In 1991, Lloyal High Cloud Walker embarked on a vision quest (a journey in search of spiritual enlightenment) that would take him 9,000 feet high toward Mount Shasta in the legendary and mysterious White Mountains of Northern California. “Shasta was so beautiful,” Walker writes, “it brought tears to my eyes…[it] seems like a person, a long lost beloved friend you are seeing again.”
He spends the night at high altitude, the threat of predators lurking in the darkness, and the next day finds himself so high up that he is literally in a cloud. The experience is transformative to his soul, and he reflects on that, and other moments of spiritual awakening, in a series of meditations, poems and vignettes that comprise Alpha State Writings.
Though this short book is in need of a copy editor to correct grammatical errors and polish some awkward writing, this reviewer certainly enjoyed sharing the author’s memories. Walker is a lively storyteller and his archetypal journey up the mountain makes for fascinating reading.
One wishes the narrative part of the book were much, much longer, however,–it’s only five pages, serving as the book’s foreword–and that the author had explored the landscape and the depth of his emotions in greater detail through memoir rather than poetry.
This is not to say that his verses aren’t fun. Walker’s zeal for life and his seeker’s heart, demonstrated in his ode to his motorcycle, makes for enjoyable reading: “Life is good when you’re on two wheels/Accelerating up an 8 percent grade at 80./Fresh wind in your face,/Your motor thrums,/While pipes sing their sweet exhaust song.” Still the book seems more like a beginning rather than a fully realized idea.
Overall, Alpha State Writings is a diamond in the rough. Spiritual seekers who can look past the book’s shortcomings should enjoy their time with Walker as he reflects on the beauty of life and the ascent of the soul.
Also available as an ebook.