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Water Seeking Light Audio Book

by Christopher Robin Anderl

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Introduction 01:55
Introduction This book represents a selection of my work in the Northwest mountains and streams from 1993 to 2008. I take as my masters and mentors the ancient Chinese nature poets and Daoists, who were writing remarkably subtle, infinitely wise observations of nature and cosmos in their succinct and beautiful poems of nearly two millennia ago. The Chinese sage-poets of long ago are eminently relevant and valuable to us as guides along the Way of living in harmony with Nature. For Daoists then as now Water both as an element and spiritual principle serves as the primary guide to flowing with the myriad phenomena and constant flux of the universe, taking the path(s) of least resistance, in addition to inspiring much sentiment and verse. (We humans are 70-75% water, after all). A good deal of humility (from humus, or forest soil layers of leaf, mold, moss, indeed, the very stuff of which come) is in order in our relation to nature. This begins, I believe, with quieting the ego enough to realize the complex, interconnected, and beautiful harmonies that hold the world together, that brought us into being as humans, and that are the source of endless wisdom, health, and happiness when we listen (with all our senses and being). These poems, then, are offered in honor of the Chinese masters that perhaps we may yet hear their faint echoes inviting us to slow down, breath deep, pay attention (it is free, precious, and yet in such shortage) and listen......... listen.........listen........ A Note on reading (my) Poetry For those who may be new to reading poetry (or not), may I suggest: a slower pace than is used for prose, thus a savouring of each word and its nuances (in meaning, musicality, and context within the line and poem), and a pause at the end of each line, with the understanding that each line (like each word) stands somewhat on its own, is its own poem; the length of the pause being a personal, but necessary choice. Empty space is as equally important as lines are in poems, just as in Chinese landscape painting: think of swirling mists, partially hidden crags and pine trees, mountains emerging from the emptiness. Finally, reading a poem aloud will often provide a quite different (and necessary) understanding and appreciation. I hope this helps your enjoyment. Preface to the Second Edition Part I of the present book was originally published in 2003 as Water Seeking: Poems of Wonder, in a handbound, limited printing of 100 copies, all of which are now dispersed to the 6 directions. It was my first published book of poetry. By 2008 I had enough new material to grow this chapbook into the full-length version presented here. Somehow it came to be 2010. I think life intervened between, as well as other poetic projects. A brief semantic note: the title of Part II, “Eh-da- ho” is my rendering of an approximation of the Nez Perce pronounciation of their homeland in N. Central Idaho, which came to be known to white settlers as “Idaho.” It is said to mean: “[Behold the beautiful]Light on the Mountains,” and I take it as an apt description of this very mountainous land. Meanwhile, Idaho, like the rest of the Western U.S., continues to suffer the assaults of too many people and their machines, particularly their water craft, as I express from the kayaker’s perspective in “Into a Rippled Sky.” And more development continues to add houses, cars, et al ad naseum to the already ill-planned suburban sprawl. May those who can listen, still find places to hear nature’s teachings. C.A. Inverness, CA January 23, 2011
The Poet 00:10
The Poet stands between the Singer, the Shaman, the Sage—is some of each.
Where I Live 01:11
Where I Live I live and have grown where mountains rise up from the plains, the steppe of the Plateau of the River “Columbia” Where I live green mountains first rise in ridges against the Eastern sky and stretch away away until the next plains until the next ranges rise and claim remaining rain from Ocean-bearing clouds of storms. I live where the arid flats are called a prairie and reach East between these Selkirk mountains a dry Western finger Where lakes abound beneath the green ridges and proclaim rain’s consummate journey to these inland folds of cedar–hemlock, fir and alder, birch, maple, and ash northslopes ponderosa dry southslopes inland rainforest remnants small groves, scattered fragments of what once was
Two Fireweed Crossing against the eastern sky deep lavender flowers, seed pod spokes, ascending toward lone mountain ridge: old firelookout, long abandonded hermitage, Eye of the mountain in the purple dusk
Young Moose 00:55
Young Moose Young Moose takes a dip in the cool cove, oversize hippo ears twitching to the water, ahhh, it feels so good on this hot humid day Swimming toward us on the crushed granite beach, snuffling that Asiatic-American camel snout above the water, over the land bridge and onto the other side, just a few feet away Talk gently to an approaching moose of any age, I always say. Ahhhh, refreshed, a shake of the coat, a look around, and a look back at the other side indifference to us, but oh the pleasure of wet moose on a hot day should never be underestimated.
