August 13, 2021

Story 53: Seeds of Doubt

In the middle of the night, I will sometimes wake up in our small  orange tent to listen to my growing seeds of doubt, will trace their shaping forms in my mind, will question the what ifs that lurk nearby. (See Links 37 and 38)

‘Seeds of Doubt is part 2 of the Fear series, which also includes: ‘Shadows on the Wall’, ‘Magic Spells’, ‘Potato Bugs’ and ‘Lake Cabonga’.

Coming Soon:

A Summer Replay: Path

Last winter a man I met in a small northern community told me that when he was young he would hunt for Caribou with his uncle. One evening, at dusk, he watched as thousands of the large lumbering animals moved not as one, but swirled in all directions. He said that the ground moved and shook with noise and motion. But the caribou don’t migrate that far south anymore.

This Story is about impermanence, toads, caribou and the forest.

August 6, 2021

A Summer Replay: Silkworms

Of course there is no guarantee that change, and the stirrings of a thousand earthworms will restore life, there is always the chance that it won’t. Life is not predictable and it might not end as happily as you once hoped. Nonetheless, even if choice seems faint, do remind yourself that you don’t have to wait for the frail promises of your unraveling life.

Silkworms spin together no-till farming, silkworms and life transitions.

Coming Soon: Seeds of Doubt

In the middle of the night, I will sometimes wake up in our small  orange tent to listen to my growing seeds of doubt, will trace their shaping forms in my mind, will question the what ifs that lurk nearby.

‘Seeds of Doubt is part Two in the Fear series, which also includes: ‘Shadows on the Wall’, ‘Magic Spells’, ‘Potato Bugs’ and ‘Lake Cabonga’.

July 30, 2021

Story 52: Shadows on the Wall

I have been frightened by a lot of things in life, and given my rather wild imagination, fear of the unknown is one of my favorite ones, keeps me up at night; although of course, there are plenty of other shapely warnings all around,  hinted at and sometimes made explicit. ( See Link 36)

‘Shadows on the wall’ is part 1 of the Fear series, which also includes: ‘Seeds of Doubt’, ‘Magic Spells’ and ‘Potato Bugs’ and ‘Lake Cabonga’.

Coming Soon:

A Summer Replay: Silkworms

Of course there is no guarantee that change, and the stirrings of a thousand earthworms will restore life, there is always the chance that it won’t. Life is not predictable and it might not end as happily as you once hoped. Nonetheless, even if choice seems faint, do remind yourself that you don’t have to wait for the frail promises of your unraveling life.

Silkworms spin together no-till farming, silkworms and life transitions.

July 23, 2021

A Summer Replay: Terns

I once read that lightning fixes nitrogen in the soil. The lighting bolt’s electric charge breaks the stable strong  bond that exists between the nitrogen atoms that fill the air. The separated atoms rearrange and attach themselves to oxygen and rain delivers these molecules to the earth. It can burn you too. The shoreline remembers the power of such storms in its blackened trees, which,  like the small flowery monuments to the highway dead, post their warnings along the way. The story is about navigating your way through a storm. (See Links 2)

Coming Soon:

Shadows on the Wall

I have been frightened by a lot of things in life, and given my rather wild imagination, fear of the unknown is one of my favorite ones, keeps me up at night, although of course, there are plenty of other shapely warnings all around,  hinted at and sometimes made explicit.

‘Shadows on the wall’ is part One of the Fear series, which also includes: ‘Seeds of Doubt’, ‘Magic Spells’ and ‘Potato Bugs’.

July 16, 2021

Story 51: InBetween

Photo Credit: Shane Philip

I thought about the message an old high school friend recently sent to me. He’d been trail running through the woods, and found himself  on a bed of feathers. In my imagination I saw hundreds of molting birds, shaking their soft wings. But no, he said,  these weren’t feathers, it was cotton weed, which doesn’t, in my mind, make the scene any less beautiful. (See Links 35)

And a Summer Replay: Remnants

A story about memory and the clear and blurred remnants that mark us.

July 16, 2021

Story 50 : Red-winged Blackbird

We navigated some rough waters, misjudged a jagged edge that left a scar on the bottom of our canoe, adding paint to the rainbow of others who had come before. And all the while we knew full well that we’d have to lead the canoe up these rapids again, at the end of day. 

Red-winged blackbird is about journeys and solace.

Summer Re-play: Entanglement

At our small cabin, the lake is moving and churning today, thunder threatens, the light bounces off the waves. I step into the water and pull myself under the surface and open my eyes, as beams of light reflect off tiny particles. And I become aware that I am this too, a tiny particle in an ever changing sea of light and life.

Entanglements is about the connections we share with the big and small, the living and dying. (See Links 1)

Coming Soon: InBetween

I thought about the message an old high school friend recently sent to me. He’d been trail running through the woods, and found himself  on a bed of feathers. In my imagination I saw hundreds of molting birds, shaking their soft wings. But no, he said,  these weren’t feathers, it was cotton weed, which doesn’t, in my mind, make the scene any less beautiful. 

