3 Millennials Seek A Road Less Traveled

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing three “20 somethings” who are following their passion, honing their skills and trying to make a difference in the world. The three are Sespe Miller, Marra Clay, and Coley Krauss. Each of their contributions will be posted over the next three weeks. Below is Sespe Miller’s story:


Sespe Miller scraping an elk hike that he was tanning.

Sespe Miller scraping an elk hike that he was tanning.

My interests in Earth-based skills were sparked as a young boy. Spending a lot of time outside; growing up on the farm; and my father taking me out hiking and backpacking in the mountains. Then I started reading Tom Brown’s book, The Tracker. It is about two boys who were taught ancestral skills by an Apache man.  I tried to get outside as much as possible in the “front country” around here, hiking, swimming, just being a kid growing up in the wilds. .

Then I started reading survival guides and how to live out in the woods and crafting. When I was 16, I was building traps and one time I caught a scrub jay in a snare and I didn’t know what to do!  I was startled because I had actually caught something. I loved to go to the library and find books on ancestral crafts, hunting, tracking, birds, and plants. Later my interests turned to basketry.

Sespe Miller wearing a tradiitoinal Chumash willow basket

Sespe Miller wearing a  willow basket

I know basketry is not very popular, but I really enjoy it. It is very internal and I am connecting with a living source and creating something from it. I went to an ancestral skills gathering and the teachers had willow backpacks that they had woven and I was very inspired. This is where I heard about my basketry teacher who lives up north. She does Native American replica work for museums and is legendary. I stayed at her house for two months working with her.

I know that what I am doing is un-traditional, and may seem unnecessary, but I feel deeply that these skills are needed. It has helped me remember what humans valued in the past and develop a deeper connection with the Earth. In many ways, I am living my life in uncharted waters and following my heart.

Posted in Connecting to Nature, Nature Guardians | 2 Comments

The Great Bee Rescue


Exposed honeycomb and bees on fallen tree branch

Article and photos by Dewey Hassig

During the July 17-18 storm, numerous trees came down all over Minnesota. I got a call that a big tree branch was down at the Edenwood Camp, in Eden Prairie, MN, and it had a honey bee hive in it. I didn’t need any more hives, and had no experience recovering bees in the wild. So, I called Minnetonka beekeeper, Grace Sheely, who was interested in trying to recover them. Surveying the situation, we found that the honey comb was entirely exposed. There were still bees on the comb, and a cluster of bees with the queen on a small branch nearby.


Grace used a cookie sheet to transfer the comb onto the hive frame Dewey was holding.

After collecting hive boxes and all the equipment we needed, we began to recover the bees. Considering the trauma the bees had been through, they were far calmer than what I expected, and possibly less excited than my own bees at home. My concern was how we were going to get the comb and bees into the hive box. I had no idea how to do that, and simply followed Grace’s instructions. Setting a half empty hive box on the ground near the tree branch, Grace used a cookie sheet to scoop the bees and fragile comb onto hive frames I was holding.


Cutting the branch and moving the queen and the cluster of bees into the empty bee hive.

After getting as much comb as we could scoop up into the hive box, it was time to recover the cluster of bees and queen on the nearby branch. We put a second partially empty hive box on top of the first box, to place the cluster in. As Grace held the two small branches the cluster was on, I cut them. She then put the cluster in the hive, and we scooped up a few balls of bees that had fallen off the cluster and put them in the hive. Then we closed up the hive, but left an opening in the front of the hive boxes.


Bees going into the hive.

Bees going into the hive.

The most amazing part to me, was how quickly the bees realized the hive box was their new home. It was less than an hour,  before most of the bees that had not been captured were in the hive box. I feared that many of the bees that were initially outside the hive box would be lost.

The next day, I saw that the bees were back to business as usual, and  I felt  like I had saved a life by rescuing that hive. In the wild, the hive would have had to start over, and no chance of making it through the winter. But with the help and care of beekeepers, now, they had a chance of surviving.

