Friday, October 17, 2014


What started out looking like a disappointing and lonely weekend turned, at the outset, with a deliberate change of perspective.  After cancellations and some unaccepted, spontaneous invites to come to Prairie Pond Woods, I found myself standing at the familiar trailhead my inner critic like to takes me down when I'm tired or confused or discouraged.  
It begins to whisper bitter nothings in my ear like, "You're odd, Cindy, and no one can relate to you."  "You're too opinionated and direct." "No one wants what you have to offer."  We all have that inner voice at vulnerable times, and that's what mine says. 

So after lamenting the fact that I had no one to share this lovely time of the year with, in this lovely place, I decided to offer its beauty and its creative opportunities to...myself.  I suddenly realized I didn't have to chop up veggies, or clean up where I just chopped veggies or be "on," I could just enjoy the weekend instead of work the weekend. So I made a list of all the creative projects lying-in-wait around here and decided I would complete at least one.
 I grabbed my camera and went up into the woods to walk off-trail in places I don't usually wander. I set out a book I would like to complete reading and then read for an hour. I wrote a poem sitting in the woods. I decided to blog about this experience and maybe each day the rest of the weekend. I reacquainted myself with the person that says, "I like to blog/create/write and would like to do it more often."

And that's just Friday afternoon!  At some point on Saturday or Sunday, I will sit down with my present and future calendars, maybe by the fireplace after the cold front blows in, and engage with my own planned retreat program.  I will thoughtfully go through each season and decide what needs to be different next year...and take it off the calendar or pencil it in. I will assess what gave me energy last year and what sucked the life out of me. I will ask what joy each month brings and give focus to that very thing by making plans, reservations, preparations, etc.  I will mark down every birthday, anniversary, holiday, conference,
full moon, meteor shower or other astrological event and give creative thought on how I could celebrate or honor them, or use them as prompts to put intention back in to my life. I won't do it perfectly, but it's a plan.

And then I'll go plant bulbs in preparation for Spring.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014


It’s October and we are in the season of loss. Tree leaves are losing their chlorophyll, revealing the yellow, orange, red and purple pigments that were hidden all summer. Because of this they are losing their ability to make food, and the trees eventually lose those very leaves to become a rustling ground-cover. 

Other plants lose their seeds to the wind or their fruits to foraging creatures. The last-blooming asters are beginning to lose their purple, white and lavender petals to the ground. Birds are losing daylight and the resources so abundant in spring. Males lose the brightness of their attractive plumage. They leave behind the habitats they return to each year, as they head south for the winter. Some of us grieve the temporary loss of those feathered friends.

All life is losing the warmth of the summer days and nights. As humans, we lose our freedom to just walk outside, without the thought of coats and hats and road conditions. Some even experience their teams losing the race to the World Series or Superbowl.  Autumn is part of the ancient cycle of losing what was, until it comes back again in spring.

Several days ago I sat outside in the chilly air and talked with an 80-year old woman. In the only way she knows how, this woman fights to save a forest from what she feels are the devastating losses of clear-cutting by state loggers. The powers that be tell her it will all come back...and maybe it will...but at what cost and when? She asks why they want to take the chance of losing so much diversity.  After talking with her awhile, I could sense she knows she has lost her voice for the wilderness. Not only does she know it's lost because of her lack of social media saavy (she writes letters to the editor on a typewriter), but she feels it has been drowned out by the heightened voices of consumerism and power.  

And though I tried to encourage her, I had to admit that I saw myself in her. I saw the prophet in her. I know others have a hard time relating to her because her talk is too negative and her goal is too pure and beautiful for reasoned people to go along with. It is the dichotomy of the prophet and the very thing that used to get them stoned or even killed. She believes there are things too wondrous to compromise on. She sees the delicate balances and tries to live within them. She longs for others to see them and live them, too. And she is filled with lamentations that spill out.

She is also aware she is losing time here on earth and expressed her frustration that the forests may continue to be cut down, burned down and “fracked” after she is gone because the battle is so one-sided with funding and warriors. Though she would never say it, it was clear to me she is brokenhearted. I was at a loss for words and didn’t know how to respond.

But this is part of my response now.  Almost every prophet begins their call to change with the directive, hear or listen, which carries with it the deeper meaning to “take to heart.”  Half the battle in winning a battle is just to understand the battle.  So, as a favor to my friend, who at 80 years old is discouraged about OUR future quality of life on earth, look deeper into an environmental issue that resonates with you. Then do what you can. 

If you love the water, the mountains, the animals, the forests, growing or purchasing healthy food, do a little more to preserve them or make them healthier. Call someone in Congress or at the State House. Plant a butterfly garden. Protest. Volunteer at a park or preserve. Teach your children well.

Or just do what a friend of mine did this morning, as she frantically got her grandkids off to pre-school; STOP the car on a country road and listen to the birds and the rain hitting the roof. Perhaps it will be the “spark moment” that takes one of those little girls down the path to becoming our next great conservationist. Let’s make sure that generation can’t accuse us of knowing what we had...and losing it anyway...because not everything that's lost comes back around again.