I Awake 00:45
I Awake I awake to the quick movements of the busy acrobat Douglas Fir squirrel atop his towering tree silhouetted against the cool grey late August Pacific Inland morning, suggestions of coastal rain—he is nimbly clipping and flinging sap heavy cones, one-by-one, from the spindly heights, occasionally pausing to admire his work of raining cones that fall so fast straight down through the boughs.
Spring 00:19
Spring Spring Rain Falling Spring Rain Falling straight Spring Rain Falling straight down through the pine needles
Tipi Creek, Cottonwood Grove Cool Breeze Down the River Ruffles through the Cottonwoods lightly like tiny fans while robin bathes in the pool, tail splashing water over head dipping under for a drink, and plover plies and bobs its way along the river shallows, that river rock grey body in search of stoneflies, plentiful riverine mollusks for the shell accustomed bird; coastal haze in horizontal and sandswept waves brushes in over these riparian valley wetlands of spruce, whitepine, willow, grandfather and grandmother old cottonwoods, along these meandering mountain streams, along this creek, on the soft riverine breeze somewhere, flowing to the Sea.
Of Kootenay Lake across by kayak in search in pictographs I find instead skin-smooth stone palms, cupped granite hands to the pure waters, and find myself given over to them lying back placing myself at their holy mercy the waters of life lapping softly up polished, open, pious palms to my toes. Not often do skin and stone meet so close; glacial carved receptacle of mortal flesh can mesh so well Looking for ancient paintings on the rocks I found myself in everlasting stone upon the water.
In Search of Drumheller Springs In Urban Spokane In Search of “Spokane Garry” And the Pale Purple White Irises Ghosts Of the Children of the Sun Where Willow Springs drip from a rusty misshapen pipe and Willows Spring Old and Young from the Basalt Square Block bounded by Streets in Urban Spokane Garry, what would you say, translate for your People, if you would, in the Native tongue: is this what the Jesuits promised you promised the People who lived in wise cycles all those ages This, Progress? Toward Cemented Springs that drip from rusting pipes like tear drop petals of the pale iris.
Water Only Sounds Like Clockwork when it falls in straight lines down galvanized steel gutters from a flat roof—ping, ping ping, ping. Drip drip drip drip, but it ain’t got no beat, man; it’s just straight.
Sky Lake 00:40
Sky Lake Eating fire-baked west-slope cutthroat trout from a wedge of lodgepole pine plate. As fish fat seeps through the cracks and drips on my lap I grin with delight, for had we remembered butter or pan, I’d have never had the pleasure of such fish leapt from granite mountain reflection onto baking stones by the popping fire into mouth in awe, pearled eyes, tail curled in still motion
Untitled I. Years to unlearn what the wild deer has not II. River snaking blue- green through the pines III. This same sun I have seen set so many times never seems quite the same IV. Mountain breezes scatter seeds rustle leaves sift thoughts and spread wildfire V. Cold expanse-- glacier blue moves mountains
I Went Out A’Seeking Today seeking the Breath of the People to the South and West of here; for the air they’ve breathed is the air I breathe, and we all share in this connected world of bodies, breath, soil and soul. So I drove my trusty horse-powered car-riage out to the Palouse, farm country, away to where the fields run and tumble over hills for miles and the hard winter wheat and the red winter wheat put the meat on the table for the simple honest folks out there. Who would want to be a farmer today—such an unglamorous career by our modern info-tech-entertain-dustry standards that protrude into nearly every American home including those of the combine-driving wheat farming families of the Palouse.
