Why I love walking

Why I love walking

hiking, walking, happinessIn every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. ~ John Muir

Why I love walking

While on the treadmill at the gym earlier today I was trying  to think about what I was going to write about tonight and it hit me I’ve never actually written about walking.  So tonight I want to write about something I really love, walking.  As a kid, I spent a lot of time just walking in the woods alone exploring.  I knew every inch  of the woods near where I grew up and those woods were one of the first places I got to go on little adventures of my own making.  This love of walking transitioned into a love of hiking once I got older.

Time to Contemplate

One of the things I love about walking/hiking is that you have time to contemplate.  The beauty of walking is that you’re not going awfully fast and particularly in my case.  The pace I walk at might be better described as meandering or sauntering instead of walking.  But that’s exactly the way I like it.  I love the opportunity as I’m walking slowly to be able to see things in a way you never can when you’re traveling by faster methods.  When hiking you see things you never notice in a car or even on a bike.  You literally have time to stop and smell the roses/flowers.

But for me, one of the best things about walking, particularly long-distance walking is the time to get into your own head.  When you’re out on a trail walking for 8 hours or more a day you have lots of time with nothing else to do but think.  Having that kind of mental time is a real gift and allows you to dive deep into your own mind and really contemplate things you might not otherwise make time for.  There’s a really great quote that summarizes the mental process you go through on the trail.

colin fletcher, walking, happiness

In addition to allowing you to see things as you slow down, a slower pace of walking is a good lesson about life.  A slower pace of life helps you see things you wouldn’t ordinarily see at the fast pace we all normally live at.

Health benefits of walking

In addition to allowing you to slow down and think there are a range of health benefits that come from regularly walking.  Of course it can help you control your weight, have positive benefits for blood sugar and it’s a low-impact form or exercise that is easy on your joints.  Regular walking is also a great way for people who don’t exercise to ease into physical activity and eventually into larger levels of hiking.  Simply walking a few days of week can be the start to something that could end in much larger adventures, no matter what age you are at, recently an 82 year-old man completed all 2190 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Oh the places you’ll go

One of the beautiful things about walking is that if you just don’t stop it’s absolutely amazing the places you can walk to.  I’ve been fortunate enough to walk in the Himalayas in Nepal.

happiness nepal

Rev Kane making friends in Nepal

To Petra, a 2000 year-old city in the Jordanian Desert

petra, jordan, travel

Rev Kane at Petra

For over a 1000 miles on the Appalachian Trail

Rev Kane on his first day on the Appalachian Trail

And all the way across Scotland, a walk I liked so much I’m doing an even bigger walk in Scotland in August.

happiness scotland

Rev Kane goin native in the Scottish Highlands

So my friends if you’re not a walker, give it a try and if you are walking try going a little further or maybe even an over-nighter.  I think you’ll find that walking and even hiking solo, can be a really amazing thing and bring you many happy days my friends.  ~ Rev Kane

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Petra: Happiness in a 2300 Year Old City

Petra: Happiness in a 2300 Year Old City

fix-selfie-petraPetra is a brilliant display of man’s artistry in turning barren rock into a majestic wonder. ~ Edward Dawson

In the Jordan Desert, there is a 2300 year old city that westerns didn’t know existed until the late 1880’s.  Petra was a trade center 2000 before the United States was a country.  The city is in the desert, entered via a slot canyon called Al Siq.  Most people know the building above because it was featured in an Indiana Jones movie.  I’ve wanted to see Petra for a long time, it was named one of the new seven wonders of the world in 2015 and for good reason.

fix-treasury-bwYou enter Petra via the Siq, a gorgeous slot canyon that winds for over a mile on its way into the city.  Before the Siq you pass the obelisk building:

fix-obelisk-petraAnd several Djinn monuments, where people believed the Djinn (Genies) waited as guardians to protect the city.

