Roots Plus Wanderlust

Living at end of rainbow, 4/26/17

I moved 30 times in a decade. I never set down roots. Having a child changed all that. Anchoring myself, I became roots for her to grow, and am forever grateful to have learned that where I am is okay. That a person can remain in a single room if need be and hold happiness.

(Redcedar roots atop glacial erratic rocks)

Free Write

Roots grow and tether the Earth. Illusion of stable, solid matrix is my home haunted by ever-present threat of quake. Drawing inward, I soak nutrients to my core.

Wanderlust frees my portable curiosity anywhere afield. Tastes, smells, sights, sounds teach me courage, open heart, camaraderie with fear.

If money were no object, wanderlust would be my home. Instead I ready my child to roam. This life she inherits is her own, this globe of roots her new-found realm.

Ideal

A recipe I created for my “ideal” life includes both roots and wanderlust. My vision includes two rooms. Small, simple shelter, roots from which to wander. I would like to explore natural places anywhere, am willing to work and serve others as part of travel, my only limit being my as yet uncured potentially life-threatening allergies to animal dander making working on a farm or staying in lodging with pets untenable until that changes. Finding a cure has been a lifelong goal. Maybe travel will lead me to that cure.

It has been decades since I’ve had opportunity to travel, so here is a photo cluster from life-changing travel to Japan I did almost 30 years ago. Should I be blessed to live long enough, my wanderlust will resume when I am responsible for supporting only myself.

 

 

 

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Gray

No, not gray.

Preferred is the E of Grey Gardens, Earl Grey tea, and smoke grey wool.

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Equal measure red, green, blue, grey is gorgeous neutral hue. Grey is ceiling, roof and sky, storm and ash, slate and fence. Wisdom lives inside grey hair, climbs the aging spider lair. Grey rats, parrots, moths exist. Even squirrels enjoy the mist. Grey beach, driftwood, seal and stone, none of these are alone. Grey you rock in all your glory, understated understory.

Love rock

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World Economic Forum Finds Nature

My sister alerted me to the fact that the World Economic Forum this year included an agenda item on “Forest Bathing.” World Economic Forum tackles all manner of global challenges including both physical and mental health.

Wonderful to see people in high places talking about part of the solution to health crises is to rediscover nature.

When I was in high school in the ’80s, a flagship study on forest bathing was done in Japan which demonstrated the human body undergoes specific beneficial changes when immersed in a forest. Since the 1980s, more and more research has been done to show the benefits of not only immersing in a forest but also of trees to our general health and even school performance in cities.

I first encountered the term shinrin-yoku or forest bathing when I was studying ecopsychology four years ago, and I have collected guidebooks and resources with the goal of some day completing the only certification program in the US for forest bathing. But intuitively I have been forest bathing all my life. Even in my youth in the desert I sought out the rich diversity of plants, and desert plant names are the ones my brain retains.

Now I simply accept that me minus daily forest bathing equals out of kilter. I view it like my daily nutrients or brushing my teeth.

For anyone who may want further information about the topic of nature connection and health, I am sharing a resource list I compiled over the past decade on my “vision page,” Healing Outdoors. Our local children’s hospital is developing a new parent support program, and I have gladly accepted an invitation to participate. Even though the support is mostly provided by phone, I might just take my phone out to the trees.

 

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Ponder and Wander

Zip the lip for today. Just some roadside flowers from the morning walk. Enjoy the small things in a week of 14-hour workdays.

 

 

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Avid Trust Builder

I am learning to be an avid trust builder. It dawns on me the crux of so many healing and empowering modalities is building trust with oneself. In midlife, this means often re-building trust after many regrets or difficult feelings about things we have done or not done. Any practice that connects us to self-trust by showing up for ourselves each day is powerful (meditation, practicing or training to do anything, daily care rituals, daily gratitude jars, etc.).

Letting go of story around a life wounding can be a great relief. It means we are not set in stone. But the wound actually never leaves us. And the wound in my humble opinion is what connects us to all of humanity. If we try to drown the wound, run away from it, kill it in some way, we can destroy ourselves in the process.

I have often felt paralyzed with regret over a decision I made around 20 years ago. In this 15-minute clip anyone can download, it was wonderful to listen to one of my favorite teachers describe the nature of regret and how she has dealt with that powerful feeling.

