Tag Archives: wilderness

silence.

“Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.”  – Rachel Naomi Remen

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green river area

green river area

https://www.hcn.org/blogs/range/green-river-nuclear-reactors-utah?src=mc

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story.

“Take someone who doesn’t keep score, who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing, who has not the slightest interest even in his own personality: He’s free.” – Rumi

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Canyonlands

Canyonlands

http://delcotopten.blogspot.com/2011/06/top-10-national-parks-are-free-today.html

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“Remember only this one thing,” said Badger. “The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them.  If stories come to you, care for them.  And learn to give them away where they are needed.  Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” -Barry Lopez

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farewell.

The New York Times
December 25, 2013

Farewell
By VERLYN KLINKENBORG

The first Rural Life appeared on the editorial page nearly 16 years ago.  This is the last.  This seems a good season to leave, with a long winter ahead, the wood stove burning, and plenty of hopes and plans for the coming year.  When The Rural Life began, I didn’t imagine that it would last so long or chart so many changes in my life.  Nor did I imagine that it would find so many good readers.  But it has, and I’m grateful for that.

As for the farm, it will go on much as it has.  The horses will stand broadside in the sun or paw the snow looking for last year’s grass.  The roosters — two of them now — will breast the bright morning air as always while the hens go about their business.  The dogs — two of them now, again — will chase each other through the snow.  I’ll be fixing fence and hauling wood and feeding out hay and chopping ice in the horse tank when the power goes out.  And I’ll be doing what I’ve always done: watching the way one thought becomes another as I go about the chores.

But what about your farm, the one you’ve pictured while reading The Rural Life all these years?  I know, from talking to readers, that it’s far bigger and more orderly than mine.  It has fewer rocks and richer soil and fences that somehow magically stay taut.  It reflects who you are as surely as my place reflects who I am.  And it seems to be just about anywhere, wherever there’s open land and some woods and enough time to walk the fence line.  I’ve always wished that I could visit the farm that readers imagine I live on.  It sounds like a very nice place.

I am more human for all the animals I’ve lived with since I moved to this farm.  Here, I’ve learned almost everything I know about the kinship of all life.  The only crops on this farm have been thoughts and feelings and perceptions, which I know you’re raising on your farm, too.  Some are annual, some perennial and some are invasive — no question about it.

But perhaps the most important thing I learned here, on these rocky, tree-bound acres, was to look up from my work in the sure knowledge that there was always something worth noticing and that there were nearly always words to suit it.

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edge.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/27/opinion/life-on-the-edge.html

December 26, 2013

Life on the Edge

By AKIKO BUSCH

IN environmental parlance, the ecotone is the zone where two habitats merge, that threshold where water meets the shore, where the forest comes to meadow, or where woodland ends at a cultivated lawn. It is the edge habitat where everything — soil content, vegetation, moisture, humidity, light, pollination — changes. It’s also where species from both sides converge, rendering it a place of complex interaction and diversity.

All of which makes it a good place to work. My small office here in the Hudson Valley of New York is situated at the edge of our yard, where the woods of oak, maples and hickories meet the brambles, the rye grass and timothy. Things are always happening here: White-tailed deer wander out from the woods foraging for something to eat, and wild turkeys often parade through the long grass. Once, at dusk, I saw a coyote slipping through the trees, and for a few brief moments two winters ago, a small gray bobcat. And one morning last summer I was astonished to see a black bear amble out from the trees.

The view from my window is of a place of constant change and unexpected appearances. Such a landscape can be helpful when you’re trying to distill a nebulous idea into a handful of words. It could be nothing more than a ring-necked pheasant pecking at the dry leaves, its iridescent green feathers picking up the glint of afternoon light, but a glance outdoors is enough to remind me of the intensity and complexity in these places of transition, where one thing manages to become another.

Aldo Leopold, forester, writer and dean of American wildlife conservation, articulated the idea of the edge effect in his 1933 classic, “Game Management.” Observing how different species search out different peripheries, he wrote that the grouse hunter looks to the edges of the woods “with its grape tangles, haw-bushes, and little grassy bays,” while the quail hunter “follows the common edge between the brushy draw and the weedy corn,” and the deer hunter “the edge between the oaks of the south slope and the pine thicket of the north slope.”

“We do not understand the reason for all of these edge-effects,” he wrote, “but in those cases where we can guess the reason, it usually harks back either to the desirability of simultaneous access to more than one environmental type, or the greater richness of border vegetation, or both.”

