audrey dimola[art for the wild]

Posts Tagged ‘earth medicine

this wkend i got to hike up to hunter mountain in my beloved catskills and help with repairing the devils acre lean-to.. through rain, a little bit of hail, blue sky, a gorgeous clear night, and then waking up in 19 degrees & 6 inches of snow! thanks to destination backcountry adventures & the best guides/volunteer crew, i LOVED it.

hiking & working in the woods is a microcosm of life. you’re learning at every moment & you have to be ready for anything. carry logs? re-shingle a roof? break camp in the snow? let’s go. and the things that stop you cold in the city, that raise your anxiety.. you don’t have time for it here. i love the catskills because- everytime- they bring me back. no notifications, laughter with strangers who become friends, strength stretching, and the kind of silence that fills you instead of making you uneasy. thank you DBA & co for the chance to return to woods & work and remember why i started the journey this past summer. every lesson you need to learn is in the earth.

[here’s some more photos and dave’s post about the trip on the DBA website

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it’s been a long-time wish of mine to experience camping & hiking in the snow, especially since i started training as a wilderness guide & educator last year.. i missed going adventuring this winter due to an extremely rough season in my head & heart.. but unexpectedly, on this trip at the beginning of spring, got this. /// these are the moments.

XO

a.

[psst- upcoming poetry & performance events are listed HERE!

edit//

after writing this, i cruised through some notebooks from summer of last year onward (all affectionately entitled “WILDERNESS”) and revisited the trips i’ve taken since getting involved with DBA and another amazing organization, discover outdoors. i dug out two poems and realized they both mentioned birch trees- bookends of each other, one born out of the first trip i took with DO as a client/observer, and the other from one of the last trips i went on before winter, the first i ‘really’ led as a guide. i remember scribbling in tiny notebooks while on trail, trusting my feet.. ‘i am a student of the forest. i feel so at home in the woods it’s unbelievable. this is my SOUL PLACE.’

black rock

birch trees like
candlelit
stalks
my heart
anointed,
fire of gold
leaves and
strewn rock
footprints
out of a dream
covered in
moss
sweet ache
in the limbs,
hearty like
the souls of old
here the trail
markers
are clear
northern-most
orientation
the pin in
my heart
settles not on
anything i
know,
stop its flicker
and spin,
only wonder-
only here
only this.
the forest
unfolds like
walking into
a flame
blue and turquoise
blazes
remind me of the sea
my other home
now here
shrouded in the
canopy
my other mother
just as powerful
as the flesh
and blood
who taught
me to be
the red blaze
among the
green
the fire flicker
of salamander
feet
the forest
she speaks to me
but now refuses to
whisper-
how can you waste
another day
of this
not being
your life?
let the wild
tendrils of your
heart sink
deeper
into me,
only i
will anchor you
not the flimsy
mortal fiber
that binds you–

high pt mtn

trail teaches you to focus, be present
flex the sinew of your awareness..

stark birch standing like
ghosts of a former
self
i remember you
you gave me these
shoes
you used to lead me
now i’m leading
myself
the leaf litter
glitters with
some kind of
mystic certainty
there is a trail
where there
is no trail
(just because you’re
walking it)
life is like that.
that woodpecker
is knocking on
the door of
my old life
it echoes through
the trees
like an affirmation
i will fill my
heart with
forest footsteps
and streaks of
sunlight
thank
god i let my
hollowness
be filled
by this-
i keep forgetting
to say grace
when i eat but
each inhale of
verdant atmosphere
is prayer
i remember jesus
in the garden
he is my
wilderness sound
she says
your senses are
heightened
we humanimals
know when to
twist before
a bone will
snap
does a heart
react the same way?
it’s all instinct-
leading them
as i’m leading myself
take us to the
promised land!
he says
without knowing
how right he is-
exodus from
false self to
true self
i fold my
wings like a
prophet in
cathedral
this is how
i give thanks.

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“when we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: be still! be still! look at me! life is not easy, life is not difficult. those are childish thoughts… home is neither here nor there. home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.” -hesse

trees are extremely close to my psychic sense of self.. in fact, on a morning in which i had given away some keys to an old life- i climbed the tree in that photo at the edge of astoria park and found- another key, tied to a red string. life is all about the symbology we apply to it, the meaning we ourselves ascribe.. or else there is nothing. i will never forget how- in my heartache and restlessness i sat, read, communed, and wrote stories up in my favorite tree in fort greene part in brooklyn (which i later discovered was named by a little girl i ran into as ‘the grandmother tree’.. perhaps my nana sent me another grandmother on earth..?). i have beautiful memories of climbing trees with my brother and sister in rainey park in long island city- teaching my sister how to trust her wildness, my own self being spurred on by her presence to climb higher, abandon my fear. this piece came out of an interaction this morning- and i was just thinking of how i haven’t posted something non-event related in awhile.. here you are. thanks for the inspiration. and thanks to my brothers & sisters. the trees.

