Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Don't be Afraid...
   One of the things we discussed when we got to the island was safety.  Monhegan is criss-crossed by miles of unmarked trails.  Although it is a small island, 1 1/2 miles long and only a half mile wide, it is heavily wooded and it is very easy to get lost.  So, when my friend and I headed out for an afternoon walk to White Head, the cliffs on the back side of the island, we were very careful to keep referring to our trail map.  I had also brought with me a book I had gotten just a few days before the trip...Pilgrim Heart by Sarah York.

   In Medieval times  pilgrims often encountered danger on their way and the uncertainty and possibility of these encounters was part of the pilgrimage so I had that in mind when we headed into the dark forest along rough and rutted trails.

   When we stopped to rest, I took out the book and opened it at random.  There was a lovely poem by David Wagoner called Lost. (There are no coincidences my friends!)  I read it out loud to my nervous traveling companion.  I'm sharing it with you here because it so important for the photographer with a pilgrim heart to bear in mind wherever you travel...

Stand still.  The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost.  Wherever you are is called Here,
And must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are.  You must let it find you.

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