Additional notes by Grace Sheely
“I have never seen a tree hive of bees, also never played “Winnie the Pooh”. The tree hive was originally more than 30 feet in the air as part of a very large oak tree.  The whole oak tree did not fall, just the hollowed out part.  I went back a few days later and took more docile bees and honey out with a spatula.  These bees were struggling to fight off many raiding insects (wasps and yellow jackets) from taking their honey.  I actually saw piles of bees killing small yellow jackets…the larger wasps seemed more difficult for them to manage.
Neither Dewey nor I were stung…nor did the bees seem upset with the messy operation of moving them.”


Posted in Connecting to Nature, Insects, Nature Guardians | 3 Comments

How Much Love is Your Lawn Giving You?


My lawn has been giving me a lot of love since it became a sustainable “living habitat”. I found “food” in my lawn, as well as many pollinators, amphibians and night singers who lull me to sleep.

Below are some of the plants that play an important role in creating a sustainable lawn:

I have a thousands of dandelions in my lawn and they are the first plants to flower in my yard,  attracting many pollinators. In the spring, I dig the roots and greens, and blend them into my morning drink. Dandelion contains many health-promoting phyto-nutrients that are beneficial to your internal organs.

Dandelion leaf

Dandelion leaf


The past few years, I have found it necessary to reduce the dandelion population in my lawn. I dig out the plants in the early spring when the ground has not hardened up and the roots have not locked in. They have not started absorbing anything and are much easier to pull out when the soil is cool and moist.




dutch white clover

dutch white clover


After digging out a dandelion, I plant dutch white clover seeds in its place. Clover is an excellent plant for pollinators and blooms into August. Clover also produces its own nitrogen, improving the soil. The rabbits prefer the clover and have not been destroying my vegetables or perennials.




Self heal

Self heal


Self heal is another plant that is good for pollinators. So I bought some seeds at: www.outsidepride.com. Three days after the seeds arrived (late June), I noticed about 100 self heal plants were already blooming in my lawn.






Plantain is a bee sting remedy that draws out the venom. Immediately after being stung, I crush plantain leaf  put it on the afflicted area.





Burdock root

Burdock root








In addition, I have stinging nettle and burdock growing on the edge of my lawn and have been eating them too. I dig up the first year burdock plants beginning in July. They have a long taproot and I blend the root raw or put them in soups. Burdock is a blood purifier and removes toxins from the blood. Do not try to eat the roots of the large second year burdock plant because they are too woody.


Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle

I pinch back the new leaves of the stinging nettle beginning in April and keep them pruned to a height of 2 foot. I flash-scald the leaves to eliminate being stung in the mouth and then immediately put in crushed ice, so that the phytonutrients are not destroyed. The nettles are then blended into my morning drink. Nettle is used to cure many ills including arthritis and allergies.



Cardinal rules of a sustainable lawn

  1. Mow every 2-3 weeks. Not mowing gives the lawn a chance to recover from the trauma of the mower.
  2. Mow at the highest setting to protect all the living things. The creatures may be able to survive a mowing and the plants will be able to recover more quickly. Also, “mowing high” reduces the ability of young dandelions to grow in your lawn, because they are unable to photosynthesize.
  3. Do not use Round-up or other herbicides on your lawn. Round-up is probably a carcinogen and  I believe is dangerous to humans, plants and creatures.
  4. Walk around your lawn and see what type of plants and creatures are taking over your lawn as their home.






Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Alone on a Mountaintop – Wolf Ridge Poet Society

Sixty teenagers ranging in age from 11 – 17 years old in the Northwoods. If you would like to be inspired and feel a burst of creative energy, read what is in the heart of these children.

Pitcher plants - Curren Ikhaml

Pitcher plants – Curren Ikhaml

Listening, looking, and wondering
Blades of tall grass reaches for my foot
And a gentle breeze ruffles by hair
My spirit soars like the hawk gliding overhead
A fern beckons me, like nature’s hand
And bird’s nest called me into the woods
The falling fog uplifts
A wonder to behold
My life and perspective is forever changed
Jackson Risser

Sundew - Alex Marks

Sundew – Alex Marks

I Wonder
Where does nature come from?
This wonderful gift
The lakes, the birds, the flowers,
And the great big cliffs
Where did the sun come from?
Shining bright in the sky
What would we do without it?
And what would we use for light?
Where did the rivers come from?
Winding through the trees
The crystal clear water can
Go up to your knees.
Where did the flowers come from?
Their petals bright with color
All these questions are making me wonder.
Listen to what nature has to hold
You’ll find great beauty
And stories to be told.

