Tag Archives: Forest


Tonight will be my last night falling asleep looking up at the stars fading off across the universe from this other world that has been my home. The hours that I’ve spent in quiet contemplation in my Marmot sleeping bag, listening to the waves crashing down or the crickets in the distance, will soon be a thing of the past. Tomorrow, we head home. Our great Baja adventure is at long last seeing its final moments. The concept of returning to America, the country I call home, the place I was born and raised in, seems so abstract, more so even than the idea of leaving it was. When we first crossed the border, my heart was broken by the fact that we had deemed it necessary to separate ourselves from our brothers and sisters by means of a concrete fence. But even then, the idea of this family was entirely conceptual, they seemed hidden by the concrete veil that stretched off to the horizon. But these times seem a thousand years behind me, even while I sit here within 100 Kilometers of the border, less than a day from my return to that place I’ve always called “home.” Now it is the idea of leaving my new family behind to hide myself again behind that ghastly curtain that brings my mind to contemplation. While the idea of a month seems so long, in practice, it is by no means enough time to find more than a few of the truths of a place. I wish so much that I could learn more about this place that I have come to love. I feel as though I am a child again, lost in a place I know nothing about. But for now, I must return. Both my home and my heart have grown with all the love I’ve been given here. All journeys must end; perhaps it is time to find a new beginning.

By: Forest Neff

The Ocean’s Story


I write, I write, I write.

My soul hits the page with a crash

The wave falls upon the sand

Searching for some culmination

Some purpose

Some truth

But oh!

Again it brings more seashells to the shore

Again it steals away the sands of time

No end

No meaning.

No truth.


I say it

I want it

I wish I knew.

I hear it.

The ocean

The flapping in the wind

The voices of my family.

But they are pieces!

One by one they come to me.


Listen for the song

Perhaps, it is not so much

Perhaps the shells will come

That a wandering eye may know

Their path is true

And thank the song for that simple gift

Perhaps the waves will fall.



Only so that the sands may change

What else may be?

The end is always in the beginning

So for now, I write.


Like a dance

We walk along

The passageways of time

Like a song

We listen to

The music of the world

Like a drum

The waves fall down

Upon the golden sand

Like a child

I sit in awe

Before the endless song

There is no self

No mind,

No meaning to it all

It simply is

We move within

To weave the tapestry

Of nature’s song

The melodies

And harmonies it holds

We walk along.

By: Forest Neff

Soul Medicine

After the meeting this morning my mind seemed to be rather chaotic. I was frustrated because I didn’t see the point in adding assignments to our workload simply so that we may have evidence of our academic and personal progress rather than providing us with time to complete the work that is already being neglected. I still feel that this is not the best solution, but as it stands, I have asked for the serenity to walk with a graceful stride rather than fight the desires of the powers that be, and I find that it is useful for me to dance to the cumbersome drum rather than attempt to compose my own song. Even in my frustration, my love for this country and the solitude it provides has only grown as I repeatedly remember that the ocean brings peace to all things; as always, it has taken away my sorrows.  The sweet rhythm of the waves rolling through me and falling on the shore always seems to remind me of the song beyond us all. One can never move without the currents because no part may be more than itself, and the whole may never be more than its parts. All we can do is dance.

By: Forest Neff

What We Have Learned

What we have learned:

The first three weeks of the Finding the Good semester seem to have flown by, but in retrospect, it is hard to believe that we have only been together for less than a month. Living and traveling with eleven other people has been a powerful learning experience for all of us. As everybody gets to know each other we have all had to come to a better understanding of our own personalities as we relate to ourselves and as we relate to the group. Spending twenty-four hours a day with the same group of people has allowed us to share ourselves, our talents, and our experiences so that we might better understand one another.  As we sat in the van on the way down to Baja California several of us learned how to knit or crochet from our companions. In addition, those of us who have experience using the technical audio and video recording equipment have been sharing their knowledge so that we may all document our journey as professionally as possible.  All of our time together in the car has also brought about many discussions about the workings of the world from our individual perspectives. Sharing our talents and our ideas has helped to form bonds between us, but we have also had to develop a variety of processes and systems to organize and complete many of the tasks that are necessary in order to establish and maintain a rhythm for our lives together on the road. It is interesting how much we have learned without having to spend any time in formal classroom lesson settings. Traveling and working together we have had to discover the necessary knowledge for our individual processes rather than blindly tracing a pre-developed system.

By Forest Neff & Natasha Alston