A THIN PLACE
The human ego melts into the earth in this sacred place. Who you are, what you do or what you own, is irrelevant here. This place exists without man, machine or money. And even though it is located down a steep bank, less than 200 yards from the two-lane Alaskan highway, man’s presence seems non-existent.
It is late September 1989, and the forest is bright with fall colors that touch the sky in all directions. Brilliant red, orange and gold leaves mix with the deep rich evergreen needles to paint the landscape more perfectly than any artist’s brush. Magnificent mountains, some barren and sharp, and others with an almost furry appearance surround this valley, like enormous protecting arms. Wild grasses, flowers, fallen leaves and pine needles provide added ground cover. An icy cold stream bordered by moss covered trees and rocks flows into this valley. It has cut a winding path through the rich dark earth and over rocks and boulders, which its frigid current has polished smooth through the centuries. Swiftly it races past, on to it’s appointed journey south. As it travels, it sings out to all of nature’s children. They know the sound of rushing water brings life, and they all share in its bounty.
It’s high noon and the sun is dancing with wispy clouds in a mixture of bright sparkles and dark shadows on the earth’s floor. A ground current of wind joins the dance as it invisibly moves from one partner to another. The trees dance, bending their branches as their leaves and needles move in flashes of colors. Their movement also creates their song, rising in volume with the strength of the wind. The voice of the stream sings backup when the breeze increases in volume, then the stream steps forward as the wind softens, taking its turn in the background. It is the creation of a beautifully harmonious song of nature.
The wind also intensifies the fragrant mixture of pine and native plants, filling the air with wafts of their hypnotic, earthly blend. The air, now chilled even more by the northern wind, becomes a biting coldness you can taste. The atmosphere is fresh, free of the yellow, brown color of smog. Chemical smells or tastes concocted by man do not exist in this place. The air is clear, clean and pure in every way. It is amazing.
An immense thunderhead of dark rolling clouds builds in the distance. They are a reminder that this beautiful place would soon be covered with several feet of ice and snow. Home to only nature’s strongest. Time here, is measured by the passing of seasons. This place existed long before any road was carved, and it would remain long after the passing of countless generations. No, this place was not meant for man. But man should honor it, for it is a sacred place of beauty, harshness, tenderness and unimaginable strength.
Above all—IT IS TRULY ALIVE!!!
Author’s Note: Original Story Date: August 2009. This spot is just off the Alaskan Canada Highway on the way to Homer, Alaska. It was during a very difficult period of my life when my troubles seemed to be overwhelming my every thought. This place put things into perspective for me and has become one of my Thin Places! The misty water photo is a good representation of a “Thin Place”.