Walking in Two Worlds

Editor’s Note: The wildness of Antarctica, the Chilean Andes and the desert lands of the Atacama in Northern Chile had a deep impact on many of the travelers. Hopefully, you will feel the raw emotion in the poetry and the photos. One of the photographers, Jane Ball, has traveled around the world with her camera. To see more of her work go to:  www.janeballphotography.com/



A humpback dives right beside the Zodiac. Photo by Robin Sanislo

A humpback dives right beside the Zodiac.
Photo by Robin Sanislo



When in the Atacama desert, we walked across dry, heaved, hard dirt and made our way to a large, very old Carob Tree. The wind touched our faces and we discussed how being more authentic in ourselves and being more of who we are would allow more life to come to us. To touch us. We would be more available to the earth and to each other. Later that day, I sat with the question, Who am I?

Betsy Nelson-Callahan

Touching Life

Carob Tree Photo by Jane Ball

Carob Tree
Photo by Jane Ball

I am the Water, the stone,
And the woman who swims.
Life will come to me.

 I am the song, the dance,
And the woman who sings.
Life will come to me.

 I am the flower, the rain,
And the woman whose hands
Are covered in dirt.
Life will come to me.

 I am the wind, the tree,
And the woman who walks
The earth.
Life will come to me.

 I am the tear, the prayer,
And the woman who cares.
Life will come to me.

 And I will open my arms
And hold the truth.



Flamingos in Flight, Atacama Desert Photograph by Robin Sanislo.

Flamingos in Flight, Atacama Desert
Photograph by Robin Sanislo.


The poem below was inspired by Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins. They are a tough bunch of creatures. Living each day on the edge. In one of our discussions about the penguins someone asked, “What is their strength?” A fellow traveler answered:

They are what they are

Lawrence Wade

Gentoo Penguin colony

Gentoo Penguin colony

I am the gentoo,
Life and death are constant companions
The skua waits for my chick – to move out of reach
An orca may eat me for a snack
It is of no concern to me
Interwoven into the fabric of life
I am what I am.

Gentoos climbing ice flow Photo by Rodrigo Antarctica XXI

Gentoos climbing ice floe
Photo by Rodrigo Moraga Zuñiga- Antarctica XXI

I live between two worlds
Land and sea.
Everyday is an impossible journey
On the ice floe.
Step by Step.

Gentoo Penguin Tracks

Gentoo Penguin Tracks

Falling down – getting up.
A trek towards freedom,
The ocean.
Then slowly climb back up
Step by step.
My chick is up there,
And must be fed.
I am what I am.

P1110342I am the human.
Raw wildness of Antarctica,
Exposes false truths.
Opportunity to see with fresh eyes
Unexpressed pain
Old patterns and beliefs die slowly
An unknown path to travel
I am what I am

Two steps forward – one step back
Murky water
Embrace abandoned self
Reach out for help
More oxygen
More hope
An impossible journey back to myself
I am what I am

Chinstrap Penguin

Chinstrap Penguin





The Atacama Desert, in Northern Chile, is a desolate land filled with many wonders. Looking at the photo below, is a crack between the spires. Some of us were able to find our way up into the crack to a secret landing.  It was here that the sounds reverberated off the walls.

Lawrence Wade

Sacred Spires

Photo by Ken Brown

Photo by Ken Brown

Ancient spires of red volcanic ash
Reach high into the sky
Seekers ask the enchanted land for entry
A steep scramble and a large boulder blocks the way
But determination wins out
At the foot of the cathedral walls is the sacred ground.
Shoes must be removed,…. but weren’t.
A falcon nest on a small bluff above.
Bones and feathers litter the ground.
A woman’s primeval chant pulses into the mountain
And mixes with the mountain’s song.
The song drifts out across the land
Witnesses hear two voices
One the mountain and the other a woman.
A blessing for Earth.

Natural Salt Sculptures, Atacama Desert, Chile photo by Lawrence Wade

Natural salt sculptures, valle de la luna, Atacama Desert, Chile
photo by Lawrence Wade





Atacama Desert photo by Lawrence Wade

Atacama Desert
photo by Lawrence Wade




Be With the Earth Photo by Lawrence Wade

Be With the Earth
Photo by Lawrence Wade

This entry was posted in Nature Guardians, Nature Poetry, Photography/Art. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Walking in Two Worlds

  1. Sue ODonnell says:

    Beautiful pictures and wonderful words to match them. Penguins are the toughest birds on the planet. They deserve some praise!

  2. LES BEEKEN says:


  3. Love the pictures and poems. Valle de las luna is such a misterious and enigmatic place.

  4. Jeanette Dickinson says:

    Inspirational words and images that conjure thoughts of being on another plain. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Allison says:

    These words and photos touched my heart. Thank you for sharing

  6. Vicki says:

    Very moving. Lots of emotion on many levels.

  7. Janine says:

    Exquisite, Larry! I’m so impressed.

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