The Extremes and Edges: The Places to Listen.

Journeys begin sometimes with a dream. The dream for me started late summer 1999 at the end of a workshop I was taking. It was the end of the weekend and we were all laying down. We were doing the last meditation to kind of bring it all to closure.

As the drumming filled the air I went to a spontaneous relaxed vision…. but it wasn’t just a vision it was a full sensory experience. It was incredibly lucid. In the dream or vision I was flying amongst these beautiful cumulus clouds that had turned slightly pink from the setting Sun. I could feel the coldness of the air as I was flying through them and the sky was blue and the sun was setting. I heard a voice tell me to look down. I looked down and saw snow covered tops of pine trees sticking up through deep snow. Really deep snow. I flew over it I was completely transfixed by what I was seeing. The perspective from above was jarring. It was a cold frozen world. The very edge of the tree line before it becomes too cold for trees to grow.

The voice said people will survive who go here. This is where it will begin again. I flew around for a while longer taking in this experience. I continued to feel this cold wind in my face and the stinging in my nose and then the drumming ended and I woke up.

At that time in the real world, I was not someone who thought fondly of the cold weather. In fact winter was my least favorite season. Thought of going north to survive some apocalyptic something was kind of off-putting to me. Intriguing because everyone was looking to the equator for answers among the indegenous communities. I didn’t really understand the nuance of my vision but I knew it was important to remember and write down.

Fast forward several years and there was a series that came out called Planet Earth and I rented it from the library. I popped in the first DVD and I was blown away because what I saw was the exact same image I had seen in my vision years before. The camera was flying over trees covered in thick layers of white snow poking out of deep drifts of snow the end of the boreal forests where the tree line ends the frozen tundra. The edge of life and death.

Fast forward again to December 2019 and I am making my way across the country. This is the third time that year crossing the country. My travels this trip are to end with me teaching in California at the end January. I would be making stops along the way the most important was in the southern deserts of Arizona to listen. My destination was Organ Pipe National Monument which is about 17 miles from the Mexican border. I’m going there to experience the desert to listen to the sound of the Earth. To be out in the wilds to understand what the Earth is trying to tell us about how we need to be on the planet and what we need to do to survive the changes that are happening.

I spent 6 days out there. Amazed at the diversity and life force. The vastness of the stars. They were so bright they lit up the sky without the moon. You felt you were standing in them… In the universe. The extremes of the ecology that expressed a wide diversity of life forms. It is sufficed to say my experience in the desert was deep and profound. I left there altered by what I experienced. At some point I will write more about that but for now it ties into the next phase of what would happen.

I don’t think anyone was prepared for the pandemic or for a virus to overtake the United States but when I left California I knew something was changing I knew a shift was happening. The very last thing I saw when I left the coast was a pod of humpback whales as I drove down route 1. I would stop and watch them come into view. Watching them until disappeared and then I’ll get back in my car and I drove further south. Then I’d stop and I’d watch the pod reappear and I did this several times before I made that left hand turn onto route 127 to head East towards the Mojave desert.

Without getting into the whole sort of journey of avoiding covid and learning to live with a plague as a reality. My life got weird and strange. It went from bad to worse to bad and then it began to improve and somehow through the miraculous magic of believing and having faith and trust in myself and in others I ended up landing in New Hampshire to live.

A few months ago I was looking on the internet one day thinking about planning a trip to Iceland after the world got better. In the mystery of the great Google up popped this listing for the Arctic Circle Grail in Greenland. And I was really intrigued. It is not the edge of the Boreal forest but it is kind of the end of the Earth. It’s one of the farthest reaches of Northern landmass you can go. It’s as close to the Arctic as I’m probably ever going to get and I want to hear what the Earth says there.

Greenland is an interesting place. We know it from our Western history is being the place where the Vikings landed, tried to and failed to establish colonies. We know it as avglacier covered large island. We know it is right now the epicenter of watching our climate disintegrate before our eyes. It has a history of indegenous shamanism that sing ancient songs about the trees that grew all over Greenland in a warmer time. It’s a place fill with secrets. It represents a whole lot in regards to where the planet is going and what could happen.

I want to go and listen. Like I did in the desert in Arizona. I want to hear what that northern extreme place has to say. In my journey over the last 30 years of discovering my humanity and what that really means in relationship to other people, to places and with the Earth. I’ve come to realize that listening and observing is one of my best teachers. I’m hoping that if I make the journey. Put in the sweat to reach these places that the Earth has something to share with me. Something to teach that I can bring back and use in a way that helps to realize the changes that we all have to make so we can participate on the earth in a healthier sustainable thriving way.

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