Thursday, December 31, 2009


Squall off the coast of Kauai, March 2009

Awakening to Rain!

tapping drumbeats on back step,
splashing within the hedge,
swaying in the grey mane sky.
A river is falling out of space and time,
into my mind, a hundred recollections
come with the rain.

steel clock on the roof of the rusty pickup,
curving off of the greenhouse beside my mother's garden,
rivulets spun from the Redwoods racing up the windshield,
a circlet on my hat while splitting wood in Autumn,
padding off the kayak's deck as we crossed into the island light...

Every time it rains it is the first time.
Today the downspout gurgles in cadence with the Raven's song.
And memory is added into memory.

Today, I'm grateful for the rain, how the earth opens her face up to the gentle storm, how these cloud banks were born off the coast of Oahu and Maui, how they traveled all the way to this farm, how the sky releases it's shiny collection of dew and whale song into our garden.

Praise the ear
Praise the sky.
Praise the rain.
Praise rain's memory of ten thousand days.
Praise the green that is sure to come.
Praise the falling song of the sea.
Praise the cadence
that awakens the dreamer from her sleep.

Song of the storm be yours.
Crown of dew be yours.
Memory of earth be yours.
Kauai rainbow above the Sacred Valley

(c) 2009, Richard Sievers, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Coyote Tracks

Coyote on the shore of Burrows Island scavenging at low tide.
These incredible animals will sometimes swim between islands
through treacherous tides to find food, water or mates. (c) 8/2005

Two coyotes traipsed by our bedroom window sometime last night. They left their tracks in the new snowfall. Their wanderings were evident by the cat dish, beneath the back porch sink and in the compost bin. We could see that their visitation was not only stealthy but purposeful.

(Section Deleted, See 1-30-2011 Post)

I wonder about the trickster, coyote.

(Section Deleted... The coyote is still at work.)

Since last night many feelings and stories have passed by. I woke to the snow bound tracks of the trickster... the coyote, mythical creator and and wily jester. I was thrilled that someone wild had passed by my dreaming window. A soothing warmth rose up in my heart, knowing that these beings came and went on their mysterious errands. Somehow they are a part of me.

A fierce presence became evident on the inside of me as well as on the outside. "Fear" seems to be so close to "Fierce". I saw these feelings as visitors, unruly and honored guests. The fearful stories are just passing through looking liking for something or someone to eat.

The coyote is real and has something to teach me. But what she intends or thinks remains a mystery. Maybe it's OK just to see the tracks left on the white lawn, knowing that the snow will melt soon. I am determined to be compassionate with the part of me that shivers in a rabbit hole. But that's not all of me.

Invisibility is a habit that is hard to break.

Even little rabbits have special powers.
And even the wily coyote trembles in her dreams.

Peace to you, friend.
May you know the Great Compassion for your inner coyote and rabbit.
May you observe them with reverence and discernment.
When the time comes,
may you release them back to the wild place from whence they came.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Witnessing Together

Frozen water splash in a rain barrel. (c) 10/2009

Twenty seven degrees this morning.

I walked to the cabin among fairy fingers of frost. A steel beam of cloud was levitating just west of the woodland. Sparrows flitted through the spruce in such numbers that the tree appeared to be shivering. The garden fence was Indra's net full of crystals and ten thousand open spaces.

I paused where the air seemed to shimmer. A sun mote rose in a prayer in the smoke from the chimney. The sunlight wedged in under the grey storm front. A spontaneous exclamation came as the stillness of the field glowed silver and gold:

"Look at that, God! Can you believe it? What beauty!"

God stood with me.
Both of our hearts
bowing to the beauty
of this day,
this one miraculous,
unique day.

I felt The Beloved
watch with me,
both of us
in awe, the painter
and the painted,
both colored
with a winter stillness.

Before I stepped out to the cabin this morning my sweetheart called me. She asked: "What are you going to do with this day?" And now I know...