Aspen: Kachina Peaks, AZ A black raven fans against blue sky, white-veined aspen reach for the pale moon of a fading sun into the seemless blue nourishing roots that plunge into earth. Aspen are moon streamers that touch the Earth: there, a white sanctity, rising behind peaks of snow and quivering aspen.
Field Notes on Parking Lot Ecology I. People come and they go. Clutching Paper prescription sacks and a gallon of milk or two to wash down the pain medicine onto the next errand maybe dinner t.v. bed. II. Great Blue Heron Flying Over parking lots and industry unending into the fading sunset light. Flying where? Searching Searching for Water.
I Rejoice 00:26
I Rejoice with outreached arms of gently swaying trees, at the end of drought: the coming of late August rain. I rejoice with the cool perfume of cedar and hemlock down by the brooks where alder, fern, maple, birch and willow dwell.
The Crickets Strum their slow tune to the late September days the late September evening that hangs on the fading light the fading hues of fall the western horizon just barely visible, but audible as the crickets who strum their lovely lonely tunes of night into the late September sky hanging on to the summer that barely was strum now crickets strum on—to the westward march of Fall, whose brilliant colors will shine and fade in a great last hurrah like this sunset, at the end of September.
Like Every Piece of Earth I cannot help but be touched and renewed by the rain, each drop cleansing and penetrating the old Earth’s skin, feeding life and creativity— first Fall rains. They begin the mouldering of leaves back into soil to nurture those from which they fell. the hydrologic cycle the pattering of drops on the leaf-strewn ground is the sound of thirst quenched, of parched old bones gladly receiving life again, after a long season of drought, and all the world rejoices in the bestowing of liquid life in this baptism of the year. When the rain comes it cleanses all such is the power of fresh water— pulling the salts and poisons out of the land and ourselves to the Great Mother Oceans with seemingly boundless tolerance for our profane ways of Being; replentishing and refreshing— This is the New Year: when fresh shoots spring up or are stirred to awaken Yes this is the renewing.
Eh-Daho 00:28
Eh-daho Light on the Mountain Passing clouds wind through the pines bees at work and the smell of flowers— Inland Northwest Columbia Mountains, idle summer afternoon
Blood Flower 00:22
Blood Flower Bending to Pull The Blood of St. John’s flower I am thanked by huckleberry hidden heretofore; am stained crimson, purple, in passionate delight
For my wife Sierra My sweet syringa Gardenia of the North wood forests have I missed you this year—past mid July Our wedding flower
The August Days Temp.-- 82° in the shade humidity—low, 10-15% conditions—ideal breeze—light to none with cool drawing down the mountain gullies skies—peerless forecast—excellent a lightness of being palpable in the air high pressure little atmosphere between you and the blue heavens of ocean circling the sun
How I Work 00:59
How I Work (How do I?) Before I sit with others’ ideas I sit with pen and paper; before I sit with pen and paper, I sit with Experience, allow it to speak to my silence, if it will, and if my silence will allow it. Phenomenon and Experience First: for This is the Ground of Being, the Being of Groundedness, the Embodiment Then I watch distant mountain ridges: contours appear in evening shadow; listen to the westerlies sough through pine bough forest I watch geography unfold unknown lines under lenghthening shadow, bringing shadowed air down between crease and fold, exhaling risen heat of day in mountain breath
Into a Rippled Sky Into a rippled sky I dip, dip dip, dip silently my paddles into water smooth as glass rippled only by cloud, as I quietly ply my boat through sky above Dip, Dip, go the paddles into the green oh so beautiful green heavy metal-tainted, silver-mine boom and bust, where are you now you greedy bastards water paddle along these waters, dip, dip, careful not to touch this life-giving poison- ous water to your mouth, careful now, they tell the generations of afflicted families, careful with these waters Dip Dip Go the Paddles Sad Sad is the music of Humanity played out on this Day on this Lake, on these Waters: Jetboats, speedboats, cabin cruisers, jet skies, airplanes and seaplanes all groan and howl and roar their demonic noise, incesssant undivided jumbled confused chaotic wave chop tosses kayak and passenger about the surface tension of these defiled waters and atmosphere dominated by the agony of machine Is She of Nature’s Waters so imposing, so threatening as to require this?
