Wednesday, April 21, 2010

reconnecting with earth 2 shifting paradigms

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, 
he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
John Muir                         
The titles of the articles we have been directed to read are in themselves wonderful phrases for contemplation:
               Thinking Like a Mountain
                  The Web of Life
                      Deep Ecology and Lifestyle
                         The Gaia Hypothesis
                            Seeing the Whole at the Center

From the Mother Earth News article (May/June 1986):
              ....over the millennia the earth has somehow regulated its own temperature.  When life began on our planet four billion years ago the sun was 30 percent cooler than it is today.  Yet, from then until now, the temperature of the earth's surface has remained with the critical life-supporting range of 15 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius.  The level of CO2 has dropped a hundred fold in those four billion years, reducing the "greenhouse" heating holding effect of the atmosphere even while the sun was radiating more heat.  The result?
The earth has kept itself at a constant temperature ... just as our bodies do.

I find this astounding, and shows how the interaction of systems produces amazing results.  

Another delightful reaction and example from nature:  In an experiment, damaging bacteria were introduced to a limited number of trees at the far end of a forest.  Almost immediately the trees at the opposite end of the forest, a significant distance from the affected trees, began producing antibodies against that threat.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

building a garden (of life)

 lambs ear intermingling with the gifted rose from my son's wedding celebration

My backyard is my world.  Now I am creating newly in my front yard.  The more I embrace this wonderful space around me, the more I can learn from it and be guided and enriched by it.  It provides me with animal life:  the squirrels fat and brown of this town in all seasons, always busy, always aware.  Coming to peek in my living room window at times.  Fearless even with the crows, the cats, the bark of the dogs.  The wonderful lumbering groundhogs -- there is a young one this year, scurrying fast.  The old one, like the squirrels will come up to the back step and peer inside, wondering about the glass separating us.  The raccoons visit, even nest, until I need to ask the animal man to come and capture him and clean out my eaves space -- the smell so strong he cannot breath well -- then needing the screen to prevent future nesting.  The rabbits, usually unseen; my surprise at the baby bunny nesting on the edge of the road, next to my mailbox.  The feral cats that leave their careful tracks in the snow beside the jumping tracks of the rabbit, enjoying the clear hospitality of the space under my parked car, free from the cold wet of the piled up snow from the night before.  The birds, of course, bringing change and joy and song.
echinecea plants from my new daughter transplanted last fall

 poking up through the grass

Now my emerging small garden, providing amazing memories from last year, with some plants intact, others expanding, others with unknown greens (weeds, they say) poking up -- my need is to clear the remaining packets of strong returning grass to make way this year for a new friend -- will it be beans or peas this year?  Slowly slowly adding to this small space.  I moved my carefully tended little trees last year, they seem to be thriving in the new location.  I must anticipate their size and needs because they will create shade in the future that will prevent the possibility of other, especially vegetable, crops.

transplanted peonies from my grandmother (lena) & tulips from the backyard

The others in the group talk about travelling long distances - to Yellowstone, to Alaska -- or forty acres of land up north -- or a farm land of grazing cows and goats -- or the massive Matthaei Bontanical Gardens.  But I am lucky with my land and my small homestead and the sun and trees that surround me and the moon that I can follow.  This small space is becoming more and more my teacher.

Transcending hesitation:
Understand my intention with my heart. Build on the clarity of that intention.
Create a plan to proceed.  Lists are good.
Follow that plan.
Seeing clearly, respond to the needs the garden itself presents to me.

wise words from Geri Larkin, Plant Seed, Pull Weed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

reconnecting with earth 1 wild nature

The interconnectedness of everything, not just the living, but also the living parts of the past, on earth and above earth, seeing a miracle, said Loren Eiseley.

The badlands appear to be lifeless, but in fact hold all the particles of life: 
carbon black on the stone, iron in the clays, phosphorus from brain, calcium from bones and teeth still intact.
The rocks are full of life, and can speak to us, not at all inanimate.  They hold the history of the earth.  The birds fly over the land that the humans have, for the most part, abandoned.  It is all part of the whole, including the light from the moon illuminating all.

To bring awareness of wildness into my life, more consistently and deeply.
To be aware of the secret of seeing.
To allow the discipline of clearing the mind that will give room for the possibility of illumination.

Currently participating in a six-part discussion course, with appreciation to Jim Crowfoot, to fellow students, all themselves teachers, to Michigan Friends Center.