I marvel at how little I accomplish in my life, relative to the amazing output of others. Nature writer Mary Holland seems to be a whole team of creative and scientific experts, not just one person. Her website, books, articles and professional photographs encompass a seemingly limitless encyclopedic exploration of nature, presented in short, easy-reading, wonderfully illustrated pieces. She creates educational tools for all ages, especially children. When she’s not doing any of that, she’s spreading knowledge and wisdom in speaking engagements. You can feel her passion for natural history in her work.
(Better disclosure: I benefit nothing but pleasure by promoting the nature writers I follow. I have no investment or business interest except as their customer, I get no freebies or incentives, and I have no family connection with them — that I know of!)
Mary Holland’s qualifications root her as a naturalist with specialization in education, plus leadership in environmental and natural sciences in public and private sector organizations. Did I mention she’s a skilled, accomplished writer and photographer? ==> Please continue reading ==>
“As you’re walking through the forest, under a single footprint there’s 300 miles of fungal mycellium stacked end on end. … Can you imagine the activity that’s going on there? … Can you imagine that every time you walk, you’re on this big superhighway with all this stuff moving around all over the place? It’s huge!” —The Science, Culture and Meaning of Forest Wisdom, a talk given by Dr. Suzanne Simard, Ph.D.
You might say this post is about the bio-psycho-social life of trees and people who study them, how a scientist became a forest ecologist, survived a grizzly bear multiple times trying to figure out how trees talk, and helped her Grandpa rescue their dog who had fallen into the outhouse hole. Fun stuff! I also want to recommend the book excerpted below.
Often when I walk these woods I get awe-struck by the enormity of all these trees cradling me, nursing me in mind and body, opening themselves to me, entreating me to surrender ever more fully to their care.
Autumnal view of a big American beech (with splashes of maple and balsam fir)
I have no idea how many trees are in Balsamea, so I say ten thousand. It’s probably a drastically low estimate, especially if you count all the little ones just getting started. I also say I’ve walked these trails ten thousand times, but I know it is many more. I just stopped estimating when it reached ten thousand. It’s all too much for me, and never enough.
I am immersed in the virtually miraculous nature of this unbelievable gift in which I swim. I did nothing to deserve it or earn it.
Hi Folks. National Take a Hike Day is Saturday, November 17, 2018. I invite you to join me in taking this challenge farther than asked by my friends at the American Hiking Society in their article Why Technology Should Take A Hike, beginning with posting this picture on your [whatever kind of] website.
click for full size view
It’s a good article loaded with source-cited research results about:
So often on my daily trail saunters, I look at something in nature, anywhere from the sky to the stones and roots, and a simple, single sentence, or just a word or phrase occurs to me and it feels like the perfect fit for the experience, a way to describe or explain it without describing or explaining it, like a poet, I suppose, though I’ve never been a poet and don’t try to be one. I’ve tried writing them down, but the act of doing it seems to dissolve the experience into the ether, and the second I put pen to paper, the words often escape me, like trying to write down the content of a dream. It’s something like losing the true experience of something by focusing attention on taking a photo of it. I see it as a combination of forest nature and my sylvan nature that prompts these moments of unbidden mindfulness. Why should it matter that I write them down or record them or send them to somebody? It doesn’t, and I’m not sure it does me any good to try, distracting myself from the experience. Still, Dr. Ellison’s 30-minute-sit challenge feels like a push from within to let those words get said beyond my little head, along with a profusion of these experiences lately. I’m going to give it a shot, writing down some of them. I’m out there at least 30 minutes every day anyway. Join me in the challenge.
What do you do that gives you energy, that fuels your ability to work and play? Do you have anything? Do you escape from the stress of life to allow your mind, body and spirit to heal?
There are so many benefits to our health from spending time in nature, particularly forests. Research has found that spending time in forests can increase attention capacity and creativity, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system and improve mood.
Sunset from the Waterrock Knob Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway (NC)
Are you tapping into the power of the forest as part of your plan to improve your health? It is a key ingredient that could take your health to the next level. It is the multiplier. If you are walking, biking, relaxing in an urban environment, then you are getting health benefits. If you do the same in…
I’ve got to pay more careful attention to what goes on in environmental policy and legislation, so I can act on them BEFORE they get ripped up and the funding given to buying more tanks and bombs. How many people you know will have known about this before Election Day (among those pitiful few who vote)?
Since the national Land and Water Conservation Fund expired on September 30, 2018, this is the moment-by-moment ticker of funding lost to environmental programs all over the USA (this is a static picture of it, not the real ticker):
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is [was] America’s most important program to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the nation.
America’s most important conservation and recreation program, which has saved places in every state and nearly every county in the U.S., expired on September 30, 2018.
The time for action is now.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is [was] in its 53rd year of conservation and recreation success. It is because of Teddy Roosevelt’s vision to start protecting our recreational opportunities, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s instinct for conservation action, John F. Kennedy’s commitment to the outdoors, and Lyndon B. Johnson’s creation of LWCF that we as Americans now have the most extensive network of open spaces in the world to hunt, fish, hike, swim, and play.
In order to build momentum towards finding a long-term solution for authorization and funding, the LWCF Coalition launched a year-long awareness initiative counting down to the expiration of our most important conservation and recreation program.
Over the past year leading up to expiration, each week a state or U.S. territory was highlighted showcasing LWCF success stories from the federal, state, and local level, and opportunities that are on the horizon for LWCF to improve recreational access and conservation across America, and places that could be lost forever if Congress does not act by September 30, 2018. [The state-by-state info in on the web page.]
#SaveLWCF before the places we love are lost forever
[You know the drill. Call your people in Congress. Even if they are not “our” people, sometimes they will act like it, instead of acting like they are attacking the USA and everything it stands for.]
Since they named this holiday for me, though people will be inclined to say to me, “Thank you for your service,” I want to say to them, “Thank you for my service.”
Naval Aircrewman Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Lanard, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron HSC-22 of USS Wasp carries evacuee off an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter following landfall of Hurricane Maria on the island of Dominica. (As a former petty officer aboard two aircraft carriers, this picture strikes a particular chord in me. It is so nice to see the Navy used this way.)
While close-up face to face with him and looking at each other’s eyes, Buddy slipped instantly from fully conscious into unconscious perfect peace, and then within a couple of minutes (tough guy – he needed a second dose) into irreversible, eternal oblivion at 9:06 AM today, August 5, 2015, eight years since he adopted me in August 2007. He was about 9 years old, date of birth unknown. He adopted me as a stray. The last words he heard, repeatedly, were, “You’re a good Buddy.” Nothing is more true. Thanks, all, for your caring support. I know that some of you have been really “there” for us, and continue so. It counts. It matters.
Thank you, Buddy.
I’m going for a walk now, as you would have
me do now and at least three times every day.