Recently, I have been rebuilding trust with myself by proving I can lose weight healthfully when I thought I’d already shown myself that was “impossible”. Now zero cravings and constant sense of fulfilled nourishment is happening. So far 11 pounds down, 39 more to go by year’s end. While I can never make a 50-year-old body become a 28-year-old body, I feel intuitively that once I inhabit the weight I was then, I can feel my way into a reboot of the me I was before my most regretted decision, in a wiser way, with less harm and regret moving forward. I don’t need to wait for weight (ha) to move forward, but it is more the trust I am rebuilding in the process than my physical appearance.

I also happened upon something I wrote for an ecopsychology course four years ago on the topic of trust. This feels important now as there is so much discourse around “evidence-based truth” versus opinion. The most profound evidence-based truth is our own that we glean through our sensory connections. The problem is, it is very easy to become disconnected from our own senses. Do we trust what we know anymore?

Ever since encountering the idea of asking permission from a natural area to be there, I have been experimenting with this with profound results.  I find asking permission allows me to experience myself as no more than or less than anything around me, vibrating with all, as if we are one instrument.  I asked before I entered a thick wooded area and soon a bird call caught my attention.

It must have been a warning of my presence, because suddenly a huge flock of small birds lifted off from the tree tops.  This brought my attention upward to the lattice of leafless branches above me forming a black net against the gray sky.  I realized how rarely I look up while hiking/walking, and felt the expansive network of trees communicating.  As I continued to walk, I experienced cedar, alder, fir trees as wise companions, many of them older than me, standing witness to earth time.  I came away with the sense  they had much to teach me.

I trust this “knowing” as much as I trust any other source of knowledge, and I long to live in woods for an extended period of time to see if my intuition is correct that my computer screen myopic eyesight improves, my body restores its intended posture, and my mind restores clarity.

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Harmony Today

There were many people around the world out in harmony today for science, and that gives me hope that people like my daughter with a mind at home in complex math and science will have a place in this world.

Shoutout: SWHS Math Team took 1st and 2nd places in WA State Mathematics Council competition today. Bravo Nerdy Birdies! Endless thanks to this man who has guided for years a weekly after-school group of highly motivated math students, filling a gap, seeking opportunities for these students to demonstrate their nerdy best, and then accompanying them to said opportunities.

My favorite sign from today: “Atoms Are What Make Us Matter

I do not know the words or hymn, but it is harmony in the land of my ancestors.

Jane Hirshfield has long been one of my favorite poets and you can listen to her poem in honor of today being read aloud: On the Fifth Day.

Here is a shorter poem I have loved a long time that I hope she will not mind me posting, as a fan. (I attempt not to lift poets’ works directly for copyright).

Tree

It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books –

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

~ Jane Hirshfield

*  *  *

Here is a poem I wrote in 2013 I offer to #PoetsForScience, even though I have no Twitter account.

What We Forget

Look!  The sun spotlights a stage,
pulls light green from dark
along the shoulders of giant firs.
Gold midges flutter in turbo clusters,
daredevil spirals.
Bronze wings plummet flash quick
dizzying ups and downs
along spider hair tinsel.
Hundreds of gleamers spin slivers of light gracing the gap
between the trees.
Take all mechanisms of separation.
Give me more minutes standing watch,
remembering, feeling insects take off and land on my skin
in the dancing spaces where sun pools in the woods.
Poetry lives where we forget to see.

~ Erin Waterman

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Nature Forms

My alter ego wanted to stay in the woods all day where it had not roamed in several days. Alas, the desk and duty calls.

A congregation of curves will soon give way to the sword fern spikes below. Ferns are among the oldest plants on Earth. Their endless forms fascinate me.

Science definition:  Study of structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

A little plug for tomorrow’s Science March. Without scientific advances my daughter would not be alive, and even though her future career is yet unformed, she is on a path to contribute to further understanding. My family includes women and men of science who all have and do contribute to society. Many of us owe our lives to scientists who are mostly hidden. I am with you in spirit.

The Trump administration has proposed a nearly 20 percent cut in the NIH budget, along with even deeper cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — all of which sponsor scientific research. – Seattle Times, 04/21/17

From NPR article on politicizing science:

Hell has no fury like a scientist whose integrity is questioned. These folks aren’t making hundreds of millions of dollars. They’re not billionaires. ~ Kathleen Rogers, President Earth Day Network

I was recently invited to become a Greenwire blogger and am fascinated by how to communicate about science and climate change, both of which SHOULD transcend political values but do not. Food for thought:

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