In-Between Places

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Mountains, trees and shoreline; this is a Holy Place!

Mountains, trees and shoreline; this is a Holy Place! (Leadville, Co)

Today is going to be a monthly post of my photographs. But this time I am going to follow a theme. I want to write about one of my all-time favorite subjects, In-Between places. I know your first response is probably, “Huh, what’s that?” And that was my response as well! In my search for a spiritual practice I was always irresistibly drawn to nature-based religions. Early in my spiritual search I decided if there was a higher power, the most logical way for him/her/it to communicate to humans was through nature because it is the same in every place, time, era and history. A cave man in Africa 100,000 years ago can learn the exact same lesson as the most sophisticated New Yorker can today–if they have ears to hear and eyes to see.
Mountain tops always make me feel like I could reach out and touch the face of god.

Mountain tops always make me feel like I could reach out and touch the face of god. (Eagle River, Alaska)

In my search I have found that all nature based religions have revered In-Between places. What is an In-Between place? To answer that you have to understand that the most obvious lesson of nature is that everything is composed of paired, complimentary opposites. Modern people have so filled their minds with tons and tons of worthless crap that they have completely lost sight of this most basic lesson from nature. But to the simple, uncluttered minds of our much wiser ancestors, it could not have been more obvious: Life-Death, Day-Night, Winter-Summer, Male-Female, Water-Land, Sky-Earth, Predator-Prey, Love-Hate, Happy-Sad, Good-Bad. The list is endless.
This Alpenglow at sunset in Anchorage. I did not re-touch it at all, that is exactly what my eye saw.  It was powerful Medicine.

This is Alpenglow at sunset in Anchorage. I did not re-touch it at all, that is exactly what my eye saw. It was powerful Medicine.

Almost universally, humans have reached the conclusion that if there is physical matter, then there must be a paired, complimentary opposite of non-physical matter. Until very recently, nearly all humans believed there is a physical world and a non-physical, spiritual world. Some people seemed able to move back and forth between them, they were the Shamans, medicine men, priests and holy men. Modern science has moved a huge number of modern people away from that knowledge and many today claim there is only a physical realm, and not a spiritual realm. The paradox is that as science has advanced, it has eliminated any doubt as to the existence of the non-physical world. Modern physics has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a non-physical realm and in-fact the physical realm owes its existence to it. One could argue that the physical is an illusion, but the energetic is absolute. They will deny it with their last breath, but Theoretical Physicists are unknowingly today’s Shamans.
You can stand on the shore and be both on land, and in the water: In-Between

You can stand on the shore and be both on land, and in the water: In-Between. (Lake Tahoe, Ca)

The Shamans of old believed there are In-Between places; places that are neither one or the other, but a little of both. Let’s look at some examples: Sunrise-Sunset (neither day nor night), Mountains (above the earth, below the sky), Shorelines (not dry land, not water), Trees (roots in the earth, tops in the sky), Birds (fly in the sky, live on the land).The Shamans claim that in those In-Between places the veil between the two worlds of matter and spirit is thinnest, so it is there that they are strongest. So nearly all pagan religions revered trees, mountains, shorelines and other In-Between places. They did their most powerful spiritual work in those places at sunrise and sunset. I’m sure you have all heard a joke about the guru who lives on top of the mountain, right? Why would a guru live on top of a mountain? Today’s radical environmentalists are a type of modern shaman and they are often referred to as “tree-huggers.” Why do they hug trees?
Sierra Moonrise

The Moon is not earth, not sky. 

Because every human is instinctively drawn to those places, and fascinated by them. I’m sure that if you honestly examine yourself, you will find an attraction and irresistible urge toward them as well. As hard as modern science has tried to eradicate the spiritual from our lives, it cannot. The urge to In-Between places is literally written into your DNA genetic code.
Each of today’s pictures is of an In-Between place. As you view them, ask yourself what is it that makes them so beautiful and irresistible? Then ask yourself, “Why am I resisting them at all?” Go be in them, that is what you were made for!!!
Every human who has ever lived has looked up at the night sky and been humbled by it's enormity and knew instantly that there was something bigger than him out there. Northern Lights, Anchorage, Alaska

Every human who has ever lived has looked up at the night sky and been humbled by it’s enormity and knew instantly that there was something bigger than him out there. Northern Lights, Anchorage, Alaska

Sunrise at Eureka, Alaska. If you will lt them, sunrise and sunset will change you.

Sunrise at Eureka, Alaska. If you will allow them, sunrise and sunset will change you.

One of the best days of my life was climbing Mt. Elbert in Colorado.

One of the best days of my life was climbing Mt. Elbert in Colorado.

Trees on a hill at the seashore in Acadia NP, Maine.

Trees on a hill at the seashore in Acadia NP, Maine.

Mt. McKinley. Every year millions of people all over the world flock to mountain both big and small and try to climb them. Why?

Mt. McKinley. Every year millions of people all over the world flock to mountain both big and small and try to climb them. Why?