Praise the space between sun and storm.
Praise the breath at the edge of the woodland.
Praise the grasses bowed with ice.
Praise the witnessing that is shared.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Check Engine

The Check Engine light was flashing as I drove through the iced latte twists of our country road. An ache deep in my lungs was warning me that a persistent virus was looking for a toe hold in me. The car was sputtering on empty. And so was the bank account. I felt an urgency in my heart because the sun was so brilliant on the icy road. The day began so bright, delicious and crisp... and mixed. I felt the sun offering itself one more day before a cold would shake my body.


Now... the car is in the shop. I write from the coffee shop on Esther Short Park in Vancouver. Beside me a disheveled young man fidgets. He skewers the the coffee sippers and the corporate schemers with his stare. Across the aisle is an older man, white hair, ancient white Mac laptop. He is lost in reverie, tapping a new tome into his memory bank. Occasionally he looks up, dreamily and serious. He peers into a library book with a broken spine. The sun spins it's web on all of us in here.

I sit with my sandwich clutched beside my leg, off the table. The young man stares at me. The old man stares into an interior landscape. I am strangely uncomfortable between the two strangers. One is of poverty. And one is of imagination. And here I am, teetering on the edge of both extremes. I feel an urgency here too. The Sun inspires words and a blank astonishment. A youthful wanderer and a cold shivering against the windows rattles me.

The weather is changing. The season seems to stir all of us with our fears and our fantasies. The sun... The sun... The sun. What beauty! Remember the sun! Collect all of it's promises and warm caresses blazing kisses upon your face. Feel the warmth while you can. Then remember it when your bones cold and old.

I say to myself... and perhaps to you... This is the day to be solid and free. This is a day to be right where I am, between the two poles... Stretched, but not snapped.

The tide of this familiar little shop moves in and out. The old man packs up his prized work and leaves. The young man stands, paces and then ambles out the other door. Here I am. The car is being repaired down the street. This new born cold is being soothed by a steaming joe. The spirit is free to move in and out through these windows so full of winter light. Inside there remains the urgency to breathe deep and notice all of this life.

Time is fleeting. There is this moment between past and future. For a moment I no longer clutch my sandwich. For a moment I am no longer afraid of what will come, or what will grow in my body. I will not limit what wants to move out into the clear blue dome of winter.


Sunday, December 27, 2009


I am grateful for the choices that make up a million small acts in life. This year I intend to be a little more conscious of my discernment and freedom. Three questions come:

Does this action fit with my callings and ways of contributing in life?

Does this action help to counter balance the destructive energy in the world?

Does this action lead to the possibility of joy for myself and others?

Yes, Yes and Yes are the preferred answers.... right?

Or is just the fact of contemplating the questions an act that breathes life into the world?

Clarity can be a rare occurrence. I'm frankly a little suspicious when someone knows the truth about some endeavor they are beginning.

So another set of contemplations:

Can you sit in the ambivalence of leaving some things undone in order to deepen another that is more in alignment with your body mind and heart?

Are you able to disappoint or disillusion someone else for a greater healing?

All I know is this: Choose something, and the choice will lead somewhere.

Can you live with the mysteries that can only be clarified with movement and stillness?

I was afraid to write this online journal tonight. I had few clues where it was going until my fingers started tapping the keys and my screen began to scroll into new territory. But I want to take a risk, and pose the questions that have no pat answers. Perhaps it is the the questioning and the release of the outcome that promotes a richer life?

Peace to you brothers and sisters,

Both pictures were created while drawing with my step kids this week.
(c) 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Waiting all my life for something to happen.
Waiting for some spirit I can capture, consume and resurrect.

All along, the burning jade forest,
the blue and scalded heavens,
the stone purple sea have all sent gifts
saying: “Open this!”

“Open the window, lover.
Open your eyes, singer.
Open your heart, builder.
Only one thing is ever happening.
Do you know what it is?”


Friday, December 25, 2009

Today, After the Storm

Today I will
gaze upon the field.
I will
do the work of watching,
still and remembering reverently
the wild night
we just passed through.

