Posts Tagged ‘sunrise’

Pilgrimage Statistics

Days Riding: 142                            Consecutive Days Blogging: 126

Today’s Mileage: 0                                          Total Trip Mileage: 996

Leaving prayers at the center!

Greetings everyone!  I am writing today’s blog from atop Little Scaly Mountain near Highlands North Carolina.  I am acting as a chaperone for a group of church teens who are attending a Youth Conference at the Mountain Retreat and Learning Center.

I had intended to blog on a Pilgrimage site in Daytona Beach yesterday, but sometimes life’s demands conspire against us.  Meetings and preparation for this trip occupied my day and my chaperone duties occupied the entire evening.  In addition, there is something about cold fresh mountain air that draws me into a state of deep sleep.

 Mountain Dining Hall Banner: “To embrace the diversity of life, creating an environment to energize people to work for positive change.”

“The Mountain” as we Unitarian Universalists of the South Eastern US call our church affiliated retreat center is literally housed on the top of a mountain in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountain range.  From the fire tower at night you can see lights from South Carolina and Georgia

Mountain Dining Hall Plaque: “We drink from wells we did not dig.  We are warmed by fires we did not build.”

I just left the “morning gathering” where the 100+ High School aged teens sang songs and prepared for a series of workshops that will occupy much of their day.  I retreated to the “library” where the energy and noise levels are more conducive to my writing today’s blog.

Mountain Dining Hall Flag: “Energizing for Generations to come”

Meditation Rock!

I am one of those people where the solitude and serenity of nature is a powerful influence on my spirituality.  Nothing relaxes and inspires me like a walk through nature.  The Mountain has been a special place of spiritual renewal for me since I first discovered it, on a church retreat, some sixteen years ago.  I have acted as my church’s ambassador to the Mountain, given workshop and presentations for group retreats, accompanied church youth here for conferences, and most often just “dropped in” and stayed to hike, meditated, relax and create. The center is open to individual and groups of any faith or secular group.  The mountain embraces diversity and promotes positive and just social change.

Mountain Dining Hall Flag: “Living Simply and Sustainably”

The Mountain has been a place I have come to: let go of painful relationships, write poetry, find inspirational images for my artwork, sort out my life goals, relax while visiting various waterfalls, walking the surrounding mountains and the labyrinth and reconnecting with nature.  One of my favorite stories was the time I visited during the winter.  I arrived and the staff announced that they were all going away for three day.  They left food in the Dining Hall fridge for me to eat.  I spent two days and three nights alone on the mountain top.  The serenity and sense of solitude, especially at night, as the wind blew and ice crystals danced in the noon light was profound.  I ended up discovering that I was not entirely alone, as I found rabbit tracks in the fresh snow!

Mountain Dining Hall Flag: “Embracing Diversity”

The Labyrinth at the base of the mountain contains an alter stone at its center where people leave offerings and mementos.  Among the items are two stones, one bears a painted yin-yang symbol the other the sacred Hindu symbol “Om.”  On the bottom of each stone is the name of my sons. I have carried them with me in my thoughts and prayers as I walked this sacred path.  I left each stone there that they might draw strength and serenity from these sacred mountains.

Mountain Dining Hall Flag: “Being Just”

Before I leave today’s blog, it is nearing lunch time and I must rejoin my teens, I wanted to share with you a piece from the book: “Everyday Tao” by Deng Ming-Dao.  He writes about the mountains by saying:  “The ancient teachers took their students to the mountains, so that they could find inspiration in the high, sweeping vistas.  Each of them could take pleasure in the fresh air scented with pine and herbs.  None of them could fail to clear the mind of the toil and considerations of daily life.  From ancient times to the present, the mountains have been the best places to learn about Tao.  In the isolation of the mountains, with the voices of the throng stilled, the whispers of Tao could finally be heard.  This is what the ancients called the mountain spirit.”

Sunrise from the Fire Tower!

I am breathing in and relishing that mountain spirit.  I feel its presence refreshing and recharging my own spirit.  But it is now time that return to “the throng” with its infectious teen energy and youthful joy.  It is all part of the yin-yang dance of life!  Have a wonderful day!  I will return to our virtual journey and Daytona Beach tomorrow.

