Yesterday I dug a grave and buried a body. It is a hard thing to watch a life end in front of your eyes; it was the second I’ve witnessed this year. Since January, death has been all around me. Until now, I have only spoken about it with a select few people, and even then only in short, but not a day goes by where I do not reflect upon some aspect of death.

It has appeared to me in many ways. In my mind, I have even experienced my own. No longer is the finality of life simply an abstract idea. It has become very real for me. I have come to suspect that all of this is not an accident, but an integral part of my path. It seems as if I am being prepared. For what reason I do not yet entirely know, but I have been called to deeply feel what it means that we all must one day meet our demise, that every living thing must breathe a last breath.

I have so far gained considerable insight through these experiences. I no longer see death as a dark and terrible thing. There is much beauty in it. Without it, life has no meaning, no context, no value. Death is the ultimate qualifier of life. One does not ‘happen’ to the other, they are necessary conditions of each other. In truth, the two things are not actually separate—they are one in the same. What appears as an end is not in fact. Though difficult to see, it is only a transition from one form to the next, all part of a much longer process.

That is not to say that I think there should be no sadness in it or that it should not be mourned. Just that we should not reproach, despise, reject, or ignore it. Rather, we should honor death and have reverence for and acceptance of it. And in doing so, we will pay homage to life and give it the dignity and respect that it deserves. I say all of this, however, knowing well that it is incomplete and I still have much to learn. My path is ever unfolding with new lessons at each turn.

To all the loved ones we’ve lost this year: in the long time you spent on this earth, however cut short, you brought much joy and worth into our worlds that continues to live on in us. Thank you.

Celebrating the solstice in a cave with the trapped warmth of an old volcano. The coyotes howl at the full moon.


©Photography by Cameron Crow, December 2013.

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” —Mahatma Gandhi©Photo by Cameron Crow

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” —Mahatma Gandhi

©Photo by Cameron Crow

The perennial hush is all I can hear.


©Photos by Cameron Crow, December 2013.

LONG LIVE THE WILD THINGS

© Photography by Cameron Crow

© Photography by Cameron Crow

© Photography by Cameron Crow

When the Desert Hums, photographs by Cameron Crow

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance.” —Carlos Casteneda, The Teachings of don Juan

White As Diamonds, by Alela Diane

I’ve known mornings

white as diamonds
silent from a night so cold
such a stillness
calm as the owl glides
our lives are buried in snow

I was sifting through the piles
in my hand a tangled thread
each patient tug upon the snarl
is a glimpse of what has been

burdened bands gain strong hands
gaping holes where diamonds should be
must have been morning that stole them
a glint of white in the pocket of winter

and some hearts are ghosts settling down in dark waters
just as silt grows heavy and drowns with the stones

some hearts are ghosts settling down in dark waters
just as silt grows heavy and drowns with the stones

I’ve known mornings
white as diamonds
silent from a night so cold
such a stillness
calm as the owl glides
our lives are buried in snow

our lives are buried in snow



©Photography by Cameron Crow

I am no different from the trees: my leaves are dying. And that lush self of summer months, only weeks ago burgeoning with life, is receding deeper into me. And all that is excess is falling away. This can hurt. It can be confusing. Especially if you don’t see it coming or don’t accept it when it does. But it soon passes; and when it is over, when I will be left with nothing but what is requisite, what is indispensable, I am all the better for it. For then, with what little is left after the frost, I know all that I am and all that I need to be. I am stronger here in my core. Winter is coming. Let it be so.

These boots were made for stompin.©Photo by Cameron Crow, 2013.

These boots were made for stompin.


©Photo by Cameron Crow, 2013.