I will
be free to watch.
I will
be more than happy
and less than sad.

See the single scarlet
leaf, maple’s last flutter
of Autumns song.

Hear the crystal
bowl of earth
ripple within the sun streams.

Touch the frosted
footfalls, weaving
tales of last night
in the frost.

Daylight has come.

The curling fist
of the storm
is now an open
hand, unwound.
Pull the blinds.
Invite your eyes
into the wide and blue.

The people can wait.
The chores and sweat can wait.
The doings will rest.
The field is enough.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Matters Now

  Photo of Casa Del Sol in Ghost Ranch, NM 
(c) 2008 RSS

I woke this morning with a fresh memory dream of our trip to Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. We attended a wonderful week there with our friend Debora S. About ten of us gathered to write and create our lives as prayers. Here's a poem from that time:

What matters now:

Is the eagle
hidden by the ink
of the night sky,
the coyote stretching
from her den
after a day of sleeping,
the snake,
sunrise orange,
warming herself beneath
a stone, on the edge of an arroyo.

What matters now
is that I am breathing,
like them, alive,
thinking not in words,
though my hands write
and know the heart of the words.

No mind is vast
enough for God’s voices.
Yet we can be the eagle
or the coyote or the snake.

Move out into
your animal life,
no plan tonight
except to dance through
the silvered slivers
of moonlight.
There is no river to ford,
as the sand is still
warm and moist
from yesterday’s stormy sun.
There’s no thought
of last nights dream of mice
running in fields of mesquite,
only the urge to follow their scent,
only the path unseen by others.

I am free in this world
as you are free,
my friend.
Let us awaken from the serious
and dive straight into the dark.

There a million strands of
precious silver leading you
onto a new adventure,
leading you into the canyons
and brooding stillness of the mountain,
into the quaking
cottonwood forest song.
Awe lives there.
And you will find
that you live there too.

Home in the night and free.

Painting of Casa Del Sol

(c) 2008 RSS

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Single Burning Thread

Two Photographs. One Thread.

Untrecht, Holland, 1986. I'm 3rd from the right in the middle with sunglasses. A volunteer steward for Billy Graham Crusade.

Steens Mountains, Oregon, 1996. On a vision quest.

These two events led to my ordination in 2001.

Outside my window frost rises sprightly up every single blade of grass. A raven chortles from w
ithin a foggy scree of fir and hemlock. The hut that I built above the ocean shore has now been moved 251 miles to our field. How many days have been like this with the frosty raven and glowing cabin as companions? How many more? How many days of travel and exploration are left? How many seemingly ordinary?

As I approach fifty years I'm astounded by the diversity of life events. There is a breadth of happiness and languishing and the seeming ordinary in between. There's a single thread that has pulsed throughout my life. I've tried to capture, refine and honor that thread through several poignant openings.

One opening so long ago was working with a fervor, try and reflect a God that I knew loved me unconditionally. I h
ad my perfectly pressed maroon coat and my ideals and and a seeming solid code for salvation. Ten years later I spun inside peak experiences from several sojourns to meet the Compassionate Spirits. There are other pivotal events like being anointed by my Celtic mentor and dear soul friend in 2001. There are visits with death and resurrection in 2004 2005 that I cannot explain.

After each event came not only an opening of the heart but also a stumbling in being present and happy on this earth. A searing longing also came to me. There was a secret thread that pulsed and burned inside. It became an unchanging current even as life courses changed and and challenged me.

My stories are akin to the stories of everyone else on earth.There are unique details. And there is the secret thread that is a burning like a lover. That thread is so mysterious. It's ravelled into the fabric of everyone and everywhere. And it motivates me. I want my poems and lessons to make a difference in the world. I want that thread to stitch the wounds of my friend who is losing his father this week. I want the thread to vibrate as a song that is holy and happy for YOU dear reader. I want to feel the thread in my veins as I gather all my stories for the next phase in life.

How does
that mystery of life force and love want to manifest in your life at this moment?
How can
we all learn to touch that singing and longing? And what difference will that make in our world that so needs healing?

