The Unexpected

(2013 Wide Sky camp out)

by Steve McCord

The mountain awaits us.

Us—such a tiny word…that describes so much:

There’d be the two men driving 400 miles—

The Sci-Fi publishing fire-tender and the gifted musician/song-writer;


As well as the three men new to our Shady Cove camp:

The flute-playing guitar instructor, the former monk and the exuberant young DJ.

Finally—rounding out this one of a kind tribe—

The rock-climbing carpenter, the harmonica blowing poet,

The massage therapist and the ingenuous inventor.

That is one hell of a us!


A circle of nine men show up with hearts full of wonder

Ready to dance with the unexpected.

Who knows what will happen as the first man rappels down the rock face;

Or when the drumming begins around the blazing campfire;

Or when the first man takes hold of the talking stick

Beneath the trees and stars at 7,000 feet;

Or when lightning illuminates Technicolor storm clouds,

As the thunder claps louder- offering its celestial ovation.

What winged blessings have flown

From the fluttering belly of the unknown?

As we let in the love and let go of our fears,

Our eyes become mirrors shined by joyous tears.









Why I Came (2010 Wide Sky camp out) by Steve McCord



My soul cried out for a place of spaciousness

Uncontaminated by duty or urgency;

A place visited by mid-wives of the unexpected…

A land worthy of fallowness

Where even my oldest tears

Feel welcome.


In a forest safe from progress,

Earth untrammeled by hollow pursuits,

Each clean breath a balm for stubborn wounds;

A climate eager to nurse uncertainties;

An ever-present witness to the mysterious heartbeat

Of our belonging.


The gate is unlocked – the first man has arrived

The first tent has been staked to the earth;

Then dust from the second car takes flight.

Open car doors, open arms, eyes meet, brothers embrace.

Catching up begins, laughter erupts, the container is built.

Food is shared, but wait…


The call comes…

Three men and a dog are stranded fifty miles away.

A car has quit, its water dance has stopped; help is needed.

Two cars, two drivers are needed.

Two men respond and drive down the mountain.

Two and a half hours later the circle is complete.


The fire roars, drums are pounded, the talking stick is passed.

The story is begun…                        rather continues

The water of life keeps flowing- no matter what.

A quiet joy is felt as flame retreats into embers pulse-

As full and thankful hearts are laid to rest

Beneath the light of ancient stars


And dream world welcomes twelve new visitors.

This is just the beginning.

The joys and sorrows of being a man:

This is just the beginning.

The lover, warrior, magician and king are embodied.

This is just the beginning.



Where Men Are (2009 Wide Sky camp out) by Steve McCord



The circle forms and grows

where men are.

Sage smoke gives rise

to all that’s left behind.


A fire blazes and crackles,

sparks are spit, shadows are cast,

a drum beat calls out

where men are.


The sharing begins,

words are shaped

like a child’s cupped hands

dipping into the water of life

where men are.


Armor is dropped, bravado released,

risks are taken,

the truth emerges

where men are.


Hearts open and really listen,

howls of anguish and laughter

rise up from

where men are.


Tears fall to the earth,

poetry erupts,

stories are told

where men are.


An elder speaks,

a raven perches above,

the spirit of our ancestors dance

where men are.


Men feel the blessing,

the medicine of men

accepting men

where men are.




The Guest House by Rumi


This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.


A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.


The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.


Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.







And always remember that…


Everything is okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.    -Anon.