16 September 2016

Sleeping Out in Open Air

Tai Chi in the Moonshadows.

Silver landscapes at midnight.

Ah, yes, the mountain poets would have smiled.

31 August 2016

Bivouac at Pine Tree Point

I like it here, nestled in an isolated little ravine with reliable water and the fire-circle I built over a decade ago.  Peaceful and quiet.

This is one of the last times I will wear my old hiking boots in the hills.  They are comfortable favorites – best damn hikers I ever owned, comfortable right out of the box – but they are over 20 years old and the inside stitching is coming undone, so I want to retire them to trusty work-boot status.  I just received a new pair of the identical model from L.L. Bean, and they fantastic.  These will take on the ruff duty from now on.

I brought portable music on this bivy.  Is this odd to bring such technology along when sojourning in a cool, quiet spot of natural paradise in the forest?  Maybe.  But when I played the Chinese “12 Girls Band”, their traditional Chinese instruments added additional Ch’an/Zen flavor to my bivy site.

At dark I heard a strange cry from the trail not far above.  Eerie.  It was a coyote, and another one further up the hill answered, as did another one further off.  The near one must have heard my music or seen my lighter, and the word went out to the others that there was a stranger in the ravine.

In the several bivouacs I’ve done here at Pine Tree Point this year, I’ve never yet built a fire in the fire circle.  Instead, I’ve brought along a candle lantern, and I haven’t done any cooking.

Soon, I’m hoping to do a long backpack and multi-day bivy out in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) at my more remote site I call Dharma Point – if and when I can find someone to drive me out there and drop me off, and later have someone pick me up a few days later.  I will need to plan a more serious menu with cooking gear.  I’ll need to do some shakedown bivies locally with the gear to test the systems.  It’s been a long time.

Got to get out to the back and beyond.


24 August 2016


00:00 hours.
Midnight bivy in the west orchard.
Doing Tai Chi in the moonbeams
and amidst hidden moon shadows.

I loosen up, flow, dance.
Alternately I shake out one foot
then the other, and
my movements start to quicken.
Deer, who had been resting in the
nearby thicket shadows which
border the orchard, take flight.
Who is this stranger in their midst?

Looking up, I see Lyra, the lyre.
Now, after over 40 years of mystery,
I finally see it and
know why it is so named.
Vega is both the brightest star
in tiny Lyra
and also one point of the larger
Summer Triangle.
I only now see the lyre as Vega passes
westward over the zenith,
leading the Triangle with it.
In this new, high westerly, orientation
the little stringed lyre is obvious.

Perseus is rising high in the NE.

01:00 hours.
Capella is moving up
in the NNE.
There is a lone star low in the south.
In Virgo?

02:00 hours.
I ramble through dewy grass
in the orchards and groves,
peeking up at patches of open sky.
Due east I see the Pleiades rising
with Taurus right behind.

02:30 hours.  Time to bivy.
I lie down in warm comfort,
but hear stomping of hooves
from the other side of the thicket.
A deer snorts strongly at my
mysterious presence.
I snap my fingers, not too loudly,
twice, and then there is silence.

05:30 hours.
Waking just before dawn
I see Orion and Sirius
in the SE.
Harbingers of new seasons.


20 August 2016

August Full Moon

Still damp after rains.
Fog starts near streams
and moves up through
moonlit fields.
The Moon chases Altair
as Vega leads
the Summer Triangle west.
Classical Guitar Alive on
radio fills the still night.
Warm bivouac gear
and a lawn chair
warm my heart.
Watching the Full Moon.
How many times
have I seen it?
How many more?
I will resolve
(second step of Path)
to seize more opportunities.

27 July 2016

Cousins Arriving

Our cousins have been arriving in the lead-up to our family reunion of first cousins this weekend. It is wonderful to see them.

22 July 2016

July Evening

Dragonfly evening.
Rock n Roll plays at dusk.
Fireflies everywhere.
I look up,
and I see Mars bright in Scorpius.

16 July 2016

St. Swithun’s Day 2016

St. Swithun’s Day marks the midpoint of summer – “summer” as defined by meteorologists (and not astronomers), being from 1 June to 31 August.  The Ides of July.

I am Stateside and enjoying my stay with my family here.  My cousin Danny just arrived ahead of our cousins’ reunion here in two weeks.  He was a brother to me growing up, and it is great to see him again.  We have so far discussed music, our youth, Vietnam, women, and lots and lots of other topics – with great enthusiasm.

On St. Swithun’s Day, I have traditionally listed the books and movies I have read or seen in the half year since New Years Day.  But I did not get the list together yet and hope to post it one day.  This visit has been a whirlwind, and I have not given much time to my writing.

The Moon is a gibbous waxing one, heading toward the Full Moon on Monday which is the Buddhist holiday of Vesak, celebrating both the birthday and later the Enlightenment (at age 35) of Gautama Buddha.  In Thailand it will be a major five-day holiday.  It will probably rain on Monday, but I’m hoping for a clearing sky by dark.

Blessed coolness.  Zen delight.