Ways of life…

I love this image- if it is yours, sorry I pinched it- from here…

Ways of life


For some life is lived in the measuring

Of every moment

In raising high the cup of experience

And drinking it dry


Life too is like a dark forest

A dark green shadow

Oozing out its fungal fingers

Spreading secret spores


But irrepressible


Life may be a blazing flare

Across the stormy night sky

Burning an arc into the retina

Should you look its way


Life too is an ember whose glow

Was borrowed by proximity


Then gone


Or life may be a bubble

In a clear blue stream

Dancing with the bouncing pebbles

And waltzing among the weeds


Then rising


Detained briefly by the surface tension

Going through


And beyond

Life flickers…

I have heard it said that

Dead men walking

We are



Like veal

Blown all too soon

by flies

But life still flickers

Faint but strong

Vibrating these hollow veins

And the voltage you make

Is a current

Wired to the nape

Of my neck

Because this thing we are

Is more than just

A bottle

For blood

So much more than just


Mixed from mud

Beautiful creature

Sing spirit-




The hands of the clock

Point at me and mock

Like a river blocked

By slowly eroding rock

Tick tock

The time will come

My lovely one

When we are done

Cracked up by sun

No sooner here

Than gone

Still resolute

Like King Canute

Or a shallow rooted tree


And me

Will be

Fragile circles of life

All around us, life is circling.

Some circles are big, some very small.

Insects that live a whole life in one of our days. Breakfast sees the end of childhood, lunch the weight of middle age responsibility, tea time the creaking of age, and with night, the sleep of the dead. Until the next generation comes into being.

Or consider the life of these tall trees.

Each slow forming ring of growth, evidence of their elevation over our own anxieties.

Each falling leaf layering the soil, laying down the food for the coming spring.

Each spreading branch offering the arm of shelter to a thousand lesser creatures. And me.

Seeding slowly and deliberately.

But even the tallest trees

Will one day


And what of us?

What of our life time? We tend to see our journeys as linear. Even then, perhaps we are comfortable with the now, less so with the tomorrow, and the future is a foreign country, were be dragons.

Away we go, off into middle distance – always forward, but often acting as if we are standing still.

But we are born not to die,

But to live.

To trace our own arc through this space of ours –

To windmill wide and open,

To love this life

And let it love us back

Perhaps unlike any of these other circles, we humans have this gift (this curse) of knowing

Knowing and seeking to know more

Seeking to connect and to overlap these circles-

Seeing where they depend one on the other

Seeing where they smash into one another

Vulnerable to the sharp jagged things

But capable

Of such joy

Into the wild…

A few weeks ago I watched this film.

I had already read the book, but this was one of those few occasions when the film some how took the raw material of the words and took them further. Like taking a charcoal drawing and turning it into a canvas laden with rich oil paint, in wonderful colour.

The film tells the real story of a young man from a privileged but dysfunctional background who turns his back on the modern culture, and decides to live a simple life- one of vital experience, deep relationships and particularly, one of absolute one-ness with the world and it’s wild places. He found his way into the Alaskan wilderness, where his ideals were tested to his own destruction, and he perished alone in an abandoned bus miles from anywhere.

This tragic event is somehow recorded in a way that is life enhancing, and beautiful. In his beautiful life, but tragic death, we are fed little slices of hope.

Life is so fragile, but those who really live- who transcend the narrow half lives that many of us fall into- these people, they seem to have found cracks through which has filtered something eternal, and somehow, more real.

Almost as if the Kingdom of God shines like a shaft of sunlight on the opposite side of the valley.

I was speaking to a friend of mine today who is a policeman. We were discussing the case of a missing woman who walked into the hills locally over a year ago now. No trace of her has ever been found. He told me that this is not such a rare thing in Scotland. People walk into the wilderness, perhaps to escape their demons, perhaps to celebrate them. Some perhaps are looking for an end to life, others it comes to as a surprise.

Not so long ago some forestry workers found a tent as they were clearing an area of forest. Inside the tent was the skeleton of a man who had lain there undisturbed for around 10 years.

Life is fragile.

But life is beautiful.

Lets not waste it.

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