fix-petra-djinn-boxesThe Siq itself had small dams and plumbing to provide water to the city.  The walls of the Siq were giant carved murals that you can still see small remnants of in the rock.  Paint flecks found in the city hint that the Siq and the city were incredibly colorful.  Where the sand has been blown or washed back you can see the cobbles that paved the way into the city.

fix-fin-40fix-mp-1fix-mp-5We entered the city on a quiet morning just after sunrise.  My first time walking through the Siq was magical.  Towering walls with light just entering from the edges, it was completely silent, not even birds tweeting.  The rock walls were absolutely beautiful and peaceful, eventually coming through the Siq you get your first peeks at the most famous building in Petra, the Treasury Building.

fix-mp-13 fix-mp-14I was truly in awe of the edifice, it’s absolutely spectacular with incredible color.  Being there early, before the other tourists made it a special time.  I had to reach out and touch a 2000 year-old building.

fix-hand-on-the-treasuryfix-petra-fisheyeWe would leave the Treasury valley by donkey and rode all the way up to the Monastery.  Of course the Donkeys knew to stop at the booth of their owner’s family where my new friend Noel made us tea and tried to sell us all manner of souvenirs.

The poor donkey that carried me to the Monastery

The donkey that carried me to the Monastery

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Me and my Bedouin friend Noel

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From Noel’s shop we’d climb up to the Monastery.

fix-fin-4We would spend the next couple of hours hiking back out of Petra.  The size of the valley is amazing, the number of ruins too many to count and the color of rocks unbelievable.

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The coliseum sat over 8000

fix-rk-2 fix-rk-5 fix-rk-6fix-fin-17 fix-fin-21 fix-fin-26 It was truly an amazing day and a the fulfillment of a long-time dream.  Of course we’d come back later for Petra at Night, but that’s another post. Have a happy day my friends     ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Happiness is floating on the Dead Sea

My 22 Days in the Himalayas

My Best Appalachian Trail Posts

My Polar Bear Adventure

My Swim with Whale Sharks

Cycling in Ireland

Mardi Gras 2016

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My Covid Times Diary – Fear

My Covid Times DiaryFear

fear, duneFear cuts deeper than swords. ~ George RR Martin

Ok, let’s all just admit it, we’re all scared as hell!

And in fact we should be, we are facing the largest pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak.  Even worse, the economic impact of these Covid Times will certainly be our next recession and possibly our next depression. But my aim tonight isn’t to scare you, you’re already there, particularly if you are obsessively reading or watching the news, if you’re watching daily press conferences or letting your mind runaway with you.

I can see the fear in the posts of my friends on Facebook.  I can hear it in the voices of my family when I’m talking to them on the phone.  I can feel it coming from my colleagues in the moments when they take a breath in between making decision after decision in completely new territory.

I can see the fear when I’m walking in the street on the faces of the people as I go by them.  You can tell that some of them are actually holding their breath as they pass you, I notice this as I hold mine.  You can see now that people are spacing themselves as they wait to go into stores and restaurants, giving each other wide berths on the street.

Fear makes people do crazy things, yesterday a train engineer tried to drive his train onto/into a navy hospital ship.  He was doing so to get the media to pay attention to “what is really going on.”  I’ve seen paranoid responses from my faculty and staff.  Most definitively, I haven’t driven past my local gun store once in the last week without there being a line outside of it.  People are scared and their buying guns to try and make themselves feel better.

We’re doing lots of things to make ourselves feel better, in my last grocery store trip I bought a chocolate cake and devoured it in two days.  Good thing I’m running four days a week or I might come out of this much larger than I went in.  People are binge watching TV to stay distracted, some will actually do self-destructive things as a fear reaction.  I’ve talked to several people who’ve had to tell friends they can’t come over to visit, the extroverts are taking this all especially hard.  I walked by a guy yesterday drunk off his ass in the middle of the afternoon mumbling about how he’d be driving his Camero if he wasn’t so drunk.   I saw a guy picking up some groceries, he had six or seven attachments on his belt.  He had a leatherman, a couple of knives, pepper spray and three I couldn’t identify.  Fear is everywhere. But.

