Thursday, December 20, 2012
The truth is: every landscape is sacred. Some are more famously sacred, but even lands that have been devastated by storms, eruptions, floods, fire and/or overuse are sacred scars that can, if we pay attention to them, help make us more compassionate, kinder, more mindful.
There are many magnificent landscapes known all over the world. Gazing into Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe, for instance, brings a sense of awe and inspiration, a visceral experience of wonder. Oceans and mountains are especially wonder-ful sacred landscapes. The landscape of the sky, whether it's bright blue, filled with fleecy clouds or dark, spangled with stars and moonlight, is equally sacred and inspirational.
Some sacred landscapes do not convey breathtaking awe and inspiration nor the kind of compassion that arises when looking at areas of devastation. The landscapes I'm referring to are more quietly sacred. As opposed to knocking you out with their beauty, gazing at this kind of land quiets the mind and heart - except during storms, of course, which seem to always be more dramatic in the flat lands. Of course I'm talking about the prairie here, the landscape of the city where I grew up: Kansas City.
I made a point of getting to a retrospective of Terry Evans' photographs at the Nelson-Atkins museum. She is a native of Kansas City, hence a part of the gently rolling, big sky landscape of the American plains. The exhibit was incredible, so glad I caught it.
I took the pics with this post on the same day, just outside the back door of my sister's home. It was foggy all day but just before dusk, Brother Sun came out and turned the landscape gold and gray. It was spectacularly gentle.
Other than these two shots, I was somehow unable to connect with the land in a way that allowed my eye to do its thing. I grew up there, but I've been away a long time. I couldn't see the gentle sacredness, couldn't find it. I'm no longer able to see the prairie well enough to capture its essence. It's interesting to think about.
My inability to connect is an aspect of having become a swamp thing. I've lived in DC for fourteen years tomorrow, almost as long as I was in California. You never know what life will dish up next. Me? A swamp thing? I guess so!
Let there be light.
Let it snow
May it be so.