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  • Writer's pictureColter Murphy

Intention & Connection from Coast to Valley

A poem and reflection on landscapes, shared wisdom, and all that calls us into the future


Intention

by Colter Murphy


Trees rise tall in Washington

like they might reach the stars

on full moon above the clear lake.


Chutes fall from snowfields

and huckleberry bushes grow tall,

like they could touch the draping lichen

if the sun could reach below tall trees.


The mountains jut up and fragment,

leaves nothing to the volcanic imagination.

See the disorder without judgement

so as to welcome the landscape.


In Montana the trees grow tall

like they stretched their imagination

and found the dry summer below.

See the slow growth without judgement

so as to forgive yourself.


Across the scablands of ancient glacial rush

there is some lingering dust, some languish

that spreads beyond mountains and coasts.

Drink the water, leave the dusty windows down

like the land is in your bones, like the sunset

rushes to your head when you rise tall.

 

In late August, the Confluence Leadership Team engaged in a process of reflection, noticing the movement of the Confluence community over its two years and thinking about the future. This process was aided by the wisdom of outside leaders who were there to listen and offer their insights. In particular, a woman named Dianne from Washington spoke of her experience with similar spirited communities in her area. I was struck by the similarities between coastal communities and ours, similarities also reflected in landscapes and ecosystems.

A forested mountain rises above a clear blue lake with a blue sky and whispy clouds above
Walupt Lake, Goat Rocks Wilderness, Washington. Photo by Colter Murphy

Just before our visit with Dianne, I spent some time camping on a lake in the Goat Rocks Wilderness in Washington. The images of that lake, and the experience of driving east and witnessing the landscape change as we passed through mountains and flatlands moved me to write the short poem above. We are connected, as earth beings, across space and time: expressions of life in relationship with ourself.


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bgwynn2
Sep 14, 2023

Re: Intention & Connection:

My first read of this poem brought about rich visual images. As a former resident of Eastern WA, I have frequently travelled both west and east from that locus. These ecosystems: coastal shores, channeled scablands and mountainous valleys- offer vivid images & stories of our shared human experience. Thank you, Colter, for expressing that connection across what would seem to be so different. A need message for forming people connections and common ground, in the midst of contrast.

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