Pilgrim Path

This blog is the work of a seeker and poet. Walking stick in hand, I head out into the world, not of the world, but in the world. My words and my friends carry me along and light the pilgrim path of spiritual journeys.

Friday, June 30, 2006


A little relief on a hot summer's day...


Deeply rooted evergreens salute
their Maker as they stand erect,
envying the wind and snow who
conspire in the dance.

Tall peaks remain part veiled
as clouds and snow
baptize their heavenly crowns.
I fear and honor these landscapes
as my elders taught.

Gentle snowfall graces this holy
land with a royal robe of pure white.
Even while wild scrub provides
shelter for brother hare and sister marmot.

Soon I’ll leave this land of my Creator
for home, but I’ve packed enough glory
and beauty to last a lifetime,

for I’ve seen God’s face in the wild.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Today I feel a teardrop
at its tipping point,
uncertain when its weight
will start the fall.
A strange matter
this salty water
whose source can be sadness
or joy, or fear or loneliness
or elation.
Each closer to one
another than we know,
But all with their seed
in our heart.
A wrong word,
a random little tragedy,
or even a kind word or touch
can set the works in motion
and make the day
Why not just give in
to wise senses,
the lessons they bring?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006



A deep gong from the ceremonial bell
signals the start of the labyrinth walk,
after a deep bow and prayer of blessing,
a single step on holy ground.

Sand, leaves, debris and bricks,
all bring a sense of solid grounding.
Footstep after footstep carry us forward
on this ancient path of shedding and renewal.

A shadow companions us
with gentle footprints in the sand,
as tall grasses wave in the
nearby gently sloping valley.

Paths already walked by others
bring new insights to fresh hearts.
Settling the mind on a single word,
today’s lesson from the Creator.


Striding confidently, head down,
shoulders back, the neck aches
under the caressing sun amid wafting breezes,
the Holy Spirit makes its presence known.


Called to listen,
the pilgrim moves on.
Completing this journey with renewed spirit
returning to the world.

It is enough.


Pure honey-colored morning sun
steeply cuts through eastern windows.
Warming the formal dining room
expectantly awaiting guests
sleeping in on holiday morn.

Gently entering the proper
room, they quietly take their place,
in ancient chairs with wobbly backs
and loose spindles with stories long
forgotten. Another day starts.

One foot in each world they straddle
their dreams, not willing to let go.
When eyes and hearts alight on boats
bobbing in the choppy blue bay
to take them on unknown journeys.

Whose boats are these, pilgrims wonder,
empty now, their owners ashore.
Fishers of men, will call to us
with nets ready for the next cast.
We’re caught, no sense in our struggling.

Monday, June 26, 2006


O Mepkin, Garden of Eden,
Your arching oak branches spun with Spanish moss embrace us.
Dragonflies skim the earth showing us the way.
Dancing squirrels delight in search for freshly sprouted mushrooms,
while tiny frogs content themselves hiding in the shade.

The Lady Vivian toils in God’s workshop,
matching her skills with nature’s magic.
Jesus stands as a sentinel between two paths.
Memories of Robert Frost tug us to the one less traveled.

The earth yields wet, heavy air from past rains
as the sun beats down on our bare neck.
We come across a gate ajar that beckons us.
Steeped terraces of richly colored flowers generously share their beauty.
Nearby the backwaters of the river teem with life.
Graceful blue heron circle over basking alligators, turtle and snakes.
A lesson of wildness and peace is well taught.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


The stuff of legends – a ’56 Nash,
not so much the auto as the incident.
Three-year old sitting in the front seat
decades before seat belt and child care laws.

Days of cruising for chicks and
making heads turn as the big fat tires squeal.
Quickly rounding the corner
and before you know it
there’s a baby in your rear view mirror,
passenger side door swinging wide open.
That got you some attention.

Later, confined to a bus,
the three year old plots.
A warm, wet sensation
spreads over your legs
and the scent of wet wool
imprints on your brain forever.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006



Lazy, early summer days
bring screen door memories.
The double whack as the
spring-loaded door
responds to this impatient child’s
wild desires.

Vigilant mothers peer through screens
at serious cowboys and earnest soldiers
intent on vigorously fighting battles
until the next lemonade break.
Jousting amidst sheets
whipped by a liberating breeze.

Inside/outside noises loose their source.
Late afternoon cooking smells invade the garden
calling us from our play.
Ending with a simple whack-whap,
our imaginary world holds its breath
and patiently awaits our return the next day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Cyril, the desert cat, blesses us
with his pre-dawn greeting of a rub against our shins,
while monks in black prepare to sing Latin chants
that pierce the soul and rejoin us to our primal faith.
"O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise."

Brother Pietro stifles a yawn,
while Brother Basil stays in bed.
"Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa."

Dawn breaks as Father Joseph firmly grasps our head
to bestow a sacred blessing.
We kneel to pray and spy the stalwart tree where God dwells,
growing from its craggy striped cliff.
Incense lifts our prayers to the
dry desert sky of undiluted blue.
"O God, come to my assistance.
O lord, make haste to help me."

Dusty whirls from southern siroccos,
stir wild plants regally wearing their gold and purple blooms.
Scampering beetles,
stealthy chameleons
and slithering snakes
abound in this ancient lifeless place.
A silence so deep you hear the wind before you feel it,
while the sun gently caresses your skin.
A short walk brings us to a sparkling stream
that rushes to impale itself on scattered rocks,
late for its final destination.