Kathryn Sherman

PearledCrescent - Curren Ikhaml

Pearled Crescent – Curren Ikhaml

The Wind
I move, I whisper, I wake
I prompt light leaves and feathers to shake
I create an end to make.
A light breeze on your hand.
For I am the wind
I lull you to sleep with
My soft little whimpers,
And when the frost quakes
I’ll leave your bones to quiver.
The rocks and the trees
All know I am here.

Their leaves adore clapping
Whenever I’m near.
I am still the wind
In case you’ve forgotten.
I bring rain clouds closer,
Some calm and some rotten.
So listen close, creature,
I can bring great wisdom.

By parting such knowledge,
You could kill a kingdom.

Kinsey Anderson

Kissing Tree Catriona Ray

Kissing Tree
Catriona Ray

Nature is Calling Me
Here on the mountain top
In the peaceful breeze
Upon a quiet rock
All I see to the left and to the right
Is nature all around me.
I feel safe, like I’m meant to be here
It is as if nature is the other half of me.
As I sat on my quiet rock,
The rest of the world seems to float away.
I feel something I have never felt before
It is a dream too good to be true.
I got up to leave,
but I felt nature calling me,
so I said I would come back
I will never leave, ever,
because nature is always calling me.

Evie Kemper

Lake Superior Agate

Lake Superior Agate – Nolan Lee

When People Talk
Step, step shhh….
Plants don’t sleep when people talk
Crunch, crunch, shhhh.
Mice don’t scurry when people talk
Crack, crack, shhhh…
Birds don’t sing when people talk
Click, Click shhh…
Wolves don’t howl when people talk
Step, Step.. shhh

Sarah Coval


An eroded dead tree, still standing
How did it die?
Deer trails – almost invisible.
Spittle bugs dripping off the leaves
Individual ecosystems hidden
In cracks of moss covered trees
Being alone in the woods is
So peaceful,
Nothing to worry about,
No one to impress.

Author unknown

Curren Ikhaml

Curren Ikhaml


Posted in Connecting to Nature, Nature Poetry, Photography/Art, Summer | 3 Comments

What is your art?

What is your art? How do you express your connection with nature through your art? These were the questions I asked readers to share. Fourteen readers contributed the unique expressions of their art. It is a great honor to share their  perspectives.

Reader and contributor, Linda Hansen shared her thoughts on the subject:
Observing nature, as it intersects with humans, is truth-telling. And not the easiest to witness but maybe-hopefully, the gong-strike for change.


Basalt Mound – Michael Smith, Institute of  Energy Arts

Certain types of stone, when sized, configured, and placed properly can emanate beneficial energy at a site. This mounded stone structure combines river rocks and basalt.
Michael Smith, Institute of Energy Arts, LLC   www.instituteofenergyarts.com

Colleen Baillie_Primitive Thinkers

Primitive Thinkers – Colleen Baillie

These primitive figures combine the history of humans and our co-dependence with nature throughout history.  I used vegetation sprouting from the heads of the figures to represent the ways in which nature and its processes is rooted within all human beings, and also to illustrate the ways in which the human mind and nature grow and evolve over time. Colleen Baillie (To see more of this talented artist’s work go to: www.colleenbaillieart.com)

Josefina Varas

My heart shaped rock collection – Josefina Varas



Plover – Amy Simso Dean

I design and build stained glass birds – Bringing my love of birding into my home.
Amy Simso Dean

Car Scar - Linda Hansen

Car Scar – Linda Hansen

Car Scar is from a series of shots taken while flying over the outer metro area in my uncle’s light plane. It was amazing to see the patterns created front that vantage point; serpentine rivers, clusters of wooded areas and strings of roads connecting cities and dwellings. This shot, however, was an aerial view of someone’s dead car lot. I hope there is some redeeming value to this- recycling maybe, but I’m not sure the half life of metals and fuel/oil is a positive aspect as it leeches into the soil. There are too many cars in the world.  Linda Hansen

Big Eye

Big Eye -Gyotaku
The fish was about 9 inches long. Since I still live by the ocean and I like to fish while birdwatching, adding fish printing made sense to me.
Gary Friedrichsen, Arcata, California.

