Nature is my teacher.

Birch stump from circle of trees (4.24.14, Anchorage, AK)
Birch stump from circle of trees (4.24.14, Anchorage, AK)
"My" birch tree stump on summer solstice (6.21.14)
“My” birch tree stump on summer solstice (6.21.14)

I have loved the circle of trees in the neighbor’s yard. I have spent much time with them, as I can see their entirety from our large picture window. The little spruce died of a disease a couple years ago. This birch was cut down when we were traveling in 2013.
This morning during my nature meditation, I visited the stump again. The sap is still oozing out has it has been for a couple weeks. At night it solidifies and whitens. During sunny days, it is clear and dozens of large flies congregate there to drink.
This morning I was moved by the tree’s willingness to give everything and withhold nothing. Even after it has been cut, it still bleeds. I have much to learn from my friend the tree. If only I could be so generous.
Come forth into the light of things. Let Nature be your teacher.
–William Wordsworth

I am so happy to see new life springing from the base of the stump on Summer Solstice.

My beloved tree circle.

Circle of Trees (3.24.07, Anchorage, Ak)
Circle of Trees (3.24.07, Anchorage, Ak)

I’m happy I painted my circle of trees in 2007, before the little spruce and the red one vanished. I am currently working on a piece that features my relationship with Spirit of the Forest, with the stump of the red tree as the centerpiece.

“Come forth into the light of things. Let Nature be your teacher.”



          UP! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
          Or surely you'll grow double:
          Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
          Why all this toil and trouble?

          The sun, above the mountain's head,
          A freshening lustre mellow
          Through all the long green fields has spread,
          His first sweet evening yellow.

          Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
          Come, hear the woodland linnet,                             10
          How sweet his music! on my life,
          There's more of wisdom in it.

          And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
          He, too, is no mean preacher:
          Come forth into the light of things,
          Let Nature be your teacher.

          She has a world of ready wealth,
          Our minds and hearts to bless--
          Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
          Truth breathed by cheerfulness.                             20

          One impulse from a vernal wood
          May teach you more of man,
          Of moral evil and of good,
          Than all the sages can.

          Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
          Our meddling intellect
          Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
          We murder to dissect.

          Enough of Science and of Art;
          Close up those barren leaves;                               30
          Come forth, and bring with you a heart
          That watches and receives.

-- William Wordsworth

Appreciation as intention.

This morning when I went out for sunrise (three minutes earlier a day!),  I was not quite awake. What caught my attention first as I scanned the landscape was the tall spruce tree two yards to the north. It hugs the neighbor’s house. I felt an affection for it, an appreciation for its presence.

When I appreciate something I give something of myself to it, instead of waiting for something outside to appreciate me.

Today I have the intention of looking at and listening with appreciation to the world (people, objects, the natural world) around me, the living landscape of “my” world. I will do this from my own inner core, reaching for that place inside of me that authentically and truly appreciates. It is there.

May I come back again and again to this intention!

Returning to our common humanity.

People need to belong to each other, to just “be” together and present for one another.

So much of our belonging is a specialized belonging. We belong to one group or another, each with it’s own persuasion. This is not bad. The trouble comes when we identify with a particular group and set ourselves apart from others by virtue of that identity. When we no longer dwell within intimate range with those “unlike” ourselves. In this situation, it is so easy to lose something of our basic humanity. The “other” arises as someone different and distant. We create ideas about “them” and we keep our distance.

When all sorts of folks are thrust together in a way that they are bound together by necessity, something important can happen. Our hearts can crack open to the recognition of our basic humanity. And that is a good thing. We come back home to a deeper understanding of who we really are– human beings living together on Mother Earth.

Merging with all that is.

“The concert of existence places me in resonance with our biosphere, meaning that at this moment there is no “body” no separation; I am part of the swirl of bio-morphic unfolding. I am not bound by culture or language. The deepening of sensation allows me to be without category. I transfer the moisture of my cells, join the wet of the grass, the pour of the ocean, the stars that watch over the night. The plants breathe, my skin is wet, we are here. This fundamental umbilical to life without category is for me the first stage of sanity.”
                                                    -Emilie Conrad

                                                      Life On Land