Saturday, June 19, 2010

Before Going Down the Mountain

I know of no better way to begin the final blog from Holden than to begin it with a photograph of a cairn, a pile of stones serving as a marker for the way along the path of some former wanderer. I recently passed this small cairn put together from existing rocks on a small hill on my way to the labyrinth.

I leave it there for others to pass on their way to wherever it is they are going. If it topples, there will be others who will put it together again. There is always a cairn in this place to mark the way we have taken...this particular way, anyway.

After two years in this wilderness setting, I am leaving. My parting gift to you will be a few more (one can never get enough) glimpses of the world in which I have lived, a world at the moment transformed by sunshine and made verdant by rain...a world transformed by the urgency of making the most of the long days of summer.

The very first rays of the sun illuminate the very top of Buckskin.

The short and exotic season of trillium.

The center stone at the labyrinth.

A patch of lupin along the road to the lake.

A newborn fawn in one of Holden's flower beds.

The canopy over the road to the lake.

"Johnny-jump-ups" along the path at the labyrinth.

Ten-mile Falls.

Cloud bank over Copper Mountain.

I will, in some form or fashion, in some new way as yet unknown to me, continue on with "Whatever from Wherever." I hope that you will continue on my journey with me.

I will leave you for the moment with the words of "The Holden Prayer." This prayer is for all of you as well.

"O God, you have called your servants

to ventures

of which we cannot see the ending,

by paths as yet untrodden,

through perils unknown.

Give us faith

to go out with good courage,

not knowing where we go,

but only that your hand is leading us

and your love supporting us;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

So Many Times

So many times, I have stood just the center of the circle that is the labyrinth...looking up into the face of this ridge of rock.

I always knew that the ground on which I stood was not holy ground...not really. It is shaped by human intervention and the repeated course of specifically patterned human wanderings.

Left alone, it would revert to its former self...become what it once was...a mountain meadow.


There, I have asked the Supreme and Hovering Spirit to lead me, to be my guide.

There, I have sought an understanding that most often eludes me.

There, I have bowed my head into the attending sunlight and given thanks.

There, sometimes, I have known peace.

And this rocky ridge, changeable itself over time, has been a silent sentinel to my frequent walks there and to all of my words...words that join themselves to bird song and wind sighs and water music...

...and then are gone.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Time of Dogwood

The first dogwood blooms of the season were brought into the village during the last week of April. At the time, we were having unseasonably cold weather and continuing snowfalls on a daily basis. There was a noticeable longing for spring.

Having learned from them that the dogwood trees had started to bloom, Carey Burkett, Holden's Head Housekeeper, asked those working in the woods outside the village and down toward the lake to bring back some branches of dogwood. She arranged the branches in a large vase and put it atop the "island" in the dining hall.

As she completed the arrangement and as we talked about dogwood, she shared with me the information that there was a certain place on the trail to Domke Lake where dogwood trees were plentiful. She said, in fact, that the forest at that particular spot was filled with dogwood.

There the trail wound up and through the dogwood trees and eventually the hiker would be above the trees and looking down on them. It so happens that the lower limbs of the dogwood tree extend outward from the trunk in a position generally horizontal to the ground with the flowers attached to the upper part of the branch. Thus, from above and looking down on them, the flowers appear to float in the air as opposed to looking as if they were attached to the branch of any given tree.

And it is here that I need to point out that the flowers of the dogwood in the forests of the Northwest are, to my way of thinking, huge. I am accustomed to dogwood flowers that are about the size of a half dollar, if any of you even remember the size of a half dollar. The flowers in these woods are the size of saucers. And the large size makes them all the more noticeable. Imagine it.

Carey told me that a walk through those woods at the time the dogwood trees were in bloom was a walk to remember always. A few days later, she would, in fact, try to repeat that experience of her earlier years at Holden by taking a hike up the Domke Trail. She discovered that the place on trail where the dogwood had once grown so profusely had been a part of the Domke fire during the summer of '07 and had been destroyed.

