A bear wakes up in spring and gets back to the business of living out loud and breathing fresh air and moving though the days with intention. Maybe a person in spring can do the same and get back to the business of living and breathing and moving through the days with intention. … Continue reading Waking Up
Have you ever heard of a “food desert”? The term is becoming more common in conversation these days, but if you are unfamiliar, a food desert is just what it sounds like: a geographic area where residents’ access to affordable, healthy food options (especially fresh produce) is significantly reduced due to the absence of grocery stores within reasonable traveling distance. These regions show up in urban neighborhoods, but also in small rural communities. And when you live in one, or even visit one for awhile, it can be really hard to maintain healthy eating habits. Continue reading “Navigating America’s Food Deserts”
Someone shared this poem, by Patricia Monaghan, in a group I facilitate, and I keep reading it over and over again.
The Old Song of the Tribes
The sky draws its curtain
across the season. Any day
now it will snow, curtaining
the footprints in the soft earth
we made today, but any day in this life
or another, if I meet you, the earth’s
pull will be upon us, the mark of the forest
will be on us, indelible handprints, birthmarks.
We will know each other in city or forest,
despite continents and oceans, we will know
each other as much, as little as
we know ourselves, as much as we know
what the mind is, what the body
can be. Amidst
all the changing, our souls will remain
true to each other. The rest can be mist.
Cheryl Strayed wrote a book a few years ago called Tiny Beautiful Things – It’s a book based on her stint as an advice columnist known as “Sugar” and it’s full of people sharing their heart wrenching experiences and asking advice. It’s full of stories about the things that make being human so hard, yet at the same time, can hold so much beauty if we let them. The story I’m about to share isn’t about overcoming drug addiction or sexual assault or homelessness like many of the Dear Sugar columns were, but tiny beautiful things don’t have to be about overcoming the hardest stuff of life. They just have to be tiny and beautiful.
Woodland Manitou is a book for individuals who are searching for something that they can’t quite verbalize; those who aren’t content with the state of the world but are trying to make peace with how things are; those who are unsure how to move forward in taking action to change what feels important to change; those who want to find solace in natural spaces. Reading this book provides reassurance that we aren’t alone in uncertainty, a reminder that there is beauty in the ordinary if we take time to notice and focus on it, and hope that one person’s choices can make a difference even if it’s not always apparent what that difference is.
A few months ago, I sat down with my nature-connection colleague Sean Guinan of the Environmental Pediatrics Institute to chat about “rewilding childhood.” It’s a concept that we could all do well to embrace as our use of technology expands and our children are born into a world that is vastly different from the one that greeted us. I’m in that weird “fringe” or “micro” generation, the one that includes anybody born from about 1977 through 1983. When I was in high school, my friend Jena helped me come up with my first email address. There was a class called “keyboarding,” and the computers were huge machines that took up entire desks. We did research using encyclopedias, and there were limits to how many “web” resources you could use when writing a paper. I had a cell phone in college but almost never used it since it was so expensive, and I turned in my senior paper …. on paper, and it got returned marked up in red ink. Social media was not a thing until I was well out of college, though Instant messaging had started to permeate the campus the last few years of my undergraduate days. In short, I remember what it was like to live in the analog world, and digital technology took on a ‘life of its own’ at about the same time I did. Those who share my generation, or those who were born in generations prior might resonate with the following:
If you grew up in the 1980s or before, it’s likely you spent much of your free time during childhood running around outside, making forts, chasing butterflies, or just kicking around with the neighborhood kids. You didn’t have a cell phone and the video game options were limited. Going outside was the best option. ~Wild Child: Rewilding Childhood
I’m sitting outside on the back deck, surrounded by towering basswood trees that have just fully come into their summer leafy glory. Birds are chirping, and I can hear frogs croaking down in the shallows of the lake, and squirrels chattering at each other as they race from tree to tree. Filtered sunlight is streaming down, there’s a gentle breeze keeping any bugs away, the purple flowers of the hillside Sweet William are in full bloom, and all of this combined creates a little oasis of beauty and tranquility. I can also hear the growl of heavy machinery as crews prepare to pave another section of the road and every so often there’s a loud crash as a tree comes down, followed by the buzzing of a chainsaw and the beeping of a large loader backing up. I hear a diesel truck roar by and the dust from the road rises like a massive cloud as it races by the house. There is beauty and there is destruction. This contrast exists everywhere. Continue reading “Between Beauty and Destruction”