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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

Obscure Enlightenment

I hike alone up the mountains in my backyard. Deep in the woods. Sometimes at dawn and sometimes late in the day. I'm not afraid of the dark or the bears or the other wild creatures lurking in the distance. But nothing creeps me out more than the haunted faces and "obscure sorrows" I see and feel in some of the wood itself.

What are they telling me? What do they want? Why do some look so damn sad? Curious? Wicked?

I see an Elephant.

A Wolf.

A Frog.

A Gargoyle.

A Sinister Stare.

And other Wicked Eyes.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and being alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You have to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes too near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.”

~ Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

Maybe what the Elephants, Wolves, Frogs, Gargoyles, Sinister Stares and other Wicked Eyes are telling me is to be humble; to be brave instead of scared, strong instead of weak.

In the end, the story I tell myself is what matters most.

So I head back down the mountain to have breakfast with my wife and tell her how grateful I am she's in my life.


I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident, married to Nicola Kennedy (in photo above). I’m a writer, photographer and property caretaker. I just want to say thanks for your attention - I appreciate it in such a noisy world. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. It means a lot to me and it helps others see the story.

If you're interested in owning any photos in my gallery: click here, call or text me at 530.608.9150 with inquiries. My email: 


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