First a muted sunrise.


Dark clouds streak across the canvas

we call the sky.


A golden orb is obscured.


Wild field grasses sweep across the open scrub

scattering the last of winter’s seeds.


The wind picks up.


We are subsumed by a momentary maelstrom.


Thick white flakes

barely brush the scrub.


In moments the ground is bare

and parched once more.


I am left wondering

if the snow visited us at all.

Amidst the Garbage and the Flowers



A couple of days ago my friend Iren and I visited a place that spoke to me of the Bear People. Lots of wild earth and free flowing water made this area home to ancient Puebloans who understood the necessity of having astonishing beauty in their lives as well as precious water. Beauty keeps the soul in tact, and Water is Life.


The undulating mountain ranges – some appearing quite reptilian, stretch out as far as the eye can see in every direction and some are snow covered. The white light that emanates from these pristine mountains make me gasp in wonder. So much   indescribable beauty. Wild animals are still abundant here as are the artifacts from those who have lived and traversed this land before us.


This is a place where “deep time” (see earlier blog post for a discussion on deep time) can easily be accessed, a place where it is possible to visit the ancestors…both human and non – human, in spite of the hoards of garbage thrown carelessly on hallowed ground, much to our disgust and grief – stricken hearts.


Iren captured “deep time” through the photograph she took of me staring into the future… reminding me that in these junipers, hills and mountains – in this high desert – I have finally found home amidst “the garbage and the flowers.”

MMIWQT: Abused Indigenous Women – a cry for help


Author forming a bead…


Artist Cannupa Hanska Lugar cutting the clay


The beautiful individual beads… each one unique


Artist Iren Schio deeply engaged…I happen to love Iren’s expression in this photograph because it reflects the place she goes when she is totally engaged with her art -making.


Yesterday my friend Iren Schio and I participated in a collective effort to make clay beads held in the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe.


Beautiful dark gray clay was cut into squares by the artist Cannupa Hanska Lugar, and the squares were given to each of us to form individual beads to acknowledge and remember each of the 4000 women, girls, Queer, or Trans- people (MMIWQT) either missing or murdered in Canada alone in 2016 (This information was gathered by the Native Women’s Association of Canada in 2016).


In the artists own words: “we are acknowledging this number and this place that will result in a pixilated portrait. By creating collectively we can move forward and continue to address MMIWQT in all our respective homelands. This community engagement is meant to activate our processing of missing and murdered Indigenous people through the act of doing and feeling in a collective effort to say this is enough.”


Each large bead represents one individual, and the prayers for the person that was murdered or missing.


This extraordinary project is also occurring elsewhere across the country to raise awareness about the fact that 84 percent of the violence against Indigenous women is sexual or physical in nature, and that Indigenous women are ten times more likely to be murdered than any other ethnic group in this country (for more information on this subject please go to


Iren and I were both impressed by the warmth and respect of the people who gathered in this room and the feeling of community that we experienced participating in this project.


When we left we both felt as if we had done something to become a part of the solution, no matter how small, and that participating mattered. We both experienced joy.

Deep Time



(This photo requires some explanation – I am living at the edge of a river to the east. To the west I see this mesa. Here in New Mexico the Tewa speaking Pueblo peoples honor Avanyu, the Horned Serpent who is the manifestation of the Spirit of Life living in the flowing waters of the river (which is dangerously low from drought) and falling as rain or snow. His image is pecked into the canyon walls (or painted as a pictograph) and on the mesas that overlook the river. On this particular mesa there is a powerful petroglyph of Avanyu accompanied by other serpents. Although I have never been able to climb this steep mesa my friend Iren is a mountain climber and scales cliffs without effort and she has shown me exactly where this petroglyph is and has pictures of Avanyu which have burned themselves into my mind. Early in the pre -dawn hours I visit the river’s edge and acknowledge the power of Avanyu’s presence… Turning around I imagine I can also see Avanyu pecked into the rock high above me. Being in this Presence each morning, I experience a moment of Deep Time.)

Lately I have been using the phrase “Deep Time” in some of my writing. It occurred to me that I really didn’t know what I meant by the phrase beyond sensing/experiencing the spiritual aspect of it in those moments when I enter that space in between worlds where “Now is all that is”. I will not be covering the spiritual aspect of Deep Time in this essay. Engaging with this phrase is my first attempt to answer this question about Deep Time in other more concrete ways.