Point Dume, Malibu, CA.

Point Dume, Malibu, CA. – Carol Izad

These color pencil drawings remind me how grateful, peaceful and in touch I felt with the Creator when I drew them.  They represent my praise.    Carol Izad


2014 Front garden

Dale Antonson

Our home on Robinwood Lane in Minnetonka has a unique terraced rock garden that faces the street.  I’m able to blend a variety of annuals and perennials into this space as a pallet of color with something in blossom throughout the growing season.  
I enjoy bringing forth the beauty and wide range of colors the flowers offer to my friends, neighbors and those who happen to pass-by. My garden will help brighten their day and possibly invoke a feeling of the love for the Earth and Nature. – Dale Antonson


Elf Basket – made from Big Bluestem – Lawrence Wade

 In creating these little baskets, I tested many different type of plants and roots to see what species would make excellent fibers for weaving. Nature was my teacher.
Often the weaving was a prolonged meditation for personal healing. One friend of mine had cancer and I remember stitching and praying for her healing from the start of the basket to finish. When my Father died, I wove some red willow into a oblong-shaped basket and all my family members wrote out a blessing or prayer for him. We put the prayers in the basket and said good-bye to him as the basket floated down Sespe Creek.
  Lawrence Wade

Joan Ungar

Joan Ungar

Joan Ungar

Joan Ungar

These paintings represent my impressions of two sacred sites I have visited as part of a spiritual journey I started in 1987.

The first series commemorates my trip in 2002 to an unusual mountain found on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The Storr, also known as the “sentinel” or “old man” is illuminated by a huge crystal underneath which in turns serves as a beacon for spiritual travelers.

In addition to the esthetic appeal of the Storr, I believe I unconsciously chose this sacred site to paint first, because of personal reasons. The hike to this mountain was extremely difficult for me due to asthma. Consequently, I was not able to fully appreciate the power of this site at the time.

However, after connection to this site through paint, I experienced the intensity, brightness, and wisdom this sacred site offers. Moreover, the journey and understanding of this site corresponds to what I believe, is a personal awakening in my painting style.

The second series from the same trip in July of 2002 reflects my reactions to a circle of stones, called Callanish,(also known as Calanais), located on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland. This circle of monoliths is one of many including Stonehenge. It is thought that the site has many astrological alignments and may have been used as an advanced lunar observatory over 1500 years ago. Like the Storr, there is a huge crystal underneath the circle of stones. Also, like the Storr, the stones connect to other parts of the world and to the Universe.

Whereas the Storr calls out for brilliant color, Callanish seems gray and hazy to me. The atmosphere around the stones determines the mood. I sense the stones to be mysterious, multi-dimensional, subtle and somewhat anthropomorphic   I have therefore attempted to convey their mysterious presence in a more monochromatic color scheme, and have used pastels to enhance some of the misty effects.  Joan Ungar   –    joanungar.com

South African Trees - Jessica Blum

South African Trees – Jessica Blum

This 3 x 6 foot painting is of South African trees.  I chose to paint them because they are resilient – they have a reputation for surviving high winds and elevations. Yet they still grow and thrive, which makes them most inspiring. I love the asymmetry of Nature, and all it’s beauty. Jessica Blum


Beaver Shield - Sephanie Schmid

Beaver Shield – Stefanie Schmid

I connect with nature on a spiritual level. I see the circle of life, and how all living things are important to exist for another’s survival.

A Native American Shaman gave me a beaver shield and told me to paint what comes to my mind, and return it to him, because he likes the collaboration between his art (the assembly of the beaver shield) in conjunction with my painting on the skin.

The beaver was found dead on the side of the road, and the Shaman was never to be found again, despite numerous attempts at reaching him. It was strange how he entered my life, sharing his”natural” artistic talent with me, while celebrating an animal that is considered to be a symbol of hardwork, wisdom, and good luck (different according to specific tribes), and then vanished.

