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Looking for signs of life on a cool March day

IMG_8768January 4, 2020

Yes, we were some of the few people out and about today looking for signs of life in mid-winter. We saw squirrels, we heard red-shouldered hawks and kingfishers, and we found all sorts of bright pistachio green mosses among the leaves covering the brown and gray forest floor.

We also planted acorns, shouted through a long culvert, and examined a freshly built beaver lodge. It is amazing how much mud beavers move to pack in the spaces between all the branches they cut, dragged, and piled up along side of the lake. There is always much to see on a walk through the woods if one is not distracted by stuff happening in the greater world.

IMG_8780[1]March 28, 2020

What a lifetime has transpired since my last entry. Not the least of which is Covid-19, a species-jumping virus probably resulting from loss of habitat and overcrowding on a finite Earth. My life has turned upside down and I have struggled, trying to keep being purposeful in all that I do. I still try to inspire people to act on slowing down the warming of our climate, but most people I encounter are really numb from all the virus data and opinions that they see. They struggle to find sources that will tell them the truth about the pandemic. This is another crisis, much like the climate crisis, where we really want to know the scientific facts and how to adjust our individual behaviors to improve the outcome.

But at the same time, I need to keep centered, productive, and healthy, and that means I crave my daily walk outdoors for my mental, physical, and biological health.

IMG_8759[1]As I wander in nature, I see that there are still a lot of grays and browns in the forest. The beeches spread throughout the woods still wear their light tan, markescent leaves – the last vestiges of winter.  The meadows wave their russet grasses in the light breeze, and the kingfisher calls as it darts along the edges of the lake. Yet now that the season has changed there are many incipient stages of spring everywhere I look. Snowdrops and crocus flowers have given way to pink spring beauties, Virginia bluebells, white bloodroot, and yellow woodland poppies. The understory shrubs are trying to get the jump on the taller canopy species. Yellow spicebush, redbud, and white shadblow are all sprouting their flowers, and even the maples are flowering and the poplars are leafing out. Solitary bees are churning up the soil, and small brown snakes and snapping turtles are lying in wait, looking for a chance to wriggle across the path.

IMG_8784[2]Yes, the seasons change and the challenges persist, but so do the plants and animals. It does my heart good to see these changes, and I am so glad not to miss out on them by being distracted with all the worries people share. My hope for you is that you can find a place in nature and take the time to attune yourself once again with the rest of life on the planet. Maybe then we can each rededicate ourselves to change our behaviors and to take the steps needed to fight the virus and preserve our climate.


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