fear happiness

Fear is a liar.  The image from the very top of the post is a passage from the novel Dune by Frank Herbert.  It’s one of my all-time favorite quotes.  I read Dune for the first time when I was around 15.  It was a particularly bad time for me, I read the book not long after I had attempted suicide.  I was living with a lot of anger and fear, that little ball in my stomach was constantly with me.  I remember reading that quote, actually stopping, reading it again, and truly taking it to heart.  I tried to let it happen, to let all of the fear I had roll over, through and past me, it worked, if only for a few minutes, the fear was gone.  It was an important moment, it was a confirmation that another way was possible, that life could be different, better.

We’re all afraid right now and that’s ok, but take a moment, let it roll over, around and through you.  Let it go by, take a deep breath into the safe space that’s left, even if it’s just for a minute and hold onto that feeling.  You’ll feel that way again, no storm lasts forever, no matter how bad.  Keep that in mind when the fear starts to bite at you.  It will get better my friends, even if it gets worse and scarier first and it likely will in the next few weeks.  But hang on to the fact that this reality is temporary and let go of your fear.

Other Covid Times Diary Posts

You will never be the same again

Covid Times – March 28th

My Covid Times Diary – Anxiety

My Covid Times Diary – March 24th

 

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Happiness Quotes

Holiday Happiness: Happiness Quotes

1The holidays are a very stressful time for everyone and an exceptionally hard time for some.  So, until the New Year I’ll be posting a Holiday Happiness post each day to try help folks out who are struggling.  As always you can reach out to me at Happinesskane@aol.com for a kind word or someone to listen. ~ Rev Kane

 

Tonight a collection of quotations that I think you’ll really enjoy and make you think.  Have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

1 11 1 2 2 2 33 4 4 5 5 6 67 7 8 9 10 10 1114 15 16 1614 17 18 19 19 2021 21 22 23 24 fear

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Happiness Images

Happiness Images

A post with no need to think or reflect but just enjoy some happy images, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Happiness

Happiness

happiness, joy

Jumping for Joy

Happiness, food

Happy Food

relax, be happy, happiness

Relax and Be Happy

star wars, storm trooper, happiness, kids, children

Storm Trooper Happiness

buddhism, nepal

Buddhist Stupa in Nepal

 

burning man, sunrise, happiness

Sunrise at Burning Man

 

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Appalachian Trail Happiness: Acceptance is the Way

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Acceptance is the Way

happiness, acceptance, unaka, quote

Happiness and Acceptance

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations ~ Michael J Fox

Tonight an excerpt from my  book, Appalachian Trail Happiness.

When you set out to do a long-distance thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail you know a few things in advance.  You know it will be hard, you know you will be dirty and wet and smelly.  You know you’ll likely lose some weight.  You also know that that you will go through some form of transformation, you’ll change in some way, maybe many ways.  One of the things that hit me while hiking in Vermont and Massachusetts was that the trail teaches you acceptance.

You see when you are out on the trail, life is simplified to the basics, food, shelter, the weather.  The simple fact is that many of the things you deal with each day are completely out of your control.  On the trail you have to accept the topography, whether you will climb big hills, do sharp descents, walk over rocks and in mud, or on heavenly flat trails, you just have to walk.  I’ve taken to not asking hikers I pass going the other way about the trail ahead, it doesn’t matter.  I know the profile and the distances from the guide I carry, but whether it will be hard or easy is first a matter of opinion, and secondly it doesn’t matter.  No matter what the trail holds, we’re going to walk it, so what’s coming really starts to not matter, it’s just another hill man.  You have to accept the trail for what it is and even more importantly find happiness in not only smooth descents, but in the hard climbs and the rocky trails.  If you can’t get to this point, the trail can be a very hard place indeed. And in the end this is an absolutely perfect metaphor being happy in life.