Lessons From the Grove of Ancient Cedars I. Cedar Silence Cedar Stillness Red Veins fingers reaching into Earth: butressed rainforest roots spread out, not deep in sandy silty soils to filter pure silence, running clear thoughts so lacking in this noisy world where a moment must last forever, if you are fortunate enough to have One at all. Pure, clear, undisturbed ancient forest water: reflecting, nurturing clear human awareness and presence: so vital, so precious, so lacking in the clearcut narrow minded fat-clogged neuro- arterials of bloated industrial minds of greed that ravage the sources of clean pure water, stillness, thought: so that few truly think anymore of what is lost, of what is left... What is left
II. What the Trees of Life told me: Western civ. in one sentence: steal or destroy whatever was naturally and freely given, then sell or charge for it, or the technology to deal with problems created by stealing and destroying in the first place— or create devices to further exploit (just for “fun”). These Cedars not of Lebanon but Old as a child of Bethlehem two thousand years of Being Rooted in a place will produce ruminations Deep and True. Not only Ancient Trees but all W ild and Free of Charge places tell such truths, and all the world left Alone by man is ancient and before his Fall from a grace and freedom naturally given. Freedom, much abused word these times, after all, implies a domain free of cost
III. What the evening early September sun upon cedar spring water told me: cleanse thyself, heal thyself within and out. Drink, drink of this solarized sacred water filtered through the ancient thuja roots and quartzite sands, for it is Holy. Pick up litter, white trash left behind.
IV. May all wild, ancient, natural, and free places left be solemn reminder and remainder, sanctuary for what is Good, True, Beautiful, and Enduring in this human inundated world of machine rush, disembodiment, delusion. The Ancient Songs and Teachings may yet be heard by those who will seek and listen.
Creature Teachings I. Spider taught me: seek pointedly the mysteries and they will flee your gaze. Instead, allow all things to Be: Everything unfolds of It’s own accord II. The frogs have told me: stay near the cool, clear, clean mountain water. III. Golden Eagle told me in the many summers of smoke obscurity: stay low with your wings spread over the serpent lake; do not attempt to soar the heights when fires and smoke bar the Way: seek clean Ocean Air IV. The Slocan Lake Wind Spirit taught me: strong winds even from behind can be treacherous 4 foot waves rebounding from rock slab shoreline, kayaks close to and navigating sideways around points. That Wind can change direction 5 times in a day: don’t think you can ever guess correctly.
Liberty (Liberté) Creek Park Waxing full moon rising between mountain ridges folded to valley blue. aspen sapling and cottonwood in the cool evening draw down breath, shivering
Nemo Creek 00:26
Nemo Creek Where water falls down ouzels fly Up Tiger lilies lilt to the side, gazing pretty faces at the flowing granite, liquid rock beneath clear flowing still water
Flicker 00:58
Flicker For I have seen the red-shafted flicker fly straight into my heart, variegated breast and wing aflame in autumn liquidamber; and I have seen a cacophony of magpies, garrulous, gregarious bands of these tricksters together with curious corroborees of flickers sticking their heads in the grass: most unflickerlike, the shy woodpecker here cavorting on the lawn with a party of flamboyantly attired black white and turqoise- tailed magpies. All perhaps heat and humidity dazed in this last gasp of summer; seeking the pungent protein of the leaf-footed pine bug that usually flourishes late summer but this year has magpies and flickers dancing crazy in their own abundance
Old Ponderosa Lake Camp-Sight beneath the old trees here I sit, trees that have seen once the People camped, living upon this shore, a good people, relatively few in number. Now, it is legal and encouraged to act criminally toward Nature: do it before “the next guy” does. In the tribunal court of Nature we moderns are all greater or lesser criminals in our complicity with or acceptance of societal values and actions. Many think things couldn’t be better now (unless wishing that they themselves could inflict more consumption and pollution than current financial status allows). The old ponderosas remain solemn and silent (like an Indian, as the white man says) to most, but when I catch a moment of the breeze through their needles I think I hear their long and slow hymn; their roots are deep, deep beneath these lake shores
Rubber Boa 00:55
Rubber Boa Old Great Grey Grandmother Snake I almost killed on the driveway pavement with the rainforest-rubber shod iron horses of the autonation I hold and caress you, your cool-cold slick body, creamy yellow belly; you kiss just lightly with cool red, black-tipped forked tongue, and I give great thanks for your blessing on my hurried way to printer with new and first book manuscript, new skin for your blessing for we have only just met and I give great thanks The Snake Kingdom shall live forever, since time eternal has it been decreed.