**

i am doing what i know. i cannot do what i cannot know. and so i do this. do not tell me not to climb the trees. to touch them, to trust them with my body, to be held by them as they hold me in psychic spirit, to rest, to receive. do you remember your girl-self, the explorer, who could only touch to understand- to press against, to peer, to look, to feel? eyes are hands sometimes. bodies are all points of an eight-sided starburst, each point a perceptor, antennae- in my vision the bears and birds gave me their feathers and furs- i am just beginning to remember the reason why. do not tell me not to climb the trees- how you anchor my movements in ego, the cement that sticks to my wild bones, hardening, separating- my soul from sinew, my song from self, the trees i give, they give, we give to each other. i feel their LIVING HEART, not as mere idea, but BREATHING- we complete the sacred circle, i hear their energy in my head. have you forgotten the will of palpability? of feelings beyond discernment from afar, ribbons of judgment cast down from lofty windows, tangled in branches of trees- why yes, i am sitting in. i feel as creature, i must do as creature, this is what makes me think without discord, perceive without pretense, REMEMBER that i can talk to souls that communicate without limiting sound-words through limited language i can no longer hear when my chest is pressed up against the bark so tight we can feel each other’s intention. love so purely encircling it is like the infinite warrior guardian i want to know how to be.. can be. if the trees teach me this, teach you this- why halt the force of echo, remembrance? i can only do what i know, just as you can. and this is what i know: i will climb the trees until my body can no longer. wild and grateful, still, to be healed by the medicine of my memory. do not pretend to know more than i know about the earth and what it wants, the trees and what they feel, my heart and what their hearts need to feel. i can hear them and so can you. we all know the same, we all know nothing, we are all prostrate before the altar of learning, listening- what you hear is different from what i hear, and that is okay. let the trees be. i am, i say, i am. i am feeling, holding, releasing, dreaming, reading, gazing, blessing, infinitely talking, feeling, seeing. to them, with them, as them. i hear them too loud to let them be. they hear me too loud to let me be. we are. being. .. are you?

XO

a.

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can there be any possibility of completely understanding who we are and why we’re here or where we are going? […] you have to keep on asking. -kunitz

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! <3 (leo grrlz throw ya paws up!! ;))

thank you all for helping make it a crazy-beautiful and incredibly memorable trip around the sun..

for all the words, the enthusiasm, shows attended, inspiration shared, hugs exchanged, hearts touched, collaborations made, opportunities presented, magic conjured, and LOVE given freely.. thank you, thank you, thank you.

for this one life, this voyage of mine that sometimes veers into the wildest of waters- i am so grateful.

i realized the other day that the gorgeous moments of life are a lot of like bright islands in a shadowy sea.

each moment stands like an island circling light like a beacon in the darkness- it can’t be compared to anything else, it just is. even lost in the wild sea, know that- a few more breaths, strokes- the light will fill you, find you again. be witness to what it is you feel. the grace in almost drowning and finding another island. life is like that. light-filled islands in the dark, wild sea. shifting, eroding, flooding, so you can’t quite stay, but god.. so beautiful while you do.

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my birthday wish is to remain cognizant of how lucky i am, every. single. day.

i want to share 29 pieces of wisdom with you that have been helping me through the wilderness of this particularly heart-cracking summer.

with fire-filled thanks for my twenty-ninth year..

out of darkness lion heart pumping,

XO

a.

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29 for 29 / how to make it through the wilderness:

1. don’t forget that this too is part of the magic you have to offer the world. this pain we go through. our wilderness years. –nick calder

2. in other words, fear doesn’t go away. the warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew everyday. –the war of art

3. discontent, restlessness, doubt, despair, longing […] instead of facing them, one runs away; one escapes- into depressions, nervous breakdowns, drink, love affairs, or frantic, thoughtless, fruitless overwork. anything, rather than face them. anything, rather than stand still and learn from them. one tries to cure the signs of growth, to exorcise them, as if they were devils, when they really might be angels of annunciation. –gift from the sea

4. we insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity- in freedom. –gift from the sea

