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Forest Stairs, Quiet Light

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

I find something captivating about stairs, especially ones that spiral or move in harmony with a building space or landscape. The stairs in this photo are part of a path in the Cascade mountains of Oregon. On one hand, the makers of these stairs made a bit of a hash about it, cutting trees and leaving them where they fell. Yet the stairs curve upwards gently and are a combination of hill and human effort.

What if these stairs offer us a metaphor for our inner stairs? They’re integrated into the landscape as much as can be imagined, and they invite us to walk gracefully upward. They’re lit by sunlight, and are open to rain. And they’re a destination of sorts – a poetic stair, not a stair elevator. Or perhaps they’re dream stairs, in the sense that they awaken us to a different way of being.

What would it be like to live with a poem unfolding within us, rather than an essay or movie? Here in Sedona, I sit outside most afternoons, and while I bring my journal and a book to read, I often just sit and notice that my mind is mostly silent -- that I’m simply breathing and enjoying the landscape and sky.

Perhaps the image of graceful steps drawing you upward or deeper inward provides a good metaphor for ways of living in this world. You find yourself enchanted to move toward some deeper or higher aspect of your being, or of the world you inhabit or create. Either way draws you toward new aspects of yourself or the world.


If you are moved by this photo or these ideas, I invite you to think about your own connection with the natural world or the presence of stairs in your life. You might also enjoy reading the May 5, 2021 entry titled “Jutta’s Stairs,” another poem centered around stairs.

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