She is left with only the memory of what once had been.

Others have long-standing memories of that same place on the Domke Trail. At about the same time, within the same decade, anyway, that Carey was hiking the trail, Elaine Harrison was doing the same. She remembers the dogwood along the trail in a completely unique way.

She writes: "My experience of them is from a time we camped at Domke. It began to rain in the night. First we attempted to sleep under a picnic table. Then we decided to walk down to the lake to stay in the bus parked there for weather incidents. There was no A-frame as yet.

As we walked, the light of the moon shone off the dogwood flowers. It was enchanting. They seemed to light our way. It is not a fearsome trail, but in the middle of the night for three city kids, it was comforting to have the light of the dogwood flowers. It felt like all the eyes of the forest were watching over our safety.

It was lovely and is lovely to remember."


Friday, May 14, 2010

The Stained Glass Doors

What you are looking at is the future door of Koinonia. It will be a door made of stained glass...4 stained glass panels in either door and a small and separate panel to the side.

I hesitate to put this picture on the blog because it in no way does justice to what the door will look like when the sunlight streams through the glass. Here, photographs were taken of each of the 9 individual panels, a sheet hanging on the outside of the window in order that nothing might be seen though the glass. Then the 9 separate pictures were "photo-shopped" into one composite picture.

You can see the design quite clearly, and in and of itself, it is impressive. But when sunlight passes through the glass, it is just a wonder.

The door has been in the planning stages for some time now. Its design came into being under the direction of Joe Hester, artist at the Grunewald Guild. Early design was also assisted by Jack Coffey who, at the time, worked in Holden's "craft cave."

At every step in the process, villagers were consulted for input in the design. The final construction of the panels was done in the village by staff members, none of whom had ever done any stain glass work of this magnitude before.

Just this week, the panels were returned to the village after being sent away to be encased in protective glass. For the next month, they will be at the Holden Art Show at the Golden West Gallery in Stehekin.

Plans for the construction of the actual doors have been finalized and work is set to begin soon. Eventually, they will be a beautiful addition to Koinonia.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Once again,
This time
Too late in one season,
So early in the next,
Agape's tree
Stands etched
In snow.

On each branch,
Each twig,
Held in its place
Between the sky
And the earth below,
There is a collection
Of the evidence.

I thought
I should never again
See such a sight.
I thought
Such gracefulness,
Such wonder,
To be only a memory

I awake to find
The beauty
Of a former time
Made manifest,
Made mine to savor
Once again.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Under the Snow

Just under the snow, just at the edge where the bare earth is beginning to be discernible, there are clear signs that the season of spring has arrived.

At the very edge of a pathway, the snow melted from underneath reveals a clump of green unfurling itself from beneath the overlying snow.

A robin pulls a worm from beneath the dirt that only two days earlier had been covered with a thick layer of snow accumulated over the course of the winter.

When Janice Haakons, Holden's intrepid gardener, arrived three days ago, she took a rake to a small patch of dirt covered by a season of falling vegetation from a nearby tree. Lo! there were green shoots punching up into the air from a winter spent below the surface.

Spring, full-blown, is on the way!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

All Things Are Possible

Proof of that statement lies in the fact that at dinner on March 31, we had a wonderful halibut for our meal.

The fish, straight from the sea and Seattle's Central Market, was the gift of Larry Howard and Pastor Nancy Winder as a measure of their appreciation for the help of villagers during Nancy's recuperation from her broken ankle, still an ongoing process.

The halibut was brought from Seattle by Paul Hinderlie who, on the day it was to be cooked, demonstrated the finer points of knife wizardry as he rendered this beautiful halibut into equally beautiful halibut fillets.

Those who had come for coffee break gathered around "the silver counter" to watch Paul work his magic. That magic would continue on and would be included in the cooking of the halibut.

I have never eaten better.