Mountain Storms by: Ryan Chandler

From the Lake, 1924 by Georgia O’Keeffe

This poem is by my dear cousin Ryan Chandler. I have had the pleasure of getting to know him better in the past few years. We have been able to connect through a love for poetry and he is a very inspired writer himself. Ever so often, he shares his words with me and I’m always blown away. See for yourself…

Mountain Storms

I watch the rain come down from my window,
coffee cooling in my mug, which is shaped like an elephant.
It was given to me by my brother, but reminds me of a girl
who thought it was cute. It’s not the most practical design,
but then again neither is remembering a girl, every morning,
who is far away, and yet, every morning…
I have work still to do. A little silver laptop calling my attention.
There are dishes in the sink from breakfast yet,
warm smells yet linger in the air. My long hair is a tangled mess.
The morning is wasting away, I had better get started.
What is this thing inside of me that is always harboring a need
for some preoccupation? What great battles we have to win
to simply be still.

It’s raining. I stand, still, at the window, sipping coffee, looking,
imagining going for a walk down the wet side streets
to the little church a few blocks down.
I can smell, in my mind, the wet pine smell of these alpine forests
as I trace the cross in the wooden door.
We place salvation behind these weathered doorways,
invent abstractions to lay into the details of its carpentry.
These mountain storms are something utterly unique.
Perhaps I’ll leave the church behind, and follow the little path
that leads up into the hills, still bathed in sun, while thunder rumbles
across the way and distant sheets of rain obscure the horizon
at the north end of the valley. The smell of pine carries,
though the trees are not near, and the sage is subtle
but all around. Here is a place for abstractions,
let me invent salvations out in these weathered trail ways.

The only salvation my heart knows. Grow in yourself,
and to one thing above all, subscribe: never believe that life
is any less lived when you stand at the window and daydream
of walking through the spring rains, rather than going out in it.
There’s room for both the lived experience, and the one dreamed of.
Grow. Expand. Find yourself
in the songs of others, the paintings of landscapes, the wanderings
of procrastinating minds, find yourself in the suffering of others
but save time to look for pockets of joy as well, grow into the stories
we tell of places, people, and things, all things,
because in all things
a place has been set aside
for you.

– Ryan Chandler

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