I am drawing on three interdisciplinary fields and my own ideas when I use this phrase. One discipline is Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic fields and the use of morphic resonance to transmit information/energy. Morphic fields are biological, psychological, mental, emotional, social, spiritual fields that can be tapped into by all species and across generations by living beings in order to receive/transmit information and energy. This theory works outside space/time with resonance being a central to its existence. The closer the relationship the easier it is to resonate with another living being. This theory is considered controversial in mechanistic western science as it is practiced today, and has been dismissed as irrelevant because “it isn’t needed”.


The second discipline I am drawing on is Carl Jung’s use of archetypes and fields, also controversial and totally dismissed even by the American Psychological Association. Archetypes are patterns of energy that carry information that also work outside the acceptable space/time constraints. Archetypal fields are like morphic fields in that they convey energy and information between species and across generations by pulling persons or cultures into specific fields of influence, but this theory is restricted to psychological patterns of energy, although it is compatible with Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance. It doesn’t include the other areas listed above.


A third discipline is that of field theory itself. Like the others mentioned above field theory contains energy but information is not part of most hypotheses. There are so many different variations within this discipline that I encourage the reader to research this body of information independently.


As an example I use the unified field theory of particle physics, which attempts to describe all fundamental forces and the relationships between elementary particles in terms of a single theoretical framework that has also been dubbed ‘a theory of everything’ at least on a mathematical micro –level (subatomic). Even though this unified theory appears to have parallels on a macro level we refuse to accept it at the human level which is in the middle of the other two! I am convinced this attitude of dismissal is pure scientific hubris and the result of our destructive world politics. If we accepted that relationship is fundamental to all parts of Nature/Universe humans would be FORCED to make radical changes.


In my way of thinking Nature taps into Deep Time because all of Nature has a kind of memory that resonates through and across time, but is not dependent upon linear time as humans experience it as Rupert Sheldrake states.


To have an experience of Deep Time one has to have a relationship with another person, family, or another species. I think humans most commonly enter Deep Time with relatives and people they love either dead or alive when identifying with “family” and ancestors through these different layers of biological/psychological/mental/emotional “fields” through feeling.


We have been taught that our DNA carries all the information necessary for new life. However, DNA is a protein, and proteins do not code for the form, personality, or gifts and disabilities that a person may develop. If we allow for the possibility of memory in Nature then it becomes understandable that a person develops into who s/he is partly because of DNA heritage and partly because s/he can tap into her family’s field through her mind and/or body.


As an example, let me use my friend Iren who is an incredibly gifted artist that works in every medium I can think of. She is also the daughter of a man who was an artist, although I believe Iren’s talent surpasses that of her father’s. Certainly, Iren carries her father’s DNA, but an artistic gift doesn’t develop out of a protein. The current theory of epigenetics suggests that characteristics/ behavior etc. can also be inherited from parent to child, a theory that was dismissed with scorn until quite recently. The resurrection of this theoretical perspective blurs the dogmatic western scientific belief that DNA is solely responsible for how an individual develops and brings us much closer to the idea that there is also a memory inherent in all Nature that can be tapped into on a biological, psychological, mental, emotional and physical level. Individual species all draw on a collective memory and also contribute to it so it evolves, or is capable of evolving.


I think it’s necessary to re-iterate that tapping into Memory in Nature is dependent upon the strength of the emotional connection between people or other species. This can be either a positive or negative emotional occurrence. In my experience interconnection occurs through the mind or body, sometimes both. Like attracts like, and the same is true for polar opposites. A negative emotional connection has as much power to influence as a positive connection does. I give as an example the power of hatred to destroy, or the universal fear of the “evil eye” which is based on the idea that the strength of a person’s negative power can harm another.


I think that animals, plants, and trees routinely tap into their own multilayered biological, social, mental, behavioral and emotional fields for information and perhaps even more importantly for guidance and love. I give as an example the fact that some tree stumps in untouched forests remain alive for centuries after having been cut down. How can this be?


We now know that these “elders” are being fed water and nutrients by their relatives through extensive root systems assisted by fungi underground (who are more like insects than plants). Why would the younger trees bother to keep feeding a severed trunk without limbs unless there was a good reason to do so?