Short Untitled Poems I. another day before leaving teardrops and jasmine season the morning tea— parting at last with a cat Immortal II. Blackberry twirled in the morning sun— chipmunk’s breakfast III. Choke cherries nibbled in chokecherry shade— afternoon delight IV. Does Douglas squirrel who spends its days and nights among the sap laden cones of late summer also smell of the resin perfume? V. Under the file “Signs of the times”: “Zephyr Christian Conference Grounds No Public Access” VI. Fireweed seed fluff August winds— mid-summer snowstorm
Who Sees 00:46
Who Sees Who sees the red-tailed hawk lift from its perch upon the parking lot floodlight who sees it glide down and alight wings spread, tail fanned, in a squared off block of dry grass stubble labeled “commercial real estate;” the hawk will soon be hunting again, for space not fenced by dollar bills, by concrete and asphalt spreading human sprawl. Who sees then who has seen the red-tailed hawk and prey who would say they are trespassing
Sweet Brown Eyes To catch a glimpse of a pine marten, much less gaze awhile into those wild soft brown forest eyes, is a rare privilege at mid-day in the early autumn forest. you must ask with sincerity: and one will offer itself to be seen, to be appreciated --striking orange-brown breast triangle-- and loved, spoken softly to, and half close those sweet, sharp brown eyes and rest awhile on the down tree while we stare in wonder: this rare and magical creature here before our very eyes before our very eyes!
Indian Creek 00:53
Indian Creek, Aug. ’01, Valhalla Under shade of cedar and birch beside Indian creek and white granite beach, shadings of shallows, Northern tropics of emerald, turquoise, and deep water blue lapiz off the rock shelf, I give thanks for the blessing of cool running water pure from the sea of rising grey peaks and green clad mountains all around on this lake, on this searing day in a year of drought. I know not how much longer the strongholds of Nature, as this Valhalla, can sustain against the onslaughts
Old Mother Snake Old mother snake, in the Garden, orchard of grafted and tampered apples and pears where we planted our first garden— at 31, at least younger than T’ao Ch’ien. Gilgamesh found the Snake Kingdom everlasting in his vain struggles with Cedar spirits and ancient Noahs. I welcome the snakes to my home and garden, the blessings of their wise old ways
Notes of a “body anthropologist”/an Infomertial (not Commertial, implying that only information is being given, nothing sold; treacherous lies, though, masqueraded by “experts in health and fitness”—they probably are—who cares?) the body anthro-apologist cares That we should not smile our yellowed, worn, toothless smiles (except for rustic, commerical effect) That we should not hone our flesh to earth walking in uneven leisured gate. That instead this artificial White Smile fitness-crazed tv Try as we might, nothing so difficult as simplicity, acceptance of a natural, time-honored, time-bound and time-less Way of Being in ancestral bodies bulging here and there, worn and weathered into sun-parched potato skin sacks slung over shoulder blades bent and danced into lines drawn upon this Earth that is us: Sung and Spoken. From which soil springs this plastic plant we call Amerika? Surely not the deep soil of Earth People. (in a bright and perky voice, Barbie says): It perfectly simulates walking while simultaneously toning all the muscles of the body and whitening your teeth creating a new, better you all from the privacy of your own home. Memo: Brave new world The End is Near
Lobster, tank, still, life I. I would set free the lobsters in their gross glassery case, but for a place to put them. I would send them out the fire exit door, into the moist warm night, send them toward the lakes and rivers, but no, no they must await their allotted time like the rest who work these flourescent aisles, who sit behind their own tanks and glass walls, waiting for retirement II. Some strut proud in the bubbling enclosure in the penetentiary-lit corner of the stench-ridden meat counter others, most, cower silently and sullenly together in a corner, their life all but gone I think that to set them free even in the aisles might be a preferable fate to this, but return to my wine selection lobster, tank, still, life, in the back corner of the store, next to the wine, a place to drown one’s sorrows at this world.
