Raquette River Field Journal

· Creative Expression, Essays · ,

The insentient speak in a language that we are unable to understand but some- how are able to feel. It’s way of teaching us is not rational but rather visceral. Listen to the voice of rock and water. What does it say? Is it one voice or is it many? A chorus of voices, perhaps. Can you hear its song? It sings its ancient story—a timeless story of life unfixed, impermanent, in a constant state of becoming.

Every sacred place has its muse. There is the river muse, the land muse, muse of the meadow and bog.

The muse is almost always hidden except to those with an eye that sees.

What is the eye that sees? An awakened eye. There is no internal dialogue that distracts it.

The muse will not appear, will not reveal herself unless you are ready to see her.


Sit with your eyes wide open—with all of your senses wide open:

Feel the earth beneath you.

Smell the woody air, the sweet, pungent bite of decay.

Hear the sounds and the stillness in between the sounds.

Taste the fragrance of the forest.

See the forms of coming and going, of birth and death.

And realize that each and everything knows how to go its own way. Knows without understanding.

WIN15_Raquette_watercolor plants


There are heavenly rocks and there are earthly rocks—then there are rocks that belong to neither heaven nor earth. Rocks are neither sentient nor insentient. The self is neither sentient nor insentient.

There are male rocks and there are female rocks and further, rock children are always born of rock parents. Rocks support the heaven and cover the earth. Indeed, as the great Master Dogen has said, they (rocks) make heaven and earth whole. To make whole is to unify differences. To make whole is the merging of sentient and insentient, self and other, birth and death.

WIN15_Raquette_watercolor mountain lake

Excerpts and watercolors from Daido Roshi’s field journal. From Zen Mountain Monastery archives. Copyright © 2015 by Dharma Communications.