The other big thing on the trail that you have absolutely no control over is the weather.  We all know that we will get rained on while we are on the trail.  However, sometimes it can be a bit daunting.  Starting the trail in early March it rained, sleeted or snowed 12 out of the first 14 days on the trail.  It was a bit much, it almost broke me, I hadn’t quite gotten to the point of acceptance yet.  During my week on the trail in Vermont we got wet and basically stayed at least damp the rest of the week.  When it rains a lot, the humidity stays up, your gear stays wet, it’s unpleasant but it is what it is and you will have weeks like this on the trail so you just have to come to accept it.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you don’t take precautions, I blue blazed Albert Mountain in bad weather because of a bad knee and my poor descending skills.  I’ve stayed an extra day in town or delayed returning to the trail to miss a day of bad weather.  But once on the trail I accept what’s coming, this attitude has made being on the trail a much happier experience.  Being wet, tired, smelly, climbing big hills and hard terrain is all part of doing a thru-hike and with that acceptance comes a level of happiness that sustains you on the trail.

The real trick in life is to find ways to take that level of acceptance and transfer it to life in the default world.  Can you learn to accept that you’ll be cut off in traffic, that pipes will break, the cable will go out and that the package that you paid extra to have arrive on Friday isn’t coming until Monday.  If you can, maybe, just maybe, we can be as happy in our default world lives as a thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail. ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You May Enjoy!

Appalachian Trail Happiness, the Book!

My favorite trail photos of 2015

My Reader’s Favorite Posts

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Precious Moments

My Favorite Little Hiker

A Walk in the Woods

Quitting the Appalachian Trail

 

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Happiness Resources: Improving Your Mood

Happiness Resources: Improving Your Mood

So tonight a tour around the web to find some resources to help you improve your mood.  Hey, no matter where we are on the road to happiness, improving your mood is always a good thing and will always lead to a happier day my friends ~ Rev Kane

mood happiness

Improve your mood in 5 minutes

From Tiny Buddha, 30 Ways to Improve Your Mood

10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mood

15 Natural Mood Lifters

Exercise and Improving Your Mood

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How to Happily Shelter in Place

How to Happily Shelter in Place

shelter in placeWhen setbacks arise – and they will from time to time – regroup, recharge, refocus and refine ~ Rasheed Ogunlaru

So tonight I wanted to address something that we are all going through, sheltering in place.  It’s been two weeks for me now and as I’ve written about before, life hasn’t changed all that terribly much for me.  But I know that’s not the case for most of you.  There are pros and cons to every situation and for those of us who live alone, we don’t have someone around to interact with, but we also get to have alone time, space to ourselves.  Particularly for those of you who are at home with little kids, time alone has become a precious and rare thing.

So tonight some suggestions about staying sane at home, I hope they help you have happy days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Relax – I know, part of the issue some of us are facing is the shelter in place order is that we’re relaxing a bit too much.  And I would do my best to avoid Netflix and chill becoming your entire way of life.  But mental relaxation is going to be essential because we have all been traumatized by what’s happening to some extent.  We have to realize this and recognize that the stress this is causing us is real.  So we have to address that stress or it will eat us up inside and we’ll take it out on who is available and those are the people we’re sheltering in place with.  So this means you have to employ all of the things you know reduce stress and make you feel better.

Establish routines, mostly for the purpose of making sure you consistently do the right things.  You need to eat, and eat well, don’t let this become a junk food fest.  As the order came down I heard someone say, people are either going to come out of this looking fantastic, or like a dumpster fire.  Chips, Cheetos, cookies and the couch lead to the dumpster fire.  But eating as healthy as possible, taking time away from the news and the screens in your life, having a schedule and getting enough sleep take you to a much better place and will help you reduce your stress levels.

