"People often ask me, 'What is Shugendo?'

And I reply, 'Shugendo is the philosophy of

putting yourself in nature, and

reflecting on what you feel.'"

--Master Hoshino-Sendatsu, 13th generation yamabushi priest

I don't quite know the full science of it yet.

Perhaps you've already been tracking it.

Consider sharing your thorough notes with all of us later.

For now, I bend low under the canopy

surrendering myself to the science of renewal

found in the old tree-sitting religion.


The science, of course, always begins with an inquiry;

a problem, a hypothesis, a quest, a deep need to make sense

how paths crumble, how towers topple, how things go sideways.


For me, it started with a season of daggers flying through my aura.

What ol' Chaucer says in the old Merchant's Tale is true: "For love is blind."

Here's to the return of Clear-Sight.


I've been leaking spirit-energy in my wake for weeks.

I get images of an old life as a samurai, knocked from my horse,

bleeding from armor that looked like a riddled door or a seeping sieve.


In the here and now, however,

a holy centering place

high above the city

plugged and smoothed my wounds.

Kannon's grace flows through birdsong and leaf-bloom.


People these days are going on and on

about "forest bathing" as if it's something new.

I love that, but sometimes it's beyond a pleasant stroll;

sometimes an actual triage of deep forest healing is required.


In the end, every bit of it

is just what The Great Physician ordered;

the steady, quiet-piercing,

the demarcation,

the departure,

the healing-up.


There's no doubting when you're finally on new ground. 

A buoyancy returns. 

A fortitude.

A gleam in the eyes that had started to fade.

A return of dedication to vows you had made.


And so, may everyone who may be needing to

release, release, and release some more

until the flow of your indigo tears run dry in the river

that is the past you needed to remember but will not revisit.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) purelandpoetry.com

sound: Max Corbacho / Splendid Labyrinths / "Wave of Reflection"