 This beaver has been brought back to life in a different form.  It was re-birthed. Not as a living animal, but as a celebrated work of art. I am connected to nature by the circle of life, and the different interpretations it has upon diverse cultures.

Stefanie Schmid
Professional Artist/instructor


Fairy Garden – Cheryl Mahin

I enjoyed buying the woodland props for my fairy hidden under the watering can and the two fairies in the swing in the back.  I bought rocks and a bag of moss.  My daughter suggested I could find those things around the yard.  So the paths were created with rocks from the yard and moss from the cabin and the woods behind our house.  Now the fairy garden feels like part of my home.  Cheryl Mahin

Yogi Bear on the Deck - Susan O'Donnell

Yogi Bear on the Deck – Susan O’Donnell

I love watching animals in their natural settings. This young bear was hungry, and he came right up on my deck. He found my humming bird feeder and drank the nectar from it. Susan O’Donnell


Posted in Connecting to Nature, Photography/Art | 3 Comments

ArtStart’s Eco Arts Fest

Earth Guardian Play

Earth play – Props, masks and script  by Julie and Gustavo Boada

Children and artists of all kinds honoring and celebrating our home, the Earth. ArtStart’s Eco Arts Fest was all that and more. The 8th annual event was held at Harriet Island in St Paul. There were 15 different elementary schools represented at the opening event, with students carrying or wearing art that honored the Earth. ArtStart artists worked with students at their schools months before to help them make props for this special event.

Earth parade

Earth parade

 Artist, Gusavo Boato worked with students to create the cranes

Artist, Gustavo Boada worked with students to create the cranes for the opening parade.

The event is the brainchild of ArtStart director, Carol Sirrine. She and Cindy Smith orchestrated the entire event. They got funding, found schools to participate; hired talented artists to work with students; and did the dirty work that it takes to put on a large event such as this.

Masks and costumes were created by Julie Boato

Masks and costumes for the Earth play were created by Julie Boada

One of the highlights of the EcoArts Fest was the play written by Julie Boada. In addition, she and her husband Gustavo created the amazing masks/costumes for the play. The energy was superb….so caring for the Earth, our home.

The story was very moving about two humans who were so connected to the Earth, but lost their way, and then had to remember their love and caring hearts for their home. In many ways it was our human story that was being told and it was comforting to have the truth be spoken and for the children to hear it.

The blue heron could not withstand the strong south winds.

The blue heron could not withstand the strong south winds and needed to be laid down.

Artist, Armando Gutierrez worked with students from ISLA, a spanish immersion school in Hopkins, MN, and they created drawings of migratory birds.

Swans by Livia Hernke

Swans by 4th grader Livia Hernke

Indigo bunting by

Indigo bunting by Linnea Tix

Snowy Owl by  Matthew Mehr

Snowy Owl by Matthew Mehr

Julie Boata putting together her bald eagle.

Julie Boada connecting the wings of  her bald eagle. Every feather had an Earth prayer written by students.

There were a number of dancers and drummers from different cultures.

Kapulli Yaocenoxtli-Mexican dance group

Kapulli Yaocenoxtli-Mexican dance group






Posted in Photography/Art | 3 Comments

First Annual Pick-up the Poop Day

The issue here is not just about dog poop.
It is more about caring for our wild spaces.
When we are out for a walk,
are we conscience of the land
and the parks we value so much?

All you need is a bucket, plastic bag, mutt mitt or pooper scooper.

All you need is a bucket, plastic bag, mutt mitt or pooper scooper.

Calling all dog owners, the city of Minnetonka is heading the first city-wide “Pick-up the Poop” day in the state of Minnesota (That may not be true). Saturday, March 14th  10 am to noon at Purgatory Park (17315 Excelsior Blvd, Mntka).  Bring a bucket, big plastic bag, a “mutt mitt” or scooper and your pooch. If you are going to pick-up at another park, come to Purgatory Park for the weigh in. Early returns from Evergreen Park show a collection of 20 lbs.