If you have enjoyed the blog please sign up for stationarypilgrim’s e-mail notification by going to the upper right corner of this page!  For more information about the Mountain visit: http://www.mountaincenters.org

Read Full Post »


Pilgrimage Statistics 

 Consecutive Days Riding:  83                              Consecutive Days Blogging: 84 

 Today’s Mileage: 6                                              Total Trip Mileage: 687 

 Happy New Year to all my family and friends! I decided to let myself have a little reprieve today.  I will be riding the bike of course, but instead of composing my typical blog ramblings I have posted several quotes and beautiful images.  They are words and images to ponder as we prepare our resolutions for a new year.  I hope you enjoy both as the gifts they are… see you tomorrow! 

Awaken to the New Year and its Possibilities!

“Go back?” he thought.  “No good at all!  Go sideways?  Impossible!  Go forward?  Only thing to do!  On we go!”  So he got up, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.   J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit 

 “Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them.”  G.K. Chesterton 

What mountains will we face in the New Year?

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”  C.S. Lewis 

“A friendly study of the world’s religions is a sacred duty.” Mahatma Gandhi

Embrace each new day as a gift!

“A good man is not a perfect man; a good man is an honest man, faithful, and unhesitatingly responsive to the voice of God in his life.”  John Fischer 

“Belief is truth held in the mind; faith is a fire in the heart.”  Joseph Fort Newton

How will you celebrate the beauty on your path?

“Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.” Frederick Buechner 

“God’s heart is the most sensitive and tender of all. No act goes unnoticed, no matter how insignificant or small.” Richard J. Foster 

The days grow longer... the cycles of nature unfold!

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” The Dalai Lama 

“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” “A good traveler has no fixed plan, and is not intent on arriving.” “If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled.” “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”     Lao Tzu

Be kind to the children... no cruel jokes please!

Read Full Post »

Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding: 29                               Consecutive Days Blogging: 30

Today’s Mileage: 10                                            Total Trip Mileage: 275


        As I ride the bike today and think about my Blog topic I am confronted with the creative feast-or-famine dilemma.  My Blog topic list is growing, the daily news offers new ideas, the weather has been picture perfect, and we will be visiting a new Pilgrimage Site tomorrow.  Hint: prepare to go Kosher! So what should one do when confronted with such a creative tug-of-war?  Go to the beach and write poetry of course!

miamiamanecer by e r del valle

Sunrise near the beach.

     Let us travel up the beach. Listening to the voice of nature on that thin ribbon of sand perched between two worlds, one offers us precious breaths the other washes us clean. Both offer mystery and glimpses of the divine.

Walking Towards the Sunrise

Pulsating roar of waves

Damp sand

Stained with sea foam.

Beach skyline

Recedes into the distance

Melting into a yellow

And peach haze.

Sun hidden behind a streak

Of blue gray clouds

Highlighted with golden edges.


 Sandy Cycles


    The sage sees in the waves

    The eternal give and take

    That is life.


    That which expands outward

    Soon retreats

    To be followed by another



Majestic beach scene roberto casin

Majestic beach scene!


 Sandpiper and Child



Two pairs of thin legs

Run from the edge

Of the advancing wave

 One seeks


At the water’s edge

The other seeks

Playful abandonment


Eye of the Beholder Shells






Ignored by beachcombers

In search of more colorful treasures

They are exactly what I seek

 Suspended from driftwood

By thin cotton fibers

They respond to the wind’s

Invisible movement

With the rhythmic

Sounds of the sea

Enticing memories of

Roaring waves

And salty breezes


No Swimming Allowed


Caught between

The surging waves

And the pounding pace

Of beach joggers

Panic and take flight

marina at coconut grove by R Casin

Coconut Grove Marina.

My Essence

Should you spread

My ashes

On the ocean’s surface,

  Or the red clay soil,

    Of my adopted home?

Should you carry them back

  To the expansive plains

    The tall grass

      The shallow streams

          The dark rich soil

            The home of my youth?

It doesn’t really matter,

  For the atoms of my existence

    Will find a way to

      Trickle through the soil,

        Babble in the brook,

          Rush through the rapids,

            Roar over the falls,

              Surging toward the sea,

                Joining the waves.

miami skyline by emilport74

Man's metal mountain skyline awaits!

     I hope you have enjoyed today’s walk along the beach and my beach poetry.  Look at the skyline of the city. Mankind’s artificial mountains rise up to greet us with new adventures and old memories.  Tomorrow we visit images of fame and power, talk of saintly deeds and absolute evil!  Stay tuned!

A special thanks to the photographers associated with Panramio for the beautiful scenes from along the roadside. The information on holy days and sacred holidays comes from http://www.interfaithcalendar.org.

