Yesterday, on William Shakespeare’s birthday/death day, I referred to a passage in which Hamlet tells his friends about the awesomeness of human beings, but I stopped short. He goes on to tell them that even though the earth and mankind is so fantastic, he finds “no delight in man.” He felt disconnected from all the intricate beauty surrounding him, even though before these declarations he had told the same friends that “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet could have arisen from his depression, but he shut himself off from all connections except for one friend.
My point? One of the basic energies of life is an energy of connections. I am thankful for one variety of connections that can be made through social media. Some have maligned it, having witnessed examples of face-to-face interactions being disrupted by it. True, sometimes, but social media just provides a way for someone who may be already dysfunctional to express that. It’s not good or bad unless “thinking makes it so.”
In fact, social gives opportunity for connections in a new way. We have always sought ways to connect beyond face-to-face encounters. Ancient “social media” can be seen on cave walls or in petroglyphs etched into stone — for instance, in the Valley of Fire outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, which is the focus of the poem that I am sharing today.
I rather doubt that Facebook, Medium, Instagram, or Snapchat will be around for 3,000 years like the petroglyphs on the walls of the Valley of Fire!
Valley of Fire
What is all of life but this Valley of Fire?
Not a fire of destruction, but
A fire, perhaps, that has smelted some of
These stones and helped to create,
A fire not of burning wood
But one that has burned deep within
Earth’s bowels or perhaps deep within
And in so doing — whether wood, rock, or soul --
Beauty has been created:
Beauty of wind- and water-carved landscapes
Beauty of created minerals and rock formations
Beauty of lives that actively engage in the blaze of
Creative energy, borne of connections with all around, a
Life that can be fire or water or earth or air,
Whatever I make it or need it to be
To mold and create my own life-scape.
Today, it is the fiery red color revealed
In these rocks that I walk on,
Climb up, observe intently, study thoughtfully; I
Feel their spirit, at least spirit imbued by all those
Past observers and dwellers and walkers and souls
Who have been here before me. I
See their mark, these petroglyph etchings
That tell their life, their fires of creation, their travels,
Their hunts, their ways --
The zipper glyphs marking distance and topography
The animal glyphs marking game types and sources
The crosses with internal lines marking directions and positions
The concentric circles marking celestial locations
The wavy lines marking waterways and sources
The handprints and footprints marking, well, who knows what --
None of these incisions, chippings, peckings, pickings, or hammerings
Anything for sure
But marking something most surely,
Marking lives that were led,
Marking spirit of life forces still operative
Marking roots and identities
Of individuals, shamans and tribe historians, perhaps
Of nations, tribes past, perhaps
Of humankind, all of us, perhaps
Of our wanderings and life directions
Of our desires to view and know more of the cosmos
Of our need to understand, remember, and live from our roots
Connections to generations
Connections to life
Connections to Universe
Connections to me.
Yes, much of life a Valley of Fire
Contributing to the creation and connections of Us.
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Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!