Natural Beauty

Building momentum on the bike down the slope, we caught up with the gentle breeze. From the gathering where my daughter loves to sing down to her grandmother’s home where she loves to play.

Enchanted by the simplicity of rolling, we find a familiar lush lawn and drop our bikes, slipping off sandals to allow bare-skinned feet to meet soft rain sprinkled grass.

It’s prickly with an occasional stick, maybe memories of words that hurt, as we walk beneath a beryl foliage of light. We worship, we sing, we laugh, we talk, we find a well of wilderness, of beauty, like a waterfall, sunshine pouring through the leaves, mixing with the breeze. I slow down, linger in that spot where the light seems to dance. We think of You.

This place reminds my soul to catch the Wind, to absorb the Light, to let my heart burn bright. We walk, feet to grass, we sense your beauty tickling our souls.
There is richness of life in this day, not measured in the accumulation of anything, weighed rather by the quality of every breath, the beauty of moments, together, in what we may mistake for boring or waiting or walking. We see the breeze sway the tall grass, leaves flicker with green luminescent light, we turn to sniff the flowery sweet scent, we glance at the flickering leafy light.

Then off home, a warm bath, a simple meal with loved ones bumping elbows, bread broken and wine sipped. Outside the light dims and the delight and surprise sparkle in childlike eyes, lightning spluttering from a short lived insect.

Briefly here and glowing silently then gone.

Words & Photos by Jonathan McCallum

School Terribly Wonderful

Transparent blue liquid bubbles in a slim beaker gradually formed an electric azul crystal that I gently placed on my bedroom shelf.

Ms. Papadopoulos taught history of the ancient Mediterranean—her ancestral backyard—passing it on through modern day stories from European cafes.
A world of history
Stories flowing from past to present.

The desire was growing
A longing
To know the world, to interact, to share stories together.
To be a lifelong learner.

Like that day up in the Tibetan mountains, running along the grass plains next to the yaks. Millennia upon millennia of history that I hadn’t read about in school.

School
So far beyond the books and beyond the tests
Which, at best, make us robots and numbers,
And always make me cringe.
I don’t value them. I value you, your story, you, just you, without the numbers, letters or titles.

They were many, the days in the classrooms, often grey and fog-tinged, when those of us with restless bodies longed to stretch out into the world, to go beyond.

To stand up and read
The world
Like a book full of vibrant life, dangerously real.
Adventures to be had, sights to walk and stories to experience.
Life dug up like archeological fragments, shared history.

And I find myself longing for more.
Out on some grassy hill looking to sea
Or beyond a mountain peak
Knowing that I learned what I loved.

And I loved to learn.

 

Words & Photo (of a friend’s bookshelf) by Jonathan McCallum

Depth of Nature

The sea like silken water with its triangular-peaked hills rising in front of me, neither relaxed or in a hurry, flows at a speed I wanted to experience.  I paddled frantically, and suddenly, in a breath, the sensation changed from a pulling through the water to a force pushing onto the azul cliff crest. Then there was the perfect rush down, the fall, a thunder of water behind, a liquid slicing turn along  green-blue scenery, a coal-less steam-powered train ride, the only energy nature’s.

In that breath, that ride, I remember that I too am part of this flowing life, and I shout out, thankful, singing, a prayer from within.  Air rushes past, nothing else can matter, my body and mind are consumed by a few seconds.  A delicious sensation, even the salty taste and scent as I inhale, smiling.

Seaside, I walk up the beach in adoration of nature.  My soul feels like my body felt, like a rock being momentarily launched, skimmed over something deep and alive.  And at the end of the ride, at the end of the moment, I sink into that which I love so much.

By Jonathan McCallum

 

Peace Song

Chill of ice-licked wind, gray fog, spluttering dust, rain to mud.
We huddle beneath forest canopy.
Smoldering logs, bread broken out, wine, fish.
The afternoon light exchanged for cool starlight.
A cross of logs and
Glimmering, unburning spikes flicker.
A moment glimpsed, remembered
When the world was given a chance again for peace.
But still I see swords, I see weapons, I see children crying for their loved ones.

Orange golden-kissed sunlight drenches sideways into soul,
Showing a green rolling land,
A land for these:
A land for those that wage not war, but peace
A land for the ones who love peace

I hear a song rolling down, a cascading chorus.
It is not a song of any one nation, claiming to have it all,
Nor a song of the powerful, reading the world through the glasses of “success”.
It is a song of the broken,
A song of the poor,
A song not excluding the rich or powerful
Yet commanding them to value it all, give it away and follow the way
Danced with steps of peace.

By Jonathan McCallum

Dance Within

I cannot
sing,
so to syllables I go.
scattering sounds,
sketching something from a landscape within.
to reach
to be drenched
in fields, brooks, flowing clear among green
waterfalls of ice to liquid snow, flowing off mountain cliffs.

life wonderfully bright,
often
(more than I admit)
cold at night
yet there is star mixed with lunar light.

I hear within while I’m without,
in nature alone:

Be among the
simple things
natural things
dance within the breeze,
move among the sea,
sway beneath the forest canopy,
run under the bright cloud and warming sun.

so I move
almost dance

life is richer
when I allow myself
to become momentarily
poorer,
lavishly spending
fuller, more pleasurable moments
together.


By Jonathan McCallum