Author Peter Wolhlleben posits that these trees need the support of their elders – I would add that this emotional component goes completely unnoticed in non – human species unless one is a person who has developed intimate relationships with particular plants, trees, forests, deserts, and animals, both wild and tame. Most people ridicule people like myself who discovered love and found their “family” roots in Nature.


Deep Time is not species specific. On this blog I write again and again about my close relationships with plants and animals (tame and wild) on both a personal and collective level. My last blog entry on passionflowers is an experience of the former.


My dreams about Nature are deadly, repeating the themes of lack of water and dying trees, animals that are disappearing. In these dreams my grief is overwhelming and I am powerless to intervene. I believe I am literally dreaming for the Earth. This is the collective insanity of Climate Change, manifesting through one person’s dreaming body (And I am not alone). In addition, during my day life I live this reality as a naturalist and Earth Advocate. I have not been free of these dreams for thirty years and they are intensifying, I believe, because I am living through an age of  Earth extinction.


Deep Time is multi-layered and multi-valenced. It has (personal) biological, behavioral, emotional, psychological, mental, social, as well as spiritual aspects. Because its not space/time dependent (it can occur almost instantly), past present and future can be experienced simultaneously in Deep Time, and the passage of time as humans experience it can also be reversed. An example of the former is the psychic experience of presentiment in which the individual has a bodily sensation that something is going to happen in the near or distant future and it does. I routinely have this kind of experience through mindless fear, feelings in my body, or through dreaming the future.


Deep Time also has a cultural aspect. A good example of this is what happened to many folks on 9/11. People had all kinds of frightening experiences. I for example, was in the middle of a painting and stopped to take a walk in the woods. When I returned I suddenly had the compulsion to paint the sky in my painting brilliant orange although I had previously planned that I would paint it blue. Three hours after I finished my sky, I discovered that I had painted it during the time of the explosion in NYC. My sense is that this collective aspect may also sometimes be dependent upon the strength of the individual’s emotions around what is happening. I am very opposed to war, and fear its deadly consequences; with this kind of emotional fear dominating I might be more sensitive. Painting the sky an explosive color mirrored what was happening in the collective.


There is also a teleological aspect to deep time. We are pulled into these stories or “fields” often against our will, for example, repeating deadly childhood experiences in adulthood. On a more positive note a cottonwood seed grows into its tree not just because it has its parents’ DNA but also because there is an invisible cottonwood field that is calling it into being through its cottonwood form.


I finish this exploration with some tentative conclusions. Whatever Deep Time is, Memory in Nature is fundamental to its existence. The strength of relationship is also fundamental to entering Deep Time. We also enter fields of influence when we enter this space. Deep Time is not species specific; In fact, animals, trees, fungi, plants probably live closer or reside permanently in Deep Time; it is more difficult for humans to enter this space. Deep Time is multilayered and multi-valenced and it is not space/time dependent. Information and energy are relayed almost instantly. Deep Time has both personal and impersonal dimensions and it is teleological by the nature of its existence. Deep Time is not static and allows for the possibility of evolving new patterns of human and non human behavior – for better or worse.


Deep Time is also about entering “a Great Mystery.”

Growing New Roots


(this photo was taken through the lens of a bottle that holds precious new roots)


Recently I lost a plant that I had a deeply personal relationship with for thirteen years. The grief I experienced felt overwhelming because it took three months for this plant to die and I did everything I could to save her.


Last year I had given my friend Iren the “mother” of my dead passionflower plant as a gift, never imagining that her daughter would be dead a year later. When my friend gave me cuttings from the mother plant, I hovered over them like an anxious and somewhat frantic mother for weeks, bringing them into our bedroom at night to sleep with my dogs, bird, and me.


I had learned that propagating this plant through cuttings seemed impossible for others, although I seemed to be able to root them myself. Eventually, after rooting at least 50 plants for people over a period of about ten years, I reached the conclusion that my emotional connection to this plant must be the key to my ability to propagate them because no one else I knew was able to do so.


Every morning I peered into the bottle of cuttings anxiously, fearing that my emotional relationship to the passionflower had been severed permanently by the untimely death of the plant I had lost, which by the way, mirrored what had happened to me in my own life in an uncanny way.


A few days ago a solitary bud appeared on one of the cuttings. Although I knew from experience that this bud wouldn’t bloom it indicated that some growth was occurring. Another cutting sprouted a normal leaf, again suggesting something positive was happening…But where were the roots?


