The ropes have been cut.

The bindings have fallen away.

It feels like New Year's Day

beneath this unnecessary armor.


A blocked river of ki in the belly

begins stretching its mountain dragon spine.

An uncoiling has begun. 

Posture and mind respond in kind.


Thoughts turn to mountains.

Mountains I've walked.

Mountains I've slept in.

Mountains I've bled in.

Mountains I've cried in.

Mountains I will die in.



Some jagged like wolf teeth.

Some rounded like a lover's hips.

Some a grandmother bestowing healing wisdom.

Others fierce, ungiving

a troubled ascending

bare feet on sharp blades.



A "year of immovable wisdom" complete,

Heart-Mind turns toward a "year of moving light."

Renewal of focus

Renewal of vows

Renewal of refuge

Tempering body-mind.


The wise ones have always seen mountains as a mother.

The Way - a testing, a humbling, an entering embrace.

Then, a return.

A renewal of spirit to serve the Spirit of Life, resilient.


Though slow-moving,

aching even,

I drop the armor at the foot of the mountain

and begin my preparations.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

image: "Starry Night" by Lee Eunyeol 

sound: Eitetsu Hayashi