Is there anyone who doesn't long to spend time at the beach? Outer Banks. North Carolina

Is there anyone who doesn’t long to spend time at the beach? Outer Banks. North Carolina

I took this picture on Cadillac Mountain, at sunset above the shoreline in Acadia National Park. It was MAGICAL!

I took this picture on Cadillac Mountain, at sunset above the shoreline in Acadia National Park. It was MAGICAL!
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41 Comments

  1. Bob W.

    Truly remarkable images, Bob. Thank you for sharing and your obvious joy in capturing them. Their affect is transforming for sure and points to One greater than ourselves.

    • Bob

      Thanks Bob. After I posted that I got to thinking about how happy nature makes me. Then it occured to e that nature makes me happier than anything else in my life, then it occured to me that I have virtually no memories that make me anywhere near as happy as the ones when I was in nature. nature is my one, true, constant source of joy.
      Bob

  2. Diane Kirkendall

    Thank you for sharing your photographs and words, I know that I will be viewing them again in my mind while caged in my office cubical today.

    • Bob

      Dianne, I’m really glad they are bringing you some relief from the hum-drum everyday world! That make me very happy to have served you in some small way.
      Bob

  3. rick

    Beautiful pictures despite all the religious opposites gumbo

  4. Martin Hamilton

    I worked for the Airlines for 16 years and didn’t see all that even with my free travel. That’s why I’m van dwelling now, so I can capture all that with my own lens to my soul. Time is money, and freedom is PURE Gold. Yes truly remarkable.
    Martin

    • Bob

      Martin, I have found there is no true connection with nature that can be made through a window or while looking at your watch. Only actually being in it with all our senses engaged and no other agenda will allow nature to do her magic.
      Bob

  5. m.a.

    Really beautiful, Bob.
    And especially WITH the “religious opposites gumbo”. 🙂
    I was not familiar with the concept of ‘in-between places’, but it’s lovely.
    Nowhere have I found the Buddhist concept of ‘absolute and relative reality’ to be more clear than in the overwhelming beauty of the natural world. The pagan and ancient spiritual paths may speak to me more, but no one seeking the Creator in any form or name will be disappointed wandering the remote and powerful places of this earth.
    And your pictures show them beautifully.

    • Bob

      m.a., the main reason I am drawn to Eastern ideas is that at their core they are all nature and earth based. I think the idea of the Chakras especially gives itself to this idea because it is all about an energy flow from higher realms to being grounded in the lower realms. There is a lot of energy transference in all the IN-Between places: Mountains create their own weather systems, especially thunder and lightening; Trees take waste from the earth and energy from the sun and turn it into air; Shorelines have huge amounts of power (we dam rivers and use the tide to make elecricity, wind blowing from shore creates electricity); right now we are researching how to turn the northern lights into elecricity.
      The Druids are the ones who mainly formalized the concept of In-Between places and when I was studying them it just spoke so clearly to me that without exception it was In-Between places that called me and I constantly found myself returning to them over and over again and I think that is true of nearly everyone I know.
      Bob

  6. Tim McDougall

    Beautiful pictures Bob.

    • Bob

      Thanks Tim, it really comes down to spending lots of time in nature so you can be where the beauty is.
      Bob

  7. Bodhi

    Good stuff! There are even “in-between” people. Special needs. Autistic. Etc… Just like places, there is something more there. The Universe gives itself to us all the time, we simply must learn to use it better.
    Much love to you Bob!
    Bodhi

    • Bob

      I couldn’t agree more Bodhi! There is a time between infancy and adulthood when we are very, very open to non-physical things. They are at an In-Between time. Unfortunatley modern people try to teach that out of them as soon as they can and label it as silly. On the other hand, nearly all indigenous peoples had a rite of passage where the child had to go on some spiritual quest to make the transition from child to adult. That ritual took the spiritual out of the realm of playing, and made it a concrete part of adult life.
      It’s very interesting that there are virtually no instances of Native Americas willingly embracing the European way of life, but there are countless instances of Europeans embracing the Native way of life.
      Bob

  8. Karen

    Thanks, Bob, for awesome photos and writing. Karen (Warmly contemplating some of my own fave in-between places…)

    • Bob

      Thanks Karen! I’m like you, just thinking about those wonderful places and times keeps me warm and happy at night!
      Bob

  9. WOlf

    You really need to put some Share buttons on this blog. Top and bottom of every post. They’re shortcuts that let people share on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook. Just a few important examples.
    This post is pretty good, but the buttons aren’t there for me to share it with my Facebook friends.
    I think the Irish called their spiritual world the Sidhe.

    • Bob

      Hi Wolf, that is a good idea, but for some reason Facebook baffles me. I’ve made a few attempts to figure it out and failed each time. And now my bigger problem is finding the time to learn it. I’m afraid it probably isn’t going to happen.
      Bob

      • m.a.