Guests and monks form easy community.
A nod, a smile, a gesture
resound in this bare place
as hearts fill anew
with timeless peace and love.
"I will lie down and sleep peacefully,
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety."

Monday, June 19, 2006


First light from the morning sun
slowly wrests me from my dream.
I turn to face the freshly lit sun,
and see an eagle soaring to the mountaintop
that rises before me.
Inspired to stand and face the sun
with arms outstretched,
the return of day assures me of God’s love.
I begin my walk to the mountain,
intent to climb before midday heat takes its toll.
Looking to my right,
I see a gently flowing stream
whose surface dances as if covered in small diamonds.
I lower my hands into the water
and scoop a refreshing handful of Nature’s pure nectar
which She generously yields.
A fledgling bird struggles near the creek,
unable to drink.
I dip my hand for another portion
to feed and strengthen him for his first flight.
Finally I take my first steps upward,
unsure at first until I find my grounding.
Ledges provide firm handholds
as I hoist myself past cragged rocks.
Eventually a path emerges.
Wide in spots to let me catch my breath.
Time enough to feel the morning mist
before it lifts its veil.
Continuing on, I hear the rustle of leaves
confident that the holy Spirit is with me once again.
A busy night keeps the snowy owl
from returning to his hidden haven.
A magical sight.
Breathe and movement in perfect unison,
balance in harmony, heart and soul.
Turning yet again,
I squint and make out the shadow
of a lumbering brown bear.
It’s too early for him to move quickly,
so I feel no fear
from this king of the forest.
I watch as other creatures
take their measure of him
with silence, reverence and respect.
The earth yields to his heavy paws,
as he heads off to seek his day’s work.
When will I find mine?

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Leaving gentle Senor Trujillo's weaving shop,

we drive along a dusty road,
passing huge red rose bushes planted to please Our Lady.
On past impossibly blue gates,
and souvenir huts,
we arrive at a small clearing and a gravel lot.

The holy church of Chimayo rises from solid ground.
Scattered pilgrims of every sort:
parents with small children
seeking relief from the sacred child of Atocha,
hippies out of time lightly step on holy ground,
which crunches nonetheless;
seekers eagerly enter the sanctuary.

Log ceiling beams set in adobe and whitewashed walls,
stations of the cross in ancient wooden frames,
each topped by a small crucifix.
The altar screen washed in colors subdued by nature and time,
Red, green, blue and gold.
Good and evil struggle from an upstairs window
while our Savior hangs on the cross in a proscenium stage.

Candles flicker in the faces of those who sit, look and pray.
Through the shortened doorway, a holy chapel.
Tiny shrines with large, crowded hope-filled prayers.
More old world than new.

Statues and dolls, small and large,

left behind for others to consider.
Jars filled with healing sand from a hole in the floor.
Crutches and bandages line the walls,
tributes to prayer, hope, faith and healing.

Leaving the chapel, squinting in the bright afternoon sun,
we linger a while, not ready yet to leave.
The wind of the Holy Spirit gently caresses our skin.
Children play with sticks in a nearby living stream.
Something is different here,
perhaps we're too old to understand,
unsure, we pay heed as our heart guides our feet.

Friday, June 16, 2006


The end of the trilogy...I promise.

I danced with Death this weekend.
She surprised me with her Beauty.
With flawless white hair
and glimmering eyes,
she gently stalked her prey.
Feet barely touching the floor,
Death seduced me into the Dance.

At first, I balked,
but soon gave in.
Mimicking her moves unwillingly
just to keep my distance.

I tired easily,
and collapsed to the floor,
Curled myself into
the tightest ball I could,
hoping Death would move on.

Silence. I dared a peek
and thinking Death had left the room
I slowly stood,
ready to make a run for it.

But then, I turned,
She’d been there all along.
Her eyes enticed me, once again,
but wouldn’t let me go.

I couldn’t break the grip
and so gave in, slowly
sliding to the floor this time.
Death, too gave in and
followed me. Together
we lay with arms and legs
enfolded. Sleep, sweet sleep
took us both away.


Don't worry. They won't all be on tough topics. Just where Sara took me (thanks!) and where I am right now.

Quiet, stark white,
few tubes, no machines.
Friends gather, comfortable noise.
Tell stories, sing songs.
Remember love, laughing.
Talk about the future,
tell me about next week,
your vacation plans.
Let me merely listen.
Don't need to see, but
must be able to hear -
even just a murmur.
Hold hands in a circle of love;
voices carry on softly
not noting that I've gone
'til later.
Gentle kisses on the forehead,
hands touching a now cold heart.
A wave from friends as they leave -
for just a short time.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


O ties that bind, imperfect love,
from days long past but firm of grip.
At last the time to cut these cords
has come to meet me in this place.
Blood of that blood, yet not the same.
Free me for good of ancient pain.

Old brown photos in wooden frames
remind me of the human face
of pain and tears and hurt and ache
so often felt but never healed.

Roses of red and yellow hues
plucked of petals, the past released.
Gently placed on photo tops as
prayers are said to heal each other.

The heart responds with grace and peace,
Loving kindness revealed to me.
The gaping wound begins to close,
a broken cord is now revealed;

A burden gone, breathing returns;
a deep inhale and lungs refill
with purer air than known for long,
ties no longer hold me back.