Cottonwood Cabin at Sunset Rainbows’ Beginning Slowly, Slowly drift the wind swept white sand clouds of time across an ocean of sky blue, swiftly swiftly fly the swallows gathering insects for their young beneath our eaves Quietly, quietly, another evening, fades to sun set
Green to Silver Cottonwoods, Green to Silver-- in the Wind
Wild Cherry Cabin Suffering Cough and Sadness I notice: Wild Cherries growing crimson by the dangling clusters, like their leaves, deepening by the nights growing cooler, by the sunset rays deepening earlier South-ward Yellow twirling fans how they dance and lilt on the wind like the swallows whose adobe nests we removed from under the eaves: cottonwood leaf banners flying on September cleansing winds, All Autumnal signs in accord. Your Medicine, right Out the Door
Peace and Freedom Dispatch from the Immortal Rock Pinnacles at the big bend of the little north fork: I stand still in gathered light and know: There shall be no war forever. One day All shall be free and in peace. This I know in my own peaceful heart in the heart of these peaceful mountains where we may yet know, and find, that peaceful day.
Valhalla Twilight: New Denver, B.C. Into the blue blue dusk fading blue mountains with ridge after ridge gorged deeply by white not blue water carving pink granite; falling and washing smooth; and those are the rocky bones protruding as kneecaps and elbows spines and scapulas of the Mountain Jotuns, Perhaps Ymir Himself rest on these magnificent shores of deeply incised ridges fading, fading to dusk fading now as cedar-scented torrents streaming from the roots of the trees of Life waft down, down, to the Lake, to the Lake to this lake shore. Valhalla refers to: the subrange of the Selkirk mountains; the provincial wilderness park encompassing over 7000 feet of vertical rise from the western shoreline of Slocan Lake, extending for some 20 miles; and the great mythic hall of Odin and the Norse pantheon. Jotuns are Mountain Giants in Norse Mythology, and Ymir was the Giant from whose flesh and blood the world was created according to the ancient Norse. They believed that an arborvitae, what we know as a cedar, was the world tree, or cosmic axis: The underworld, where the Midgard Serpent continually knaws upon it’s roots; the human realm of trunk and branch, and reaching into the sky, abode of the gods and goddesses. I thus consider them the trees of life. Those who spend any time in the forest will find it relevant and humorous that the Norse considered the tree squirrel, called Ratatusk, a messenger (actually he mostly delivered insults downward) between humans and the pantheon.
For Sierra and Li Po I am looking out at the Green Mountain Watching the mists among the high ridges I have strolled to check on the two brooks after summer rain and find ferns luxuriant with dew. I am watching green mountains sway in the sighings of pine boughs swaying with storm wind The mountains in their mists writers at their desks


Author reads his 90 page book of writings on Nature, Culture, Humans and Non intersecting at the geographies of Time, Space, and Being: Inland Northwest Geopolitical "States" of WA, ID, BC (49 degrees Latitude and Attitude N.)


released January 1, 2011


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Christopher Robin Anderl Inverness, California

Christopher Anderl has led many life-times, a few of them in the present even.


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