The "Snake River" of the poem below refers to the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Oregon.
Chaplain Trimé Persinger, Skylar and Ted Fremd, Steve Ryman and Frank Ryan led a seven day meditation intensive at SRCI several weeks ago. Chaplain Persinger did a herculean job of establishing all the right conditions for a successful retreat. Forty inmates completed the retreat. Frank Ryan reports he was struck by "the incredible, ineffable longing that haunted the whole experience."
Room of speckled grey tile floor pale green cinderblock walls,
worn denim and navy blue meditation seats;
threading in each morning
through cavernous hallways,
bringing stories we’ve never been told.
Does it really make sense to calmly abide
in the midst of tedium and tumult?
Explore terrain of the heart
with a tender touch?
At count time give both name and unit number.
Within the silence
fresh approach discovered,
even as outside
hot desert winds are stirring---
some other place they’d rather be.
~Frank Ryan, 2012