Read Full Post »

Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding: 24                             Consecutive Days Blogging: 25

Today’s Mileage: 10                                           Total Trip Mileage: 238


Holidays and Holy Days on November 2nd:

All Souls’ Day – Catholic Christian day of prayers of remembrance and intercession for the dead. Prayers of the faithful are seen as helping to cleanse the souls for the beatific vision of God in heaven.

Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday – Sikh honoring of the birth of the first Sikh teacher who lived from 1469 -1539 c.e. Sacred readings, prayers, hymns, meals together.


dawn in everglades by juanka05

Dawn over the Everglades.

    As I ride the bike today I am confronted with the question: How does one convey the sacredness of a place that does not include a shrine or object associated with a recognized wisdom tradition?  Is shear physical size, natural beauty or biodiversity enough?

 alligators by leocisneros 

ospreythumb by rodney cammauf nps


 Jennifer Westwood in her book Sacred Journeys notes that pilgrimage sites may be “places of great natural grandeur.”  This choice can be made for three different reasons.  First, it might be an acknowledgement of the masterwork of the Creator, thereby representing a gift.  Secondly, these places may be seen as the dwelling place of God or spirits.  Lastly, such sites may induce within the viewer a sense of awe and mystery leading to a powerful connectedness with nature (nature mysticism), which is experienced as a gift.

greatblueheronthumb by rodney cammauf nps

Great Blue Heron

 The Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts a large range of  rare and endangered plant and animal species. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, highlighting and establishing it’s significance to all people of the world.

     While the park’s beauty and diversity is a product of nature, how did the park come into being?  The harmful side effects of dredging and draining were apparent on the landscape of southern Florida early in the last century. In 1928 landscape architect Ernest Coe began a concentrated effort to designate a “Tropical Everglades National Park.”


     His persistence paid off when he and others persuaded Congress to designate the Everglades as a national park in 1934.  In 1947, Marjory Stoneman Douglas published The Everglades: River of Grass, a work that greatly influence the public perception of this region.  That same year, Everglades National Park officially opened, marking the first large-scale attempt to protect the area’s unique biology.

pantherthumb by rodney cammauf nps

Panther on the prowl.

 Rather then share my views on the site any further I will let the beauty of the wildlife and scenery plus the words of a Floridian poet speak!

pelican by rodney cammauf nps

Brown Pelican.

Nothing out there by Betsy Bolger-PauletNothing whatever is going on,
    except the cicadas
    except bird voices
    except breeze in the pines
    and the long-missed sound
        of my breath, my heart,
        and my voice singing to myself.

There is nothing at all to see
    except sky and clouds
    except butterflies and wildflowers
    except tracks of deer and ‘coon by the pond
    and scenes from long-lost memory:
        visions of plans and hopes,
        and my rippled reflection among reeds.

There is absolutely nothing to do
    once the tent is pitched
    once the firewood is gathered
    once the water is carried
    but walk without destination in green places
        and stand perfectly still
        and listen and look at nothing.


 white bird by dayra uzeta

Evening in the Piney Woods by Betsy Bolger-Paulet

Long light at the end of the day
stretching between the pines
tinting the cloudless Western sky
and reaching tender rosy arms around the whole horizon.
The colors are like an old-fashioned ring,
in three shades of gold: yellow, white, and pink.

Luminous blue above is like painting on eggshell-thin china.
Chuck-will’s-widow calls, and summer’s last cicadas choir, 
and I’m suspended like a prehistoric insect 
in this amber light.
I lose the will to speak or move
owning only the still senses:
vision, hearing, the smell of the wet green land.

At this instant, I could be anywhere in time,
and if I could hold onto it
through the rising and setting
of our cozy local moon,
until the stars stitch bright needles 
through the black satin night,
I would find myself in casual conversation
with a soul on the far side of infinity.

flower by franco tobias

Beauty at your feet.

royal palm sunset

A final Everglades sunset!

A special thanks to the photographers associated with Panramio for the beautiful scenes from along the roadside. Thanks to the national park service photographer Rodney Cammaulf  for many of the beautiful wildlife shots. For further information, including virtual tours of the everglades visit nps.gov/ever. Also a special thanks to Betsy Bolger-Paulet for the poems you can learn more about her work at http://www.floridasongstory.com.  The information on holy days and sacred holidays comes from http://www.interfaithcalendar.org.

Read Full Post »