Humans, too, have some primal appreciation for this piece of environmental real estate. We seem to know that the edge is where the action is, or the place you push things to for the best results. When you understand the periphery’s purpose and significance in ecology, it gives you another way to understand different edges in human society and how their energy is created, whether you are talking about the borders between diverse populations in urban communities or more abstract reflections on how ideas intersect and are cross-pollinated.

In an essay about ethnic identity, the historian and essayist Tony Judt wrote about his preference for the edge as “the place where countries, communities, allegiances, affinities and roots bump uncomfortably up against one another.” Margins and edges, he suggested, offer us “a decidedly advantageous perch.”

And it occurs to me now, as we edge into a new year, that time has an ecotone of its own, some thin cusp where before meets up with after. Because surely the edge effect can be a circumstance of chronology as well as one of place. And surely the way the months, seasons, years brush up against one another can produce a similar influence of change, diversity, vitality.

Perhaps it is possible to imagine year’s end as having some temporal edge effect, to see it as the place where desire and expectation intersect with actuality. And to look at this time of year as an interval during which one is suddenly more attentive to that friction between the finished and the unfinished, the energy that lies between the done and the undone.

If adjacencies of terrain nurture biodiversity, maybe this juncture of years can generate similar sudden sightings of unexpected possibilities. How many minutes, hours, days are equal to a few feet of wild grass and bramble? And who knows what could show up during that time? It could be anything. The bears are asleep now, but it could be a turkey flapping in the brush, a gray squirrel practicing its aerials, or a coyote slipping by so elusively that all I’ll ever notice are its prints in the snow.

Akiko Busch is the author of “The Incidental Steward: Reflections on Citizen Science.”

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appreciate.

“Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend… when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.” –Sarah Ban Breathnach

http://daringtolivefully.com/gratitude-quotes

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cliffs north of Colorado City AZ

 

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edge.

“Living systems never really settle down.” – John Holland

“Plants and animals that do settle down do not survive for very long.  It is as if life is forever trying  to keep itself exquisitely balanced on the edge between chaos and order…..Living systems that survive in the wild, from a flying starling to a rain forest orchid, must learn to adapt with the shifting ecosystems around them, retaining their precarious ecological balance at the vital edge of survival between two competing but necessary worlds. Order and chaos.” – David Whyte

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Comb Wash

Comb Wash

 

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Enough

Enough. These few words are enough.

If not these words, this breath.

If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life

we have refused

again and again

until now.

Until now. – David Whyte

 

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Comb Ridge, Utah

Comb Ridge, Utah

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“A bedrock faith in my own perceptions. How would that dangerous path on the ridge between chaos and order look if I were to say that everything in my life is enough, at least to take the next step, to begin?” – David Whyte

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sensitive souls.

“In a college psychology class, I was required to read a book subtitled, “The Mental Institution as a Last Resort”. The book’s thesis was that many people in mental institutions are not crazy, but just more sensitive than most people in society.  The authors suggested that many mental patients are simply too fine tuned to fit into the mainstream, and an institution is a safe place – similar to an ashram or monastery – where they can be who they are without having to adapt to a society that is in many ways more insane than they are.

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kings canyon

kings canyon

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/United_States_of_America/California/Kings_Canyon_National_Park-753470/General_Tips-Kings_Canyon_National_Park-TG-C-1.html

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“Hilda Charlton noted that souls who are particularly fine-tuned emotionally, artistically or spiritually are often unable to cope with the heaviness of the world, and so they turn to various addictions to escape.  Alcoholics, drug addicts and many mental patients are highly evolved souls who cannot find comfort, acceptance or a forum for expression in their worldly circles, so they sedate their sense of homelessness with chemicals or insanity. Indeeed, many great artists, musicians, thinkers, inventors and visionaries have sought to take refuge in addiction or illusion.

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Deadman Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park

Deadman Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/77200510

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“…..we do not need to escape from the world we see, for it is not a place of truth…..In the Hindu culture, holy men and women are revered and cared for by the society. Saints and mystics are not tested, prodded, poked, cross-examined, rationalized, written-off and shunned as they are in the West. In that culture, genuine visionaries are supported to do their spiritual work… Let’s honor our sensitivity and create a supportive space for talented souls to express their true selves..” – Alan Cohen

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