Rocky Mountain High
Talk to God and listen to the casual reply
This is part four of the five-part series I’m running this week in which I share previously published poetry comics that touch on a common theme and discuss where the comics and poems came from.
Part 1: We Spotted the Ocean
Part 2: Moon River
Part 3: Here Comes the Rain Again
Today let’s talk about mountains.
the canyon whispers
transcendental beauty is
submitting to push
One of the ways I write haiku is that I decide on a theme and write as many poems on that theme as I can in one sitting. Sometimes I get one or two poems that are decent from a session. Other times, I go back and take lines from several different poems and create a new, better poem from the pieces.
This haiku was from a session I did where the theme was “push”. One of the things I’m worst at is going with the flow. My tendency is to fight and flail. I think there is a time for fighting, but I also know that when you submit and get into the flow of the universe, you find yourself in places you never could’ve gotten by yourself.
I searched the mountains
for trace of divine omens
found piece of my soul
Mountains have always been sacred spaces for humans. Whether it’s Mount Olympus as the home of the gods or Mount Sanai as a place for Moses to commune with his god, literature is full of tales that show the divine is intertwined with the mountains.
This early comic is part of my occasional series of poems dealing with my struggle with my spirituality. A few years ago, I quiet quit the religion I had been a devout member of for my entire life. For as long as I can remember, spirituality has been important to my worldview. The truth is my sense of what the divine is never quite fit neatly into the teachings of my former faith. Now, untethered from organized religion, I’m free to fully explore spirituality and divinity.
the river of time
only stops flowing for those
with no place to go
While the ocean and the moon are often central characters in my poetry comics, mountains tend to be in the background. They aren’t always mentioned in the poems, but they play a role in how those poems are brought to life. Hence a poem about the river of time finds that river in the foothills of a towering mountain range.
mountain trails—my prayers
wonder is my religion
This is one of those poetry comics that shifted things for me. It ended up being much more popular than I expected. One reader suggested that I used the line, wild divinity, as the title for my then-still-in-progress haiku comics collection—and I took that suggestion. This is another poem at the intersection of mountains and spirituality.
stunning vistas will appear
just around the bend
I wrote this haiku after a day-long hike in the Oregon Coastal Mountian Range. Here the mountains are not explicitly mentioned or even depicted in the comic, but they’re lurking behind the scenes.
daring cobalt sky
I can do anything
can’t do everything
This is another example of a poem I wrote because I need to remember this advice. I am currently collecting poetry comics for a book called, A Totally Inadequate Guide to Adulting. All of the poetry comics in that book will be focused on short pieces of advice like this. I don’t currently have a timeline for this project because first I have to finish another non-comic poetry collection. (See what I mean about wanting to do everything?)
snow reflecting moon
ice crystals refracting light
I wrote about the background for this comic back in November when I originally featured it in this newsletter. I don’t know if it’s the elevation or the thin air, but mountains feel so different from any other poetic setting.
crest grassy knoll
see the silver mountaintop
cloud quilt hides valley
A younger, more vital and vigorous me loved to hike to the top of mountains. The views were nice, but mostly I was chasing the feeling of accomplishing hard things and conquering mighty challenges.
While I still enjoy a long hike up to a scenic viewpoint, I now have a greater appreciation for the majesty of mountains from down below. Seeing these primordial towers fills me with wonder.
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Thanks for reading! Come back tomorrow for the last part of this series.
P.S. John Denver is a featured player in the soundtrack of my childhood.
You constantly inspire me, Jason. I loved all of this today. Mountains, oceans, and trees have always inhabited my soul. I think part of this comes from spending much of my childhood on the east coast of Canada where all three are abundant. I'm happy to now be on the west coast near these old friends again. And I was a huge John Denver fan growing up too!
A total WOW post!