Why pick-up poop?
Our suburban wild spaces are out of balance. Normally in an open space of 20 acres, there might be one family of foxes. Introduce 100 dogs into that space and nature’s balance is negatively impacted. 90% of  the dog owners  pick up after their dogs. The 10% (10 dogs/owners) who are not picking up, are creating the problem. We can estimate that those 10 dogs might leave 5 pounds of poop each week. Multiply that over a 5 month winter  (November to March). Now you have 100 pounds of poop on the land. When the spring rains come, the pet waste runs into our low areas, ponds and creeks. Now we have a water quality issue.  The poop that stays in forest is a public health problem . The bacteria and pathogens in animal waste can negatively impact wild and domestic animals that eat it.

We all love our dogs. But we also love the land that we walk on. We need to be as caring about the land as much as we do our dogs.



Posted in Nature Guardians | 4 Comments

Otter Dreams

Three poets, Jeff Saslow, Rich Kessler, and Christina Gregory try to find light and balance during the darkness of winter and the stress of everyday life. Join them, as they express their connection to Nature through the written word.
                                                                                       Unless noted, all photos by Old Naturalist

River Otters
The river otter’s homes are the joy of open holes,
Usually a foot in diameter,
and dot snowy Minnehaha Creek
On a cold, February afternoon.
The dark icy water of blackness houses a secret under the white world beneath my feet.

The otters enter the abyss to fish,
But then use the snowy creek to slide along as a game and a ritual,
Much like us who walk, ski
and pull children’s sleds on the surface.

The dogs sniff around the half open holes,
Their nose in touch with an otter or two
That danced, slid and fished eight to twelve hours earlier.

Now there are no otters in sight.
No smells that we, of course, can decipher.
But the open holes, the icy slides,
The dog’s attention are a testament
To something much deeper and unknown on the Creek,
Inside our bodies and just inside the walls of our world.

  J. Saslow –  Feb. 2015



White blizzard
Low winter angle of sunlight
Brown grasses through white frosting
I ski through my cake
Past twilight into the night


 Blanketed hills
Tucked in dark woods
I push and slide
Toward marshmallow prairies
My insides are sucking on sweets
While my winded face meets my self again.

J. Saslow


IMG_1207Haikus – Rich Kessler

ice cracks underfoot

alone   silence broken
by my racing heart     


bare cold icy branch                        
closed buds huddle together
long for spring’s warm sun



 fullMoonRichI profess my love
midnight    new year’s eve
full moon steals the show







OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI live between two skis.
Across a snow white sheet.
On a sky-blue-pink March day.
The wind blows a mystery.

I fall asleep between seconds.
My body shudders
I’m on the upward side of time
I awake
Sliding on a frozen, glass creek
My heart is all that is warm.

J. Saslow       March ‘09





Spontaneous Combustion

In the mist of mystery
In the spheres of frozen longing
You are born
Quickened by the rise and fall of wind
The mystical design of old.

Pure vapor is the womb
Tossed about the riding tide of streaming air
Agitated, perplexed, driven to create and birth your wonder for our viewing.

You trick us into thinking you are unique
Yet you follow the manual; dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s
Always 6 branches
Always measured
Always following your crystal destiny.

Condensing cold upon the nascent flake
You grow tihe frenetic energy into branches, fern like and precious.
Colonized symmetrically
Randomized mathematically
Stretched beyond the imagination

And in the chemical bond you join to others like yourself
Lining up, marching as it were, into the form within your knowing
And deep within you assemble

Fresh baby snow

Christina Gregory, January 2015



River Otter Tracks

River Otter Tracks

Posted in Nature Poetry, Winter | 6 Comments

Hidden Secrets of the Minnehaha

I spend a lot of time on Minnehaha Creek. A sanctuary about a mile from my home. While skiing and hiking along the creek, I have seen and been part of some amazing things. If you have some memories of your time on the creek, share a comment and I’ll incorporate into the posting.

Early morning Ice Fog

Early morning Ice Fog

Long Shadows of Winter

Long Shadows of Winter

Fox Tracks crossing the creek.

Fox Tracks crossing the creek.

