Sunday, July 24, 2011

Planting Trees

I've been planting trees for about 3 days.. digging into the soil, shoveling dirt, making space for new roots, new branches, new life. My arms and hands ache beyond belief, I am fiercely aware of every muscle and tendon beneath my skin.
There are eight trees left to plant.. tomorrow we'll see if I survive them.

I had this thought at sunset today though.. right as I was finishing the dig for my final plant. Looking down at my shovel full of dirt sweat I realized exactly what I was doing.. "I am just digging in the ground", I thought to myself. "Just digging holes."
For some reason the simplicity and absurdity of the endeavour caught up with me..
all seriousness abandoned. How does this look to the birds flying over my head I thought.. I wonder if they think to themselves, "What the hell is that guy doing.. just digging holes down there in the dirt! I began laughing... first to myself and then out loud! We do the funniest things in the name of seriousness.

I realized right then, that "just digging holes" is really all any of us are doing.. EVER. We create an idea of the magnificence of a occupation or an adventure, or a relationship.. but really it is all the same.
We are just living. We are just dying.

I went back to planting my trees.. the only thing left to do, I thought, is to enjoy the pleasure and the thrill of digging.

Andrew Tipton

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Te-lah-nay’s Wall

We left early in the morning to find a Native American man named Tom Hendrix.
Tom has spent the last 32 years building a rock wall by hand, in honor of his great-great-grandmother, Te-lah-nay, of the Yuchi tribe. I was fascinated by Tom's story, so we made the journey to Natchez Trace to see if we could find him.

This wall is something very special.. being there in person is somewhat of a surreal experience. It stretches for almost a mile through the forest - curving and winding its way between the trees. Every stone is meticulously placed.. thoughtful, purposeful. When you walk along the path, you can feel the energy emanating from the rocks.. you can feel their weight and their sorrows, and their pleasure. Each rock looks at you.. into you, and you feel it wants to tell you something, maybe wants to share a story with you somehow.

As I sit down in this particular curved section of the wall.. I am captivated. I think about how much energy went into creating this silent tribute.. about Te-lah-nay, for some reason I imagine her being there singing a song. I think about the long days, the heaviness of the stones, the satisfaction that must come alongside the sweat. I start to imagine the passion that drives each of us to do what we do. In all of us we have the same urgency, the same desire - to be swept away by our dreams.

Te-lah-nay's wall is sacred place to me.. touching these stones and talking to Tom, reminded me of the possibility of love - loving. That it is not so much what we do with our lives.. but how we love what we do with our lives that matters. Seeing a man, who despite logical reasoning, was determined to do what he felt in his heart - I can't help but be intrigued.
I can't imagine a life better lived.. than one lived pursuing what brings you alive inside.

Andrew Tipton

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Morning Goodness

She comes strolling up the front porch steps, still talking about feathers and adventures on the open road.. a broken bicycle trailing along behind her.
We were having this delicious conversation last night.. she just picks up where we left off, teasing my adventurous mind with stories of indie-rock music festivals, and then feeding my imagination by describing the plump, ripe tomatoes from her mom's garden.
I'm standing there in a pair of worn out jeans and a tank.. leaning against one of the pillars in my doorway, watching the morning sunbeams as they trickle down through the leaves.. casting these crazy-beautiful shadows on my bare feet. Summer-time is so incredible,.. I want to scream that out loud.. but all that comes out is a smile.

Andrew Tipton

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nectarine Moon

I just took my clothes off
to go swimming in an abandoned quarry.
My arms and legs moving in crazy circles. Underwater.
There is nothing but blackness below me, my splashes breaking the moonlit, glossy finish that keeps everything calm. Water tension.
The moon looks soft.
Like a nectarine,
I think because of all the fog that the rain brings.
There is still lightning in the distance.
No sound, just the flicker and pulse of silver streaks against a night sky.
The way my arms strike and sink into the water, make sounds like
double bass drums,
a deep echo. Maybe I've somehow stumbled upon the heartbeat of water.
Wasaboom. Wasaboom.. Wasaboom.
i feel like a sea turtle drifting.
i feel like I can see everything from right here.
I love how vulnerable I am,
I love the sensations of the bubbles swirling around my legs,
I love how my arms feel strong and muscular as they glide through the water.
Then, suddenly, I am empty.
Every thought leaves my mind at once.
Outside and inside-out.
All that I'm feeling are the breaths coming into my nostrils as I try to stay afloat and the scent of rain.
I become a fish,
I become the silhouette of my friend standing on the rocks above me,
I become the nectarine moon,
and I take a bite of myself.

Andrew Tipton