        Bob – I know you’ve got a lot on your plate & understand why you wouldn’t want one more – but fb is kind of a cool, casual place to ‘hang out’. It’s fun to follow everyone’s travels & pictures & has helped me get to know better some of the vandwellers I met this winter but haven’t had actual personal time with yet. Plus – the humor can be pretty great.
        It seems we’re pretty funny people. 🙂
        Even if you didn’t wish to be very active, since you have your own blog to communicate through, it might be nice to have an RTR page. Especially toward next winter’s rendezvous. It’s a great way to spread the message, and you could have links to your blogs on the page.

        • joey

          if you download google chrome,you can get an “add this” button and then share.

          • Bob

            Joey, thanks for that info. I use Chrome and didn’t know it could be that easy. I will have to look into that.
            Bob

    • m.a.

      Wolf – you can copy the address & paste it on your fb page or twitter feed. Also, if you add a ‘share on facebook’ link to your own bookmark bar you can link any page easily from your end. Hope that helps! m.a.

  10. Jan Johnson

    Such beauty..just a little bit of God’s handiwork!!!
    Thanks for sharing, Bob!

    • Bob

      Your welcome Jan, it really was my pleasure!
      Bob

  11. The Good Luck Duck

    I like it all. Thanks for reminding us of the liminal.

    • Bob

      Thanks Ducks, it is so easy to get caught up in the ordinariness of our lives that we forget that the extraordinary is all around us waiting to be seen if we will only take the time to see. Sometimes we just need to work at being open to what wants to reveal itself to us.
      Bob

      • The Good Luck Duck

        …being open to what wants to reveal itself to us. Yes, absolutely.

        • Bob

          GLDuck, did I write that? I don’t remember it. If I did, that is surprisingly wise! I didn’t know I had it in me.
          Bob

  12. Calvin R

    I had not encountered the specific ideas you give, but I share your love of the places. You brought back to me a sunrise on a river bank at the foot of a steep hill, a triple example of in-between. As with my remote ancestors, I had no need to explain that experience, and words would not do it justice anyhow. Please keep encouraging people to get the experience. That’s the only way to understand.

    • Bob

      Calvin, that helps me to understand why I am so enamored with the idea, it explains the experiences I had. Those moments spent in the In-Between times and places are so meaningful to me, that when I read about them for the first time it was just a sudden knowingnesss that it was totally true. What I experienced instinctively suddenly became clear to my rational mind. I love it when that happens!!
      Bob

  13. Sharon Gulezian

    I love your photo’s Bob. They were amazing! I loved your In-Between. Never hear that before but I can relate! I believe in another dimension and love the beauty of nature and Mother Earth. Enjoy your Summer.

    • Bob

      Thanks Sharon! You enjoy your summer as well!
      Bob

    • Bob

      Thanks Chevy55, taking them brought me a huge amount of joy, as does sharing them!
      Bob

  14. Walt

    Some wonderful pictures and great reminders of why I come more alive every chance I get to take our fifth-wheel out for a weekend or more.
    Your thoughts as expressed here make me believe you might enjoy the writings of Neale Donald Walsch, more famous for his Conversations With God series of books. Nature always serves as a reminder to me that God is not some “other” but is both in us and all around us. I think there is more true spirituality in photos like yours than in any sermon one might hear in a church.
    I may never quite make it to vandweller status, but I do intend to one day be out there in an RV of some kind, living a life of true freedom and contentment.

    • Bob

      Walt, I have read Conversations With God and really enjoyed it. You and I think think very much alike spiritually.
      I’ve concluded that Vandwelling is an attitude and not a choice of vehicle. I think you fit in very well!!
      Bob

  15. Bob

    Thanks for the clarification Linda. I loved all the photos in your blog. We Americans just can’t comprehend that kind of history and tradition. Thanks for sharing it!
    Bob

  16. DougB

    An excellent presentation and explanation, Bob. Clear as a bell, and I’m very glad you posted it. Information is very nice to have, but sharing yourself in it is even more valuable. It reminds me of a quotation ascribed to Mark Twain: Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

  17. JanaR

    Bob- your photos make me both jealous & envious and make me long to be out on the road!!!!! Thanks for sharing them. They are lovely and amazing!
    Jana

    • Bob

      Jana, taking pictures has brought me so much joy and sharing them just increases it. You will like it better when you are out here taking them yourself though!!
      Bob

  18. Dixie

    Wonderful,Wonderful Bob!!! The hubby & I just retired and are here in Az. Can’t wait to take in all the beauty. “We’ve only just begun” Got to meet RVSUE!!! Can’t wait to meet you at the RTR. Thankyou for your wonderful blog and the PICTURES!!May you have an EXCELLENT summer. Sincerely,Dixe

    • Bob

      Dixie, thanks for your kind words! AZ is just an incredible state! If you told me I had to spend the rest of my life in one state and could never leave, there is no doubt it would be AZ. You are very fortunate to have retired here, don’t let its beauty pass you by!
      Bob

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