Mink on the bike path

Mink on the bike path


River Otter plunge hole and slide

River Otter plunge hole and slide

River Otter Tracks

River Otter Tracks

Reader Laura Arndt, shared the following comment: “Big Willow is my favorite place to be, no matter what season it is!!! “

Late afternoon Sundog

Late afternoon Sundog

Reader Dean Hansen shared this memory: “Ahh, Minnehaha Creek.  (Actually, it’s pronounced “crick”, but you know that, right?)  I grew up between Bloomington and Cedar avenues two houses south of 49th Street.  We spent countless hours playing near the crick and in the surrounding Minnehaha Park when we were kids.  There was a fine sliding hill just to the north of where 17th Avenue South hits 49th Street, and this hill was packed with kids in the winter.  Back when we had real winters (1945 to maybe 1957).  Somewhere in the attic are 16 mm color movies my dad took of us kids tobogganing on that famous hill. “

A crow landed leaving its wing and tail feathers in the snow.

A crow landed leaving its wing and tail feathers in the snow.


A crow flying close to the ground, but never touching.

A crow flying close to the ground, but never touching.

Lu Harland contributed the following memory: “I used to play down by the creek as well, but in Hopkins by Knollwood Plaza. I use to love catching crayfish under the rocks and tubing down the creek with our bumper tennis shoes on.”

Water Lily frozen in time

Water Lily frozen in time

Frozen pieces of art

Shapes created by nature

A rooster snowdrift

A rooster snowdrift

Eagles patrol the creek

Eagles patrol the creek



Sunset in January

Sunset in January



Posted in Connecting to Nature, Photography/Art, Seasons, Winter | 12 Comments

What is Life?

Our readers ponder, the age old question, “What is Life?”
Each person contributing a 3 line form that is unique and a blessing in its own way.

Thanks to all the contributors (in order): Kathleen Kahlil, Dewey Hassig, Allison Platter, Carol Wade,  Linda Hansen, Rich Kessler, Steve Casper, Judith Brook, Cathy Jordan, Lucia Harland, Dale Antonsen, Lyndra Hearn Antonson, Jennifer Parker, Paula Frakes


Photo by Old Naturalist

What is Life?
The aliveness in every cell
as the wind blows through
connecting, caressing, informing.


An oak tree
An acorn
A squirrel
Perpetual motion.




Photo by Mick Schulte


What is Life?
Fresh air, movement, and nature
Love, family and companionship
Growth, laughter and wisdom


The tiny fingers of a  newborn grasping yours
The joy in her parents faces
The wonder of all that is to come



What is Life?
Breathing in and out of fears and disappointments – letting go, leaning in, living on Inhaling hope in the sparkle of snowfall, exhaling angst, hurt & hurry,
A late day sun blanket, a swish of air when nature breathes too.

Linda Hansen

Photo by Linda Hansen


What is Life?
Sweet, cool, red chunks of watermelon quench my thirst
Crashing waves, salt air, hot sand and creosote boardwalks
Smell of old magazines, 60 years ago, in grandma’s attic.


“Stream stomping” with my two daughters
And sitting on the shore eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Watching dragonflies mate and lay their eggs on the duck weed right before our eyes

Photo by Mike Farrell

Photo by Mike Farrell


What is Life?
Damp fresh smell by the ocean that clears my lungs from city traffic and city streets.
Hearing bird songs and thundering waves that clear my head from too much chatter in my mind.
Feeling my soul while walking in the woods surrounded by breathtaking grandeur.

China Cove -Wade

China Cove – photo by Old Naturalist


                                                             What is Life?

It is the secrets of the forest,                                    The sound of wind in the summer leaves
buried below layers of pine needles                            The cold blue and white of winter
The babble of the brook teaming with life
The sway of the top-heavy grasses in the marsh





                                                         What is Life?
The Spark of the Creator                                                 Life is a gift from God 
Within the everlasting souls                                 A spiritual opportunity to learn
Of all who dwell in the sacred space                    How to give and receive divine love
Of this Garden we all share

Big Bay

Big Bay – Photo by Dale Antonson


What is Life?

It is the bent backs working steamy rice fields to feed families
The cacophony of colors reflecting the sunlight|
The innovation born in remote corners of our world to adapt and thrive

Jennifer Parker

Photo by Jennifer Parker


What is Life?
The brilliance of fresh newly fallen snow
Crisp air breathed in… warm breath breathed out
Another day … alive with purpose and hope.

Photo by L Wade

Photo by Old Naturalist

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