And then yesterday morning as I placed the bottle of cuttings in the early morning sun I saw them. Roots! Only one cutting has sprouted an abundance of those precious white filaments, another has a couple of submerged buds. I feel fierce hope brimming… I am frankly overjoyed to be sharing the same space with young rooting passionflowers. And perhaps this passionflower event heralds something similar about finding new roots for me?



Re Weaving the World


(“Heartwood” – Valentine’s Day Gift from artist Iren Schio)


At winter solstice I was becoming physically ill from an intolerable situation involving sleep deprivation during which time I was possessed by the idea of making a wreath. Since I have been weaving wreaths out of balsam greens since I was a child and they have been an intrinsic part of my solstice rituals for almost forty years, I assumed that my not making a wreath was breaking an emotional and spiritual tie and this was why I was so distressed/obsessed.


I knew that my friend Iren had grapevines so I asked her for a few to fashion a small wreath. I was then troubled to discover that even after soaking the vines they remained stiff and un – pliable. Determined not to give up I struggled to form the vines into a circle without success.


By this time I began to suspect that there was more going on than I originally thought because I knew that my inner state usually mirrors what I am experiencing in the world. Certainly, I was not doing well spiritually, emotionally, or physically.


I fought with the vine. Eventually, I formed an ugly distorted round that I had to tie with twine in order to create the semblance of a genuine open sphere. The use of twine forced the vine into a shape it refused to choose on it’s own and that fact alarmed me.


I hung the wreath on a tree outside my window after placing a calcite “dagger” that I had found on the day of the solstice in its center. The calcite gleamed like ice, and this addition to the ugly skeleton wreath felt just right, so I left it.


Shortly, after finishing the wreath I found the strength I needed to make the decision to get myself out of my intolerable situation. Every time I looked at the wreath with it’s dagger I thought that the struggle to make it, ugly as it was, had helped me make a decision I would have done most anything not to make.


When I moved I left the misshapen vine hanging from its tree.


One day, returning for some clothes, I saw the bedraggled wreath that now looked quite pitiful. Feeling sorry for it I picked it up and took it with me not knowing why. Before I left it on the ground outside my door, I removed the dagger. It sat there for about a month, neglected.


When the red willows began to glow, turning that unearthly golden green I decided to use some reeds to add another layer to the wreath. I gathered some, and late one afternoon I sat on the floor at the window and started to thread the willows into the grapevine skeleton. I was delighted to see that a circle was emerging without effort or string! I was re- weaving my world, I suddenly thought with surprise and delight not having a clue what I meant.


When I ran out of reeds I hung the wreath in the living room and every time I passed by it the wreath seemed to remind me that it was a work in progress and that soon I would be weaving some more!


Valentines day dawned and with it came a dark cloud that had been hovering since the day before. I was grieving loss of trust and possibility.


Knowing how important it was to honor my feelings because this was such an important part of self love (if we cannot love ourselves we cannot possibly love others I had learned over the course of my life) Yesterday afternoon I gathered more reeds. Placing them in a vase under the hanging wreath I marveled at the beauty of these willows that grew so straight and true and bent with such grace.


Once again I sat down on the floor and began to weave a third layer of reeds into my wreath. I could still see the places where brown twine peeked through, but at some point I had already decided how important it was to let them be. The original circle had been broken. I needed to witness and stay with that brokenness…


Once again I ran out of reeds and re hung the wreath on the living room wall. This time I felt real satisfaction because the wreath had become thick and strong.


Earlier during the day (before re-weaving for the third time) I had received a beautiful card and a piece of “heartwood” with tiny bones attached to the string from which the wood could be hung. I placed the heart inside the now sturdy hanging wreath and suddenly heard words in my head: “You are re- weaving the world.”*

Thinking this thought to be a form of personal hubris or wishful thinking because I was in an ongoing state of despair over Earth destruction and in particular the lack of desert rain, I ignored the message, finished the third (but probably not final) weaving listening to poet and prophet Bob Dylan’s song “It’s Not Dark Yet But It’s Getting There” feeling both personal and collective grief flowing through me like water.


When I re hung the wreath with it’s new “heartwood” center Bob’s song “You Gotta Serve Somebody” was playing… Oh, he was so right.