Self-Care – I know, it’s the cool in term right now but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  You have to take care of yourself, even while you’re responsible for having to take care of everyone else.  So that means find those spaces in the day or the evening.  Perhaps that’s late at night, or early morning, perhaps it’s during nap time.  If you have a partner to help, then each of you have to let the other get some time off the hook and alone.  It may just be time for a cup of coffee or tea, a little time to read a book or meditate, maybe it’s 15 minutes to do a few yoga posses or take a quick walk or run, whatever your into.  But you need these things for your own well-being.

Breathe – And yes, this means exactly what it sounds like, remember to breathe.  The techniques in the link are all very simple.  And you don’t need to find a special place or have a meditation pillow or even, if you are in a house with little kids, necessarily even find a quiet place.  But a few times a day it’s really good for you just to stop, and do a little deep breathing.  It’s such a small thing but it really can relieve a good deal of stress and make you feel better.

Distraction – At some level we will all need to be distracted from the reality of our situation.  It’s bad folks, we all know that, that’s where the trauma comes from.  If the worst estimates come true for the epidemic, we will all in some way, likely be touched by illness and death from Covid19.  Even if the better estimates play out, we have all been impacted by the shelter in place rules, we will all see effects from the impact to the economy as a result of the pandemic.

So yeah, distract yourself, stream some TV and movies, read a good book, play music, draw, paint, play video games and do whatever you need to in order to forget yourself for awhile.  Hell, that includes taking naps, sitting in the sun or just doing nothing at all for a time.  A few days ago I did a post where I listed a huge list of online ways to distract yourself. Have some fun folks.

Find something new – This is a great time to find something new to learn.  That could mean doing like I am and working on a new language.  Duolingo is a free online language learning site that’s somewhat gamified to make it fun.  Pull that guitar out of the closet that you haven’t played in five years.  Order a penny whistle off of Amazon and take up playing it.  I’ve also been doing some crossword puzzles online as a form of entertainment and of course I’ve been writing.  So try something new, heck create a fun research project to do online or even take an online course.

Stay connected to others – The fact is, that although it’s called social distancing, it’s really about physical distancing.  It doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself from the people you care about in your life.  So reach out to friends and family, especially those folks you’ve lost touch with.  Just don’t hang out with them in person do it with technology.  Heck if possible, even give someone a call, yes an actual phone call.  This weekend I taught my 78 year-old mother how to video chat on Facebook.  We’re also planning to put together a family Zoom call next weekend.  So reach out and say hi to those people you care about.

Develop routines – I think it’s important to keep some routines while working at home and sheltering in place.  Try and go to sleep and get up at the same time everyday.  Establish some daily exercise routines, eat at the same times, basically keep yourself scheduled.  But also don’t be afraid to schedule some time to do fun things or even a time to do absolutely nothing.

Get outside – I don’t care if it’s to walk, or run or just sit in the sun, but get outside.  The sun helps your body produce vitamin D that’s been indicated to help you fight off disease.  The fresh air, the sun, the chirping birds, blue sky and the blooming flowers will all make you feel just a little bit better about everything, trust me.

Keep it all in perspective – Yes, it’s bad.  Yes, there are tough times ahead for all of us.  I think it’s important that we’re not delusional.  This situation is going to last for a time, I think June 1st is the optimistic date, September 1st for the pessimists among us.  But regardless of which timeline it is, I can tell you this, our shelter in place reality will end.  A time will come in the next months where we will start to get out of our houses more.  When we will be going physically back to work, when children will be returning to school.  Life likely won’t start feeling normal again until the fall, but it will happen.  None of us will ever be the same again, but we will get past this and find a new normal.