Peace and blessings to you in the one life you can call your own.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tortured and Timeless at 8AM

Cozy Cabin Cat: Callie

“If you would just do it right.” I heard myself say as I lay in bed paralyzed. So I stayed there in the sheets and thought some more and heard a stern voice inside: “It’s time to learn a little more discipline. Remember your vows. Remember?” I wanted to get outside of this cold house and go somewhere, anywhere but to my writing desk.

“You should buy a timer, so you can honestly count how long you actually do anything.” came another voice. I scheme how I could put in four concentrated hours a day developing my craft. So I get up with a will and shower. I think out loud: “Screw all that advice.”. I get ready to go to Starbucks to write anyway. I walk to the door and begin to put on my shoes. Then I step into cat barf that has been conveniently deposited into my right shoe over night. Squish…Yanking my once clean sock off, I step back into my own internal schism.

“Ok, the cat left a sign that I should stay home and really work on my book project”, I think magically. So I traipse out to the cabin to my desk. There she is, my dear cat. She is ensconced in my chair with piles of drafts and poems and paints all around her. I think: “Even the cat can be disciplined enough to sit here where I’m supposed to be. What’s wrong with me?”

I look down at her curled in a ball. She flicks an ear at me and opens one eye. I reach past her to my sticky pad and add onto the to-do list: “Get timer.” I have prerequisites for this experiment of passionate living after all?

I look at the cat. She has that “Whatever” look of mocking that only felines and teenagers can have on their face. Then I see her paw is draped across the writing pen I’d left on the chair. “Must be another sign, right?”

But there’s something about how still she is that nudges another part of me. So I kneel down. I take a minute to just breathe. Then I sit on the floor another minute to center myself. Beside me the cat is now purring on my chair, with my pen, in my cabin which is dedicated to the discipline of my writing and my painting.

And it came clear as a bell what I would do. I gave in and listened to the voice that said “Just sit down and do it. Write”. I also listened to the magical child inside saying: “All the signs point to staying put. These events are all just inklings that something good will finally come out of your creative heart.”

I listened.

Then I turned around and left the cabin to go to Starbucks.

As I closed the cabin door I looked in to see the cat lolling on her back, keeping the cushion warm for my return. There was no judgment on her face or on mine.

There’s a committee of voices inside the mind of most people. Some thoughts seem so petty, some so lofty, most just mundane. This morning I heard from the critic, the magician, the sergeant at arms, the bum and the man that is nice and good. I think all of them have something healing or evolutionary as motivation in their advice, even if the advice is not helpful or wise.

There’s a moment that is a still point and quiet. That moment is alive and can be found in the midst of these voices. It’s an indefinable, ineffable, singular presence. I imagine that presence whispering “All paths lead to me. Be still.” I realized that the cat must know this on some level.

There is not one right set of details to define a daily life. I know that discipline without passion is a dead end for me. I also find that beginning anything from any place that is not stillness is often fruitless for my endeavors. I am solid as the mountain. I am free as the raven that flies around the mountain. And I can remember the cat dreaming on my chair. I have the privilege of choice even in the seemingly small things.

I walk back into the house. I put on new socks. I slip my souls into another pair of shoes. And then I will go to Starbucks, with my writing pen of course. Perhaps I’ll see you there in the coffee flavored air, with one eye open, purring inside your chest, breathing free for a moment as the world flies around you.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Welcome to the Field

First Light (c) 2008

Welcome to the Field of Seven Houses.

What would happen if you really lived your own particular creative life?

I'm trying an experiment. Over the next four months I'll organize my life around the callings of my heart: art, the land and serving community. I've spent a life time preparing and going to school and fixing myself and making lists. Through April 19th I will endeavor to write to you every day about coming home.

It's so easy to feel/be isolated in our society. I want to try coming out with my art work in this world. And I need your help. Please be a witness and check in on this blog occasionally.

On this darkest of days meet me in the field that is yearning for Spring.