Freed from the day’s depression and feeling physically lighter, I had an illumination: By honoring my grief, and acting out this grief by working on my wreath, I was making the choice to love and strengthen my heart self and choosing Life in all its wonder, grief, and complexity.


At the same moment I heard the desert crack and open to the healing balm of falling rain…



In retrospect I think it may be possible that re-weaving one’s own brokenness also may also help the Earth in some unfathomable way.

A Reflection on Love


(Author practices heart shapes for a Valentine’s Day and is struck by the white heart with it’s hole in the center… the Navajo say that it is in these open spaces that the god comes through)


(The Valentine’s Day card and beautiful grained heart shaped wooden heart that Iren, extraordinary artist that she is somehow cut and fashioned into a heart…it is trimmed with bones – just right. Another treasure)


In this land of scarlet sunrises the desert skies are muted on this Valentine’s Day morning. A few shark gray clouds slide by as I watched for the rising sun star to peak through a “hole” in the center of bare trees that lace the horizon. This space seems to hold the sun like a lover on most days. Today its light is diffused.


In the Russian Olive a cloud of Redwings sing love songs, celebrating their love for each other and the coming of spring. They rejoice daily, oblivious to the fact that in this soul destroying culture we celebrate love with a capital “L” with red hearts and flowers for only one day a year. The skeptic looks scornful when I remark mildly to myself that even one day is better than none. But is it?


This year I sneeked over to my neighbors’ studio early this morning to leave a homemade card (yes, it had red hearts) that I hope will express my gratitude for the deep friendship and affection I feel for these two people every single day of my life. The point here is to remind myself that there are authentic reasons to participate in Valentines Day.


For all practical purposes I had given up what I consider to be a day devoted to Collective Sentimentality but this year was an exception. I have found friends in this place who see the Earth with eyes that mirror my own visions in Nature, and this has been a gift beyond all imagining and well worth a red heart celebration.


I cannot afford to be sentimental about human love that even at its best is always conditional (I include myself in this ocean of humanity).


As a child having suffered the ravages of constant criticism, rejection, invisibility, and human cruelty, I turned to Nature to find what I needed. And S/he did not disappoint me.


I found love in my grandmother’s flower gardens swarming with bees and the brilliance of impossible hues, scents that perfumed the sweet Earth leaving my nose in a state of ecstasy. Maybe that’s why my first word was “fower.” The Goddess of Flowers came to me as First Mother, rising out of the sea like a Botticelli Venus.


S/he came on the wings of every white moon and under the hooves of the red deer that grazed under my grandmother’s golden apple tree.


I also found love in the trees that I leaned against, climbed, hugged, even slept in. They whispered love songs as I slept against rough bark.


In retrospect though, it was my relationship with dogs that was the bedrock of my learning about Love. the depth of their capacity for this emotion astonished me. They loved me because I was, when humans turned away. They loved me when I was sad and angry, when joy overflowed, when melancholy struck. They loved me! I couldn’t get beyond the wonder I found in their ability to continue to see me even as I slowly became invisible to myself.


Initially, dogs were probably my most important teachers… As I write these words I look at the two lying here on the bed with me as I write. One, with her bulging coal black eyes peering into my own as she stretches out lazily, four paws in the air, the other dreaming as her tail wags, her precious little body rising and falling with each breath. “My two little girls” I call them as I celebrate each day of our lives together including today!


Dogs throughout my life offered their Love as safety and comfort, freedom from anxiety qualities that I needed to help me survive. But most of all my dogs embodied TRUST, the one quality I must experience to some degree (or the illusion of it) in order to feel affection for any human.


Dogs are predictable – not mercurial – even on bad days. Unlike people, they always mean what they say. Their actions are predicated on what they feel. Not what they think. No room for chess games where people are used as pawns. Even when dogs act out their trickster sides it is never with the intention to harm.


Dogs also opened the door to my becoming a naturalist because it seemed to me as a child that all animals embodied the qualities of “dog” so I wanted to know more about every non-human species that lived on the planet! This obsession remains with me today.


Communication between myself and other species developed quite naturally through my ongoing experiences with birds, skunks, groundhogs, otters, beavers, to name a few (although my conditioning prevented me from believing what I knew to be true for years). Some call this form of communication without words telepathy, I call it an aspect of Love.