So there’s certainly things to look forward to, and start developing those plans in your heads, a little positive daydreaming might go a long way right now.  Be safe and well my friends. ~ Rev Kane

 

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My Covid Times Diary, March 28th

My Covid Times Diary, March 28th

dystopian timesThe world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. ~ Albert Einstein

Although we are on a shelter in place order, and under orders to do social distancing, which really should be called physical distancing, I need to walk or run every day.  I need to for a number of reasons.  First off, for health reasons, I have to do cardio to keep my blood pressure and heart condition under control, it also helps with my blood sugar regulation.  It also helps my sanity, although I might be an introvert, I’m also and outdoors person, so I need to leave the apartment at least once a day and stretch my legs.  I often do this downtown where I live, I have a little two mile route worked out that I run or walk most days.  At least once a week I drive over to the coast (3 miles) to take a walk by the ocean.

ocean therapyBut as we all know, our world is changing and changing quickly.  Walking by lots of stores and restaurants there are all manner of new signs on the windows and doors.  Some them are handwritten, some nicely typed, all talk about the new normal.

coronavirus, covid19

It’s hard walking the streets of any city right now and not to see the changes that are occurring.  At your feet the litter is even different, more and more now on the street and in the parking lots the litter includes surgical gloves, masks and Clorox wipes.  People are obviously afraid to have these in their car after they have been out and about and decide instead just to throw them on the ground, a really sad statement on our species.

You can see social distancing at work, and not so at work, not just in the signs on stores.  But also as you see people spaced several feet apart as they are waiting for takeout food or to go into a small shop.  Hell at Trader Joes they actually have tape marks several feet apart to make sure the distancing stays in effect in the line.  At the farmers market this weekend, you could actively see some people keeping distance while others would just pushed right up next to you to get the “right” pepper.  Some of the vendors are very careful about the way they handle items, others handle everything three times.  I have noticed that amazingly, everything now is rounded to the nearest dollar so that handling change has been reduced to a minimum.

On Friday, after a very long and stressful week, I decided to take an extra long walk.  My two-mile loop doubled by walking up and around the local mall and post office before coming back to my normal route.  Getting to the mall was a real eye opener, there were few things open, a restaurant and a Target.  But after passing around the parking garage I came up the stairs to a scene from a dystopian film.

Everything was closed up, a lonely trailer was sitting in the loading bay of JC Penneys.  The parking lot had a single van sitting in it and although it couldn’t have been long, it felt like it had been there for years.  As I walked around the corner of the mall where a Sears had been closed down and boarded up, there was nothing in the parking lots, but oddly, a forklift just sitting in a lot like the driver had just stopped, got off, and walked away.  It was eerie has hell, sound echoed off of the parking garages and empty buildings.  Crows soared on the thermals between the buildings.  It was like the whole world had ended and I was the only person left.

dystopian scene

Of course the world hasn’t ended, it still moves along.  There is traffic on the road, a lot of restaurants and of course the supermarkets are open.  We take our precautions, we take care and so far, we keep moving forward. ~ Rev Kane

 

Other Covid Times Posts

You will never be the same again, Life in Covid Times

My Covid Times Diary March 24th

My Covid  Times Diary – Anxiety 

 

 

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Happiness is Poetry: Edgar Allan Poe

Happiness is Poetry: Edgar Allan Poe

poe, poetry, poem

Edgar Allan Poe

Sometimes I’m terrified of my own heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants.  The way it stops and starts. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

I have always loved Edgar Allan Poe’s stories.  The Cask of Amontillado had an incredible impact on me the first time I read it.  I didn’t come to Poe’s poetry til much later, you see he likes to rhyme and I have an innate dislike for rhyming poetry.  But I was far too quick to judge Poe, the more I read of his work, the more I have come to like it.  He paints amazing pictures and creates a mood that I truly envy as a writer.  Below are a few of his pieces, enjoy and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Annabel Lee       (1849)

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;–
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love–
I and my Annabel Lee–
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
Chilling my Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me:–
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we–
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in Heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:–

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea–
In her tomb by the side of the sea.

 

The Sleeper     (1831)

At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!- and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!

O, lady bright! can it be right-
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop-
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully- so fearfully-
Above the closed and fringed lid
‘Neath which thy slumb’ring soul lies hid,
That, o’er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come O’er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!

The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
For ever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!

My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold-
Some vault that oft has flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o’er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals-

Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone-
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne’er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.

 

A Dream within A Dream     (1850)

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

 

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