.  Yesterday, I didn’t plan, I just got up in the morning and asked for suggestions in meditation. Pecos entered my mind, and I perceived Our Lady, Guadalupe, beckoning me toward the monastery there. But I got the sense it wasn’t her I was going for. She was just playing holy dot on the map.

So, I packed some provisions and took my freshly replaced fuel pump out for its first high-speed test drive. It felt good to be on the open road a bit with Hildy, the name my Honda Odyssey finally presented to me for herself this week, short for Hildegarde VAN Bedroom. 

I was wanting to find a cool spot in the pines… maybe give my bare feet some river time; but, arriving in the tiny village of Pecos, instead of making the left toward the monastery and up into the hills, I followed the signs for Pecos National Historic Park. I hadn’t even been aware it existed.

There were quite a number of people there, considering the competition: the annual Indian Market in Santa Fe, and the well-attended Pecos rodeo just up the road.

It looked more sunny than I wanted, but entry was free and half the trails were closed, so little strain was promised by following through on the impulse.  I walked toward the ruins behind some tourists speaking in Russian, and, undistracted by intelligible conversation, I became aware of how green the Pecos Plain was from the recent monsoons, with puddles still sheltering in the shade of cedars. Yum, said my eyes, as I crested the rise, feeling massaged by the vibrating contrast between the verdancy of the grassland and the rich red of the ruins’ stone and adobe walls.

I was the only loner out there; most others were in pairs or families. I was wandering the trails like everyone else, but soon enough the unstated, unheralded mission for my Ministry of One became to take pictures for groups so no one would be left out of the shot.   No one turned down my offer. Can I get a witness!? Neighborliness 4, Selfies 0! 

Eventually, Hildy and I headed for the hills. I wound up the two-lane highway for a short while, past the monastery, just to see…but I felt its tug strengthen the farther I climbed away from it. So, I returned, and lunched in the grass outside the long abbey.  I’m always there on Sundays when the gift shop is closed, so I headed for the chapel/conference hall. I wasn’t sure what in this world I was after; the call was not from this world. It felt like the Christ, and while there were images of Jesus in the chapel, it wasn’t in there.

I sat outside in the courtyard, near Guadalupe, who gleamed like alabaster in the mid-day sun, bowing her head demurely, as if to confirm it wasn’t her I was here for. But I could feel a call, so I walked down to the river. I waded in, sandals on.  That was blessing, but not enough. So, I emptied my pockets onto a picnic table, took off my hat, and walked back into the golden ribbon of living libation.   And something inside wasn’t going to let me leave until I did it:  I lay down backward into the water for a moment and then stood back up. The water was shallow, barely as deep as my body as I lay on the bottom, but the current was enough to douse my front. I left my burden there. My clothes were soaked and heavy, but I was lighter. I walked, dripping and drying, to the car and drove back to town. Mission accomplished.