When Lily b. a collared dove came into my life as a free flying housebird 27 years ago he read my mind almost from the beginning, cementing my belief in telepathy forever. Today, for example, he bellowed out his song when I wrote about the necessity of trust re-affirming the truth that trust is more essential than any other quality I need to experience the emotion I call love.


Eventually my fascination with animals brought black bears to my door and I have spent the last twenty years of my life as their student. I have learned more and more about communication (verbal, behavioral, and telepathic) grounding my present perspective in “black bear” reality.


There is one wild bear, a namesake, that I reach out to today thanking him for his unconditional love and teaching. That bear, still a sub adult, has survived last fall’s slaughter, I know now, and still dreams beneath a tangle of tree roots somewhere in what is left of a tortured forest above my cabin on a mountain in Maine. I wear a black bear fetish, carved by Zuni artist Stuart Quandelacy with its red Heartline touching the skin around my heart, a concrete reminder of our deep connection through space/time through relationship and our dreaming. If this bear is to survive he must move north soon after emerging from his den this spring, and so I send these words of encouragement his way each and every day.


In my personal life, aside from friends and my love of the Earth and her creatures, and the gift of my own creativity, I experience this day as a time of grieving for all that has been lost. People I loved who died, lost children… and most recently, TRUST in a relationship that was broken, probably irrevocably.


My grief is small but part of the great swell of humanity. Poignancy on this (too often) sentimental collective day of love seems more than appropriate. It feels like reality.




I had no sooner finished this reflection when I opened the door to find a Valentine’s Day card from my beloved neighbor. She always knows…


Thank you Iren for being.

S/he is Always Changing



I am struck with wonder when I contemplate how Nature announces the change of seasons and manifests them in such concrete ways…


February 2, the day the bear emerges to see if he can see his shadow (yes, it is the bear and not groundhog),   the first robin sang his plaintive love song from the Russian Olive tree at dawn, even as a brilliant golden eye rose out of bare trees across the river. A flock of white winged doves arrived cooing for their breakfast while redwings chattered from the highest trees, the males perched highest, trilling that mating song that heralds the coming of spring.


Back further in the hills a cloud of mountain bluebirds, cobalt on the wing, signaled the shift, and the sandhill cranes followed suit announcing their arrival with unearthly cries. The Great Horned owls are silent, their mating season is over and now the focus is on raising their young who are already born and will fledge in less than a month from towering sandstone castles.


I marvel at the peach tree branches that Iren has given me, buds which are already in full bloom. The delicate five petaled pink flowers with filaments of yellow anthers take my breath away!


The twinkling lights in my vase that once accompanied the long winter nights are gone, replaced by red willows that provide stark contrast against pure white walls. Some slender twigs are tinged with pale green, yet another sign of spring. On the desert floor tiny plants like filigree hug the sandy arroyos but are already greening. Cottonwood buds swell.


And yet, with all this glory, there is heartbreak. The windstorms that roar out of the west darkening the skies with hope for precipitation, only to disappear like smoke, leave the parched desert floor even drier than before. A once raging sea green river barely ripples over once sunken stones. I feel thirst driven like the plants and trees around me, feeling their screams in the stillness of dawn. They can survive anything but lack of water.


The ravages of climate change are upon us, and those of us who love the Earth feel our grief growing, a great underground serpent of sorrow…for Water is Life and without it even the hardy junipers with their deep taproots will not be able to stand another year of drought. In some places here even the sage is dying. Fire is an ongoing threat that worsens with each day.


Every moment I can, I remind myself to concentrate on gratitude. This is a survival tool to counter the despair that lurks under this global threat that may eventually engulf us all.


I deliberately align myself with life, planting the first wild seeds of Sacred Datura that I readied during the Blood Moon, Bear Moon or Datura’s Moon (I think of this moon as belonging to all three) on January 31st, marveling over the fact that this tiny speck holds inside its case the DNA that codes for protein, and more mysterious, the form of the plant that will one day emerge to become a stunning bush with purple tinged trumpet like flowers, fragrant beyond imagining.


There is an element of teleology present as each seed taps into its collective memory to grow into its own unique form, (this collective memory is present in all Nature according to Biologist Rupert Sheldrake and all living things tap into their own biological “fields” which are soul – like and surround not just plants but people pulling them into the shapes of who they will become and already are). Between the two, each seed is Nature’s miracle in the making.


