Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage

Cover Design: Kim Johansen

Author’s Note


We have heavy rains in Arizona. They normally start in July and go through August. We call the rains monsoons, which may be hard to imagine for those who have not yet experienced the rhythms of the high desert. Sometimes, though, we have a drought year and the rains start later. The tall pines become over-thirsty, beyond being parched. In those times, all of us develop expectancy — trees, plants, animals and humans alike. We are all in it together after all.

But invariably the monsoons come, often with violent storms. Jagged lightning dazzles the sky and thunder cracks so loudly it can bring us up sharply if we’re not attuned. In a primal way, we are all more susceptible during periods of scarcity.

Wandering in the forest later, we can see the aftermath. In a sea of towering ponderosas, or their kin, there are those who stand apart. Not frequently, but infrequently, there will be those who are now shed of their needles, their skins laid open by the snaking of a lightning strike. Standing stark, they appear to be dead. They aren’t. When I go and put my forehead against their trunks, I feel the elemental filaments that have startled another kind of consciousness within them. Still dwelling in their habitat, they are even more alive than before. They draw our attention — our fascination.

The fire that discharged their coverings often may move to some of the surrounding brush and trees, those in close proximity. Sometimes it may travel from a tree to ignite nearly the entire forest. But before that could happen it was first necessary for that tree to be burned of its own covering before the fire that began with that One could affect its brethren.

We sense that there is something out of the ordinary about those who are struck. At the very entrance to the forest behind my home, there stands One such as this enlivening the passageway into what I have always felt to be a magical place where I go to be washed of my material existence. We have an agreement, this One and I, that I enter a time warp in my walks there — sometimes three to four hours when it seems as though minutes have passed — until I am again clean.

In the middle of the forest, away from usual human evidence, I once discovered a stone circle enclosing a large quartz cross, lying prone. The inside of the circle was carefully tended, the bare dirt swept of debris. The energy and reverence there was palpable, guarded a short distance away by One devoid of its foliage. I return to the circle periodically, taking with me only those who I know will share in the sacredness of that spot.

A number of months ago, some companions and I, seeking refuge from civilization for a few days, were attracted to set up camp in a small clearing in the woods, after searching for somewhere we deemed appropriate to spend a length of time. It was only a few hours later that we realized a magnificent pine was dwelling a few feet away, having met its own sacrifice there. We somehow felt its influence on the peace within that came to each of us after a while.

The lightning strike oftentimes comes suddenly, a bolt unexpected. But there may well be a stirring before the charge and those who have grown the tallest stand most ready to receive.

In order to be ready, we do for ourselves what we know to do as best we can. Yet, there must be no striving. The striving of the material world has no place in this transmission. We need only send our willingness up as a prayer and merely stand waiting. This book is for those souls who hold themselves available — to be struck.

— In the time of monsoons

Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage

Copyright 2004 by Carla Woody. All rights reserved. No portion of this book, except for brief review, may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publisher. Inquiries may be directed to: Kenosis Press, P.O. Box 10441, Prescott, AZ 86304,




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Carla Woody

Carla Woody

Explorer of landscapes, ancient traditions, human condition and elements overlooked. Mentor. Artist. Writer. Peacemaker.

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