5. maybe that’s why i have a fragile heart. you can’t accept everything, or you become a monster. –the golden legend (film)

6. the kinds of discoveries that are made through practice have nothing to do with believing in anything. they have much more to do with having the courage to die, the courage to die continually. –when things fall apart

7. you don’t have to have a college degree to serve. you don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. you don’t have to know about plato and aristotle to serve. you don’t have to know einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. you only need a heart full of grace. a soul generated by love. and you can be that servant. –MLK

8. being preoccupied with our self-image is like being deaf and blind. it’s like standing in the middle of a vast field of wildflowers with a black hood over our heads. –when things fall apart

9. if you don’t go out in the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin. –women who run with the wolves

10. there must be a little, and in many cases, a good deal of blood spilled on every story, on every aspect of your own life […] if a person is to carry a true medicine. –women who run with the wolves

11. listen to the birds always. –shane hobel, mountain scout survival

12. and though of magnificence and splendour, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing. for that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night. –the prophet

13. do it with all your heart and then don’t care when it breaks. –eduardo, on the metro

14. I placed one foot on the wide plain
of death, and some grand immensity
sounded on the emptiness.

I have felt nothing ever
like the wild wonder of that moment. –rumi

15. for horror not to repeat itself endlessly we have to understand its makeup, be willing to look at it, get close to it, at the same time not burn up with it. what we avoid corrupts and deforms us- we are always twisting away from it. and it shows in our writing, in the way we sit and walk. –the true art of writing

16. it is not the desert island nor the stony wilderness that cuts you from the people you love. it is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. when one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too. if one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others. […] only when one is connected to one’s own core is one connected to others, i am beginning to discover… –gift from the sea

17. only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us. –when things fall apart

18. ask not of things to shed their veils. unveil yourselves, and things will be unveiled. nor ask of things to break their seals. unseal ourselves, and all will be unsealed. […] if, then, your world be such a baffling riddle, it is because you are that baffling riddle. and if your speech be such a woeful maze, it is because you are that woeful maze. –the book of mirdad

19. if there’s a god or any kind of justice under the sky
if there’s a point, if there’s a reason to live or die
if there’s an answer to the questions we feel bad to ask
show yourself, destroy your fears, release your mask… –QUEEN [listen]

20. ’i’ve been through all this before,’ he says to his heart.
‘yes, you have been through all this before,’ replies his heart.
‘but you have never been beyond it.’ –coelho

21. i am always being overwhelmed, i require it to sustain life. –everett ruess

22. TODAY IS A GOOD DAY FOR MY EGO TO DIE! –nahko [listen]

23. what the hibernating winter in their blood/ needs to become- some dreaming scene/ of humans lumbering away, walking/ on their tongues and tasting/ the truth of the earth. –hochman

24. how sublime is the silence of nature’s ever-active energies! there is something in the very name of wilderness, which charms the ear, and soothes the spirit of man. there is religion in it. -wilderness & the american mind

25. TODAY, TODAY LIVE LIKE YOU WANNA
LET YESTERDAY BURN & THROW IT IN A FIRE
IN A FIRE, IN A FIRE
LIVE LIKE A WARRIOR –matisyahu [listen]

26. But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us- to know
Whence our lives come and where they go. -m.arnold

27. We want so much,
When perhaps we live best
In the spaces between loves,

That unconscious roving,
The heart its own rough animal.
Unfettered. -tracy k. smith

28. an animal flowers in the elements. it grows wings. –humanimal

29. the solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. i must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. –gift from the sea

& one for luck**

when you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgment of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself. and i think the world tends to forget that this is the ultimate significance of the body of work each artist produces. that work is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life. –kunitz

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lose your self-consciousness
gain your self-awareness
back.

be the light on the underside
of leaf
move like the forest teaches
you to move

the goal for you is to overcome
restriction

it is up to you to be a human
translation of the wild

be the wolf they can see in the
shine of your iris in sunlight

help them remember how. –notes from my treehouse


Into the wild wonderland…

Celebrated as “a wildfire in a world of fluorescent bulbs,” a “poetic force of nature,” and “inspiration incarnate,” Queens, New York City native AUDREY DIMOLA is a poet, performer, curator, messenger, local arts advocate, community organizer, and lifelong artist, as well as Director of Public Programs at Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park. // Thanks so much for stopping by! You’ll find all my work on this website, past and present, as well as new blog posts. Poetry, prose, videos, events, photos, articles – it’s all here. // STAY WILD, STAY GRATEFUL!

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Decisions We Make While We Dream (2012)

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