Last night, when the skies darkened with potential rain clouds I lit candles and sat at the west window working willow reeds into a grapevine wreath that I struggled in vain to construct at winter solstice. I have been making wreaths since a child so I was deeply distressed that this one even after the vines had a good soaking in hot water never came together. In the end I had to use string to tie the lopsided form.


Because I believe that what is happening inside affects what one creates I finally abandoned the project leaving the skeleton wreath lopsided and broken, but something kept me from throwing it away. I understood that the reality of personal wholeness, as well earth wholeness, the symbol I was consciously working with while making the wreath was being withheld. My life was in fragments and the Earth struggles mightily to survive. I cannot separate one from the other.


Last night when I began to work on the wreath for the second time it seemed to me that the willow reeds wove themselves into the grapevines almost effortlessly and for the first time I felt the wreath taking on her own unique shape. It was a deeply satisfying experience to sit there in a darkening room mending a broken circle though rain never came and spring is on the wing.


This morning I look at my wreath with deep appreciation understanding that this circle is as yet unfinished and that when I am moved again by the spirit and soul of Nature I will weave in more wild reeds. What pleases me the most is the knowledge that I didn’t have to force this wreath into shape, the reeds did the weaving.


Another sunny day stretches out before us here in the high desert. I would like to think that perhaps the next time I work with the reeds rain will come…. I think Earth Wholeness: Fire, Earth, Air and Water.


Once again I remind myself:


The hope I have left comes not from humans, our need to have power over to control and kill, or from our obsession with technology, but from the powers of Nature where the potential for genuine change is a reality mirrored by each of Her Seasons.


That S/he is so critically out of balance should give us pause.

Mourning in Blue



It took you three months to die.


I watched, holding my breath – “hang on” I cried in silent desperation each morning as I touched your leaves – I wept as each a fragile green shoot appeared and withered before my aching eyes. Stunted palm shaped fronds curled, turned gray with the poison in the air as invisible fungus spores settled on insect weakened leaves. I managed to kill the bugs within a week but it was already too late.


Some part of me knew that I was losing you almost from the first day we arrived there, but I couldn’t stay with that truth. I could not help you because I could not help myself. We were both drowning in grief – You became the mirror for the two months of torment that we both endured, the lack of sleep, the weakening of our will, our inability to fight a kind of darkness that became your death shroud…


I had a prophetic dream two days after I arrived. In the vision Iren and I were in a hospital watching a woman die. That woman dear passionflower, was made of plants and human flesh. That woman, of course, was the two of us entwined…


Who can separate a woman from her plant and animal soul?


Maybe when we get out… I would think in desperation as I too became ill.


I had moments of wild hope.


When Grace opened a door for escape we fled.


Perhaps, in this house made of light you might still recover? I mused. You were hanging on by a thread. I brought you into our bedroom hoping to warm dying roots. I saw each new shoot struggle to take form as you tried so desperately to live while I choked on the same prayer. “Oh please grow,” I begged, “I cannot stand to lose you.”


I know one truth. If I could have I would have let you go more gracefully than I did. Decomposing roots and leaves returning to the warming earth to nourish new plants and trees is closing the circle of life.


But I had already lost too much too fast…


And I am human.


Forgive me.


I was selfish, I know.


As the warming light settled on your pitiful trunk, now cut back to it’s only living arm I still hoped, even as I watched bud after bud appear and shrivel until at last, a week ago, there was only one tiny green nub left…


This morning that one bud gave up the ghost of your soul.


The canyon was flooded with mountain bluebirds returning for spring…


All day I circled back to stand over your dead body. I held you close to my heart – imagined you wrapping your beautiful leaves around me – you were part of my family – and I was grieving.


When the cloak of night closed on bleeding crimson sky I picked up your dead trunk and pot and gently placed it outside in the cold night air. It seemed for a moment that even the stars cracked and dimmed over my head, or perhaps it was the tears I shed. A solitary coyote howled down by the river.


You were my sister for thirteen years. Losing you I lost a part of myself that I will not recover. Your bountiful passionate vines that spiraled to the sky and blossomed impossibly fragrant crowns of blue tipped flowers, to my endless child-like delight, have entered deep time. Our joy in each other’s presence has been stilled forever.