July 1, 2021

Story 49: Field Guide, Day 2

A  symbol’s meaning  lives largely inside our heads, and yet, despite lifelong dedication to its study, it only contains a dimly understood capacity to explain experiences, worries, hopes and dreams.  And here lies its danger: if we are too caught up in meaning making, when we insist and stake our lives on a symbol’s inherent truth, despite little proof, when we stare unblinkingly at a symbol,  allow ourselves to be locked in by its dogma, tradition, lack of imagination, are reassured or frightened by its promises, we might not notice other, more salient ways to navigate the world.

Day 2 of Field guide is about symbols.

Summer Replay: Spiders

One summer afternoon a thousand strings of light emerged from the wall of green and drifted into space, each end strapped firmly to the tiniest of spider babies, little parachutists, bravely and willingly allowing themselves to be carried by a faint breeze into the unknown. 

This story weaves together images of parachuting spider babies, an ancient turtle, love and loss.

Coming Soon: Red-Winged Blackbird

We navigated some rough waters, misjudged a jagged edge that left a scar on the bottom of our canoe, adding paint to the rainbow of others who had come before. And all the while we knew full well that we’d have to lead the canoe up these rapids again, at the end of day. 

Red-winged blackbird is about journeys and solace.

June 25, 2021

Story 48: Field Guide, Day 1

On a moonless, starless night, one of the only signs of an nearing dawn  is whether I can see a hand in front of my face. The other indicator that day is within reach is the beginning of a reel of sounds unrolling. Some clever  trick of unseen light,  a simple click,  releases today’s spool of sound:  the mechanism springs to life, and sends its signal to the player piano.

Day 1 of Field guide is about signs and signals.

Summer Replay: Maps

Perhaps stories,  our mental maps, our perceptions of the world are only illusions, marked by clear or faint, experiences along the path. We do seem to have an insatiable need to create meaning, to connect seemingly random memories, to help us make sense of the world, and our place in it. 

This story threads together maps, owls, wolves, as well as the meaning we give to these.

Coming Soon: Field Guide, Day 2

A  symbol’s meaning  lives largely inside our heads, and yet, despite lifelong dedication to its study, it only contains a dimly understood capacity to explain experiences, worries, hopes and dreams.  And here lies its danger: if we are too caught up in meaning making, when we insist and stake our lives on a symbol’s inherent truth, despite little proof, when we stare unblinkingly at a symbol,  allow ourselves to be locked in by its dogma, tradition, lack of imagination, are reassured or frightened by its promises, we might not notice other, more salient ways to navigate the world.

Day 2 of Field guide is about symbols.

June 18, 2021

Summer II

Story 47: Stinging Nettles

At the far end of our own brick walled garden was a wooden gate that opened to a large churchyard. A network of narrow paths wound their way through rows of ancient graves, whose stones had, in some places fallen down and cracked, overgrown by ivy. Large Chestnut trees lent our street its name, and cast their deep shadows.

Stinging Nettles is a story about living in England, playing hide and seek in the graveyard, and about the good women who circled the wagon.

And a Summer Story Replay: Lost

I was hiking in Utah once and had to keep myself from diving off a cliff: L’appelle de vide; the call of the void. Surprisingly there is little written about this. Doesn’t everyone feel the urge to enter the  void at some time in their life?  

Find helpful instructions here on what to do when you are lost in the woods.

Coming Soon: Field Guide, Day 1 & 2

On a moonless, starless night, one of the only signs of an nearing dawn  is whether I can see a hand in front of my face. The other indicator that day is within reach is the beginning of a reel of sounds unrolling. Some clever  trick of unseen light,  a simple click,  releases today’s spool of sound:  the mechanism springs to life, and sends its signal to the player piano.

Day 1 of Field guide is about signs and signals, and Field Guide Day 2 is about symbols.

June 11, 2021

Story 46 : Corsets and Lotus Feet

The large ‘Reshaping’ cabinet holds, among other things, Burmese neck rings which, I learned, don’t actually lengthen the human neck, but rather push the clavicle and ribs down. The neck stretching is mostly illusory.  Also in the Reshaping cabinet are corsets, worn by many women not that long ago. Come to think of it, my grandmother kept one at the bottom of her closet.

This story is about the Pitt River museum, corsets and other shrinking things. (See Links 34)

Sounds in Nature Meditation: Spring Birds

Birds songs recorded early one spring morning at the cottage, including a yellow bellied sapsucker, hermit thrush, a lot of chickadees and a few others.

Coming Soon: Stinging Nettles

At the far end of our own brick walled garden was a wooden gate that opened to a large churchyard. A network of narrow paths wound their way through rows of ancient graves, whose stones had, in some places fallen down and cracked, overgrown by ivy. Large Chestnut trees lent our street its name, and cast their deep shadows.

Stinging Nettles is a story about living in England, about the good women who circled the wagon, and about playing hide and seek in the graveyard.