Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Consider the view from a bench. You’re on vacation, or just a day trip away from home. You get out of your car, walk across the parking log, down the paved walk to an overlook. There you see the bench, sitting empty, perched two hundred feet above the crashing surf of the Pacific. Walk over and take a seat. The show is about to begin.
You’ll find benches the world around. They are placed in strategic locations to offer you the simple gift of rest, a moment to pause, reflect, look and listen. Benches are less about doing and more about being. Public benches are one of the gifts of a truly democratic society, welcoming rich and poor, young and old, singles and couples, harried and hurried to come and sit awhile.
In this newest feature of Cannon Beach Log, you’ll find at least once a month a spotlight on a single bench, a beach bench. The village where I live is filled with a creative variety of benches. I love to take time in town to sit in these benches. Sometimes I’m alone on a lunch break. Sometimes I’m with another person on a walk. “Let’s sit awhile on that bench over there.” We sit together looking out upon the viewscape, seeing what we can see.
The bench featured in this first “Beach Bench” entry sits at
Take a look back from this bench. On January 7, 1806, William Clark, of Lewis & Clark Corp of Discovery fame, trekked across the headland known as Tillamook Head, right through what is now
Sit here awhile and enjoy one of the finest views the state of
Note: Photo by Thomas Robinson, winner of 1st Place in the international photo competition on www.dpchallenge.com, April 17, 2004.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
To find your way to
You’re invited. After entering the Enchanted Valley of the soul, come on up the O’Neil Pass trail a few miles until you come into a broad meadow with a scattered rock outcropping. Take a few moments to catch your breath and enjoy the scenery. Check out the ridge high above. That’s where you’re headed. Find the fallen, rotting log. Step up and up, keeping your eyes out for that elusive ascending trail, making your climb across dry creek beds, into the dense gauntlets of mountain Hemlocks, silver Fir saplings, upward along narrow switchbacks to the ridge, then over the edge and the easy descent along the rocky scree, over the wooded rim of an alpine cirque. Finally, after the long journey, there it is, your soul’s
These essays were written for busy people who have sensed there must be more to life than the daily grind. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls.(1) So sings the ancient songwriter of the life of the soul. If the depths of your soul call out to the depths of the soul of God, then keep climbing the Heart Lake Way Trail. The first few visits will seem difficult, even wearisome, leaving you a bit out of breath, dry mouthed and muscle sore. Keep returning and the Heart Lake Way Trail grows shorter and shorter until you find yourself on the shores of the lake without even noticing how you got there, even in the midst of a hectic stressful day in the middle of
(1) Psalm 42:7
Monday, May 11, 2009
Crest the mile high ridge, descend down switchbacks, through a stand of mountain Hemlock, and suddenly, sparkling there in the setting sun, lies
I have few regrets about the physical pain involved in the twenty-five miles of hiking to get to this lake, from near sea-level at the trailhead to sub-alpine high country a mile high in elevation. We set up camp along the shores of this lake and I can’t get the sense out of my mind. I’ve been here before.
Upon closer examination, I see a blue-green glacial lake there in the heart of the mountains within the human soul. With a modest effort and a nose for mountain air, take the trek up and over the ridge into that high country alpine cirque and you too will be dazzled, not only by the golden jewels of sunshine scattered across the surface of cool blue, but by the sense of coming home.
In the heat of summer
It has been my hope that your visits to this blog have offered you something of that same refreshment we discovered as we sat down along the
Monday, May 4, 2009
Sister Wendy Beckett, the famous British nun and art-critic, offers wise advice to those seeking to learn how to meditate on art. Continuing last week’s blog entry, the third way to get into the habit of meditation is taking time to be alone to meditate. Plan this time into your schedule. Deal with such potential distractions as pets, phones and people by removing yourself for this short time into a secluded space where you can be apart. Take time to simply look. Look into the work. See the colors. Trace with your eyes the composition. Discover the story in the painting or sculpture. See your life reflected in the work. Imagine the artist at work creating the piece. See the brush strokes, the textures, the artistic skill. Sister Wendy offers these words of wisdom.
I think we can only really understand painting if we’re prepared to give the time to contemplate it, to sit silently and look at the work. I do spend time looking. It’s that time, it’s that space, it’s that attention, that art needs to unfold…Only looking will make it clear to one.
Finally, allow the habit of meditating on art to shape your soul. As Sister Wendy tell us, I want art to come into their lives and to affect them. When we place great works of art on a stand in our home and take time to reflect upon these visionary windows, we allow ourselves the opportunity to see into the human soul, into the soul of creation, into the soul of God. So have a ready stack of art postcards to place up onto your meditation stand, and every few days, place a new piece in that sacred place. Through a year, these works of art will begin to work upon our inner lives, bringing a transforming grace upon the soul. According to Sister Wendy, there is no need to pay the big bucks to travel to the world’s great art museums. Better to bring them into your home, into your daily life and enjoy getting into the habit of meditation.
Watercolor painting, "Cathedral Tree" by Stefan Robinson, 2008