I asked Iren for cuttings….


These came from your mother. Last year I gave this plant to her as a gift – (my most precious plant besides you) – in the depths of my gratitude for this woman who has such a great and generous heart.


Perhaps, one day, I will once again see a fragrant pink multi – petaled face with a startling cobalt blue crown appear out of the emerald green of healthy spiraling vines that will begin their lives flourishing in the same house where you once bloomed with such joyful abandon.


Each morning I search for that first root to appear… Be patient I remind myself ruefully. Be patient!


But no other plant will ever replace my love for you, not ever.


When I awakened in the pre-dawn hours this morning I went outside and stood there at the river’s edge watching the sky turn crimson again… my heart was torn in two – and yet from sunset to dawn, the Earth closed round us both.


Postscript one day later:

This morning one of the cuttings I am trying to root developed a small blossom – literally overnight. Although it will not bloom – I know this from experience having rooted so many cuttings for others – it was if the passionflower cutting responded to this writing in the most powerful way she could.

Some would call this synchronicity – I call it interspecies communication and offer my heartfelt gratitude for this message of hope.

The Dreaming Body


(Offering to Avanyu)


Recently, I had a dream that informed me that I needed to peck an image of Avanyu into a canyon wall. I took this to mean that I needed to visit a snake. Avanyu is an ancient Tewa Pueblo Serpent who is pecked into the walls of canyons or overlooks the rivers from high on the mesas. These petroglyphs usually have at least one horned serpent and are accompanied by smaller snakes without a headdress. Some of the images on the mesas show Avanyu spiraling skyward while some that I have seen in the canyons run parallel with the arroyos that are flooded with water during storms. Avanyu is the embodiment of Spirit of the River, the one who brings life – bringing water to the desert.

I “read” these petrogylphs as Avanyu having access to the spirit world, as well as being a manifestation of the body of earth and water, at least for the Tewa Pueblo people. For me every time a snake appears in my dreams something important is trying to be conveyed through my body. After the dream I decided that I needed to make a pilgrimage into an arroyo to visit Avanyu in hopes of having another dream to help me clarify what his presence might mean.

The air was still as I walked deep into the canyon. The sweet pungent scent of sage wafted my way in the early spring sun. Briefly, I noted the large distinctive prints of a puma and the hooves of mule deer. As I made my way through the stony arroyo the light was in my eyes making it difficult to see pictures on canyon walls.

At one point, I entered a little cleft in the canyon, and just below a pinion pine l discovered a pile of bluebird feathers. The sun made the feathers shimmer with an unearthly blue light. I gasped in wonder at this sight. Examining the feathers carefully as I collected them, I concluded that this was not a pinion but a Stellar blue jay because there were black feathers mixed in with the others. And the cobalt blue was almost unbearably intense.

It was starting to get warm and I decided that Avanyu had chosen not to make himself visible to me for whatever reason, although I felt gifted by those feathers, so I began to retrace my steps. And that’s when I saw him pecked into the canyon wall. The petroglyph had been flooded many times and I knew that I was in the presence of an image that was in the process of disappearing into deep time, though I firmly believed that because Nature has memory, the power of his presence would remain. I felt a rush of gratitude. Taking one of the best feathers I had gathered I placed it in a niche in the canyon wall offering Avanyu a gift.

Last night I had a strange dream about a television breaking down. The sound was blocked and I felt enormous frustration. Since I don’t own a television this mechanical device was blocking communication by using silence as a kind of weapon, an emotionally abusive blocking tactic I was familiar with because it’s part of my family history. I think Avanyu was warning me that I needed to let go of trying to understand someone else’s craziness – something that never belonged to me in the first place. Thank you Avanyu.


Working notes:

Not surprisingly, up until the advent of Christianity serpents were always associated with the Life Force and with the body.

In Greece women priestesses dedicated themselves to Artemis and watched over temples where people came to bathe in warm springs to have healing dreams.

In Neolithic Old Europe serpents were always associated with the Great Goddess who also had a bird aspect. Rarely was this Goddess associated with “mother.” In ancient times The Great Goddess of Nature had both a bodily (serpent) and spiritual (bird) aspect because She was One Unto Herself.

I see Avanyu, as a manifestation of both the Spirit of the waters and as the Body of the Earth, both images of undivided Nature.