Posts tagged Nature connection
Viewfinder

In an interview, landscape photographer, Galen Rowell, said when the weather report promised a great day, he would stay home and sleep. But when the report warned all to stay inside because a storm was coming, he’d grab his camera and head outdoors. I love how photography has us up and out at odd hours; catching good light.

Here are some pictures I took recently, in the course:

Landscape Photography in Yosemite: A Field Workshop
Stanford Continuing Studies - 2019

 
 
All flourishing is mutual

Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

How is it possible that in twenty years of education [my students] cannot think of any beneficial relationship between people and the environment? Perhaps the negative examples they see every day--brownfields, factory farms, suburban sprawl--truncated their ability to see some good between humans and the earth. As the land becomes impoverished, so too does the scope of their vision. When we talked about this after class, I realized that they could not even imagine what beneficial relationships between their species and others might look like. How can we begin to move toward ecological and cultural sustainability if we cannot even imagine what that path feels like? If we can’t imagine the generosity of geese?

Braiding Sweetgrass is so many variations on the theme of imagining, and really remembering, beneficial relationships between people and place.

How generous that they [fruiting trees] shower us with food, literally giving themselves so that we can live.  But in the giving their lives are also ensured. Our taking returns benefit to them in the circle of life making life, the chain of reciprocity.  Living by the precepts of the Honorable Harvest--to take only what is given, to use it well, to be grateful for the gift, and to reciprocate the gift--is easy in a pecan grove.  We reciprocate the gift by taking care of the grove, protecting it from harm, planting seeds so that new groves will shade the prairie and feed the squirrels.

Reciprocity is a thread woven through so many of her stories. It describes relationships that form from necessarily taking life to live, but also developing gratitude and exercising our power to care for and give back.

Gifts from the earth or from each other establish a particular relationship, an obligation of sorts to give, to receive, and to reciprocate.

Whatever we have been given is supposed to be given away again.

When the food does not come from a flock in the sky, when you don’t feel the warm feathers cool in your hand and know that a life has been given for yours, when there is no gratitude in return--that food may not satisfy. It may leave the spirit hungry while the belly is full.

Her vision is not one of relating to nature at arms length. The natural world provides so much more than opportunities for spiritual connection and moments of transcendence. Ecological systems provide the fabric and foundation for all life. We don’t step into them or visit them. They are part of who we are and re-establishing relationships of gratitude and reciprocity helps us regain that experience of belonging in a much larger web of life.

 
Some of the many links between a Western Grey Squirrel and their ecosystem.

Some of the many links between a Western Grey Squirrel and their ecosystem.

 
What’s happening here with the plants today?

Guidance for cultivating gratitude while sitting outside, from 8 Shields:

 
Trumpet lichen peeking through communities of mosses, after the first winter rain.

Trumpet lichen peeking through communities of mosses, after the first winter rain.

 

Feel the ground, smell the Earth; get into your senses, feel your connection to the Earth, how the Earth supports you in so many ways.

Low growing plants, foods and medicines.  What’s happening here with the plant’s today?  Appreciation for how they tie into your life.

Water on the landscape or internally.  Life comes from the water. Let that appreciation flow.

Animals.  Pets and how they support you in your connection.  Tracks, other mysteries.

Shrubs; what’s happening with the shrubs?  Do they have fruits on them? And appreciation to the life they bring to the landscape.

Birds.  Are they singing?  Are they alarming?

Air on your skin.  Where is the breeze coming from?  Sky, clouds, weather.

Moon.  Can you point to where it is in the sky?  What phase it’s in? So many cycles of life tied to the phases of the moon.  Feel that inner connection of life to the moon.

Sun.  Bringing life to Earth.  Where is the sun? Pockets of shade?

Stars.  Remember all the stories that are up there, painted across the sky.  Where is the North Star at night. Get a sense of direction from them.

We’re always at the center of the 4 directions.  Where are you in relation to the 4 directions?  Really nice way to center and ground yourself in your spot.

Time, movement of life across time.  Recognize your place in the cycle of time.  Life that is coming too and we get to be in the center of that going and coming.

Own body, on creativity.  What is creativity bringing forward in your life today?

KellieNature connection