Tag Archives: nature

Toward more of what matters

Bring on Two Thousand Ten.

I started writing this more than a week ago, before it actually was 2010. Just didn’t finish it ’til now, but it means the same now or then.

I’m not making any resolutions this year. No big list of goals. Not even my usual “Not Do” list of things I need to quit. 2010 is the year of the Ingalls. That’s all we need, the things Laura and Pa and the crew had a bunch of:

  1. Lots of time being with family,
  2. Quiet time for reflection, and
  3. Major connection with nature.

This list is really what matters. At the heart, it’s about rethinking our concept of happiness–giving ourselves permission to be together in different ways. Centering our time together around love and conversation; with each other, with ourselves, and with the rest of it. This is my hopeful intention for the new decade upon us.

(Thanks to Bill McKibben’s book Deep Economy for the re-inspiration–just paging through again.)

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Posted by on January 10, 2010 in nature, presencing


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Who Does God Love More?

I could have titled this post “Why Humans Keep on Destroying the Earth,” or “How to Dangerously Inflate a Child’s Ego.” My first grade daughter came home from catechism class a few weeks ago with a freshly done quiz. We always sit down and go through the girls’ worksheets and other hand outs and talk a bit about them–so I know what they’re being taught, and can understand what they are understanding. I often let them know there is more than one way to look at most teachings in the church, and offer more perspective. This time, I cried inside.

If you take a look at Quiz 3 , you’ll see that the lesson must have been all about how much God loves us. This is cool. But when we try to illustrate that point by comparing God’s love between people and the rest of nature, we reinforce a false sense of superiority and separateness. If we are a beautiful part of a whole creation, how can we be sure God loves us more than the flowers or birds or monkeys? After all, we’re the only species needing a savior, right?

What if we weren’t taught from such a young age that we are better, more loved, and more like God, than the rest of creation? How might our view, and our stewardship, of the rest of this Earth be different then? The constant, and I think unfortunate, reminders that we are superior to the rest of it all is a big reason it’s so hard for us to take things like climate change, pollution and destruction of ecosystems seriously. If  we are more important, more worthy of God, then why does the rest really matter? If we are here only temporarily, in a wasteland of sin, just preparing to go to some other place when we die, then who cares about this planet?

And so the story goes…

I wonder if this “place” we call heaven isn’t a place at all. Not some location, somewhere else. I wonder if it is a state of being, a paradise of peace and no more wanting, here in this life, and after. And I wonder how differently we might view and understand our interconnectedness with the rest of creation. What if we aren’t more important? What if we can’t love and praise God more than a flower?

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Posted by on December 6, 2009 in God, nature, universe


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Nudging the Clouds: Blog Action Day 09

Today is Blog Action Day. For one day each year, the folks at invite bloggers everywhere to unite around action on an important topic in the world. Today, there’s nothing more important and scary than climate change. There are crazy big changes coming that will effect the life of everyone on this planet, and much of it was done by us. We didn’t mean to screw things up, we didn’t even realize we were doing it. But now we know, and now we can change.

So, how do we change our behaviors–the way we go about everything–in one big swoop? We can’t. Humans have designed and built a society and life infrastructure that doesn’t work without messing up countless ecosystems, from our own bodies to our backyard to the other side of planet Earth. Reconstructing those social and built norms is like trying to push a cloud with our hands. It would be easier to just say screw it.

That would be normal. After all, despite overwhelming evidence that all those Big Macs and desk jobs and video games and chemical cocktails in our food are killing us, we keep up behaviors that doctors tell us will give us cancer or a heart attack or some other disease. Over and over again. It seems there are only two things that can change that kind of normal behavior: Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 15, 2009 in activism, Food, global warming, Mother Earth


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Birthday Breakup: Bye Bye Ice Shelf (plus a dare for you)

Wilkins Ice Shelf Breaks up on Antractica

Antarctica is breaking up. We’ve all heard about the polar bears near the North Pole losing the ice they hunt on. God knows what’s going on at Santa’s workshop.  Now, on my birthday April 5, a huge piece of the ice shelf on Antarctica shattered into thousands of pieces and began floating, and melting, away.It was called the Wilkins Ice Shelf, and now it’s mostly gone. Forever.

The European Space Agency reports, and shows in pictures, how the over 200-square-mile chunk of ice shattered. Scientists say there is no doubt the break up was caused by climate change (global warming), not the paparazzi photos taken of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on a romantic beach with a stunning young Emporer Penguin just last fall.

Seriously: this is one of eight major ice shelves that are giving way right now near the South Pole. All are being blamed on a steadily warming atmosphere. The weather is changing. Which changes everything. Even if you think humans’ role in creating global warming is hype (yes, all two of you), isn’t it maybe worth it to give some of these things a look? Like most rational people, I believe we’re heating this place with our cars and power plants and ravenous hunger for more and bigger stuff. My fingerprints are all over it too–I’m part of the problem (I drove 30 miles to work today, for example). That’s the thing, no matter how hard environmental groups–and even the President–try, changing the rules will only move the needle a little bit. We have to all get to a point where we recognize our own handprints on all of this. Personal responsibility is the answer. A smart guy I once met said, “If you are not part of the problem, you can never be part of the solution.” (Adam Kahane)

You Get This

Sometimes it’s hard to see those handprints, becuse the problems always seem to first hit somewhere else. Someone else. It’s hard to see how everything–I mean everything–is totally interconnected. But it shouldn’t be. I’d guess that most bartblog readers are at least a bit the spiritual type. Maybe you’re a christian, maybe you’re tuned in to some other form of the great spirit at the center of it all. Either way, it’s not such a leap to think about this whole Earth–all of creation–being hitched together in ways we don’t begin to understand. If you believe, like I do, that it’s all from one Source.

I Dare You

So, here’s my challenge for you. Spend an hour in nature, by yourself, in the next week. No book, no ipod, no texting. Just you and the trees and spring flowers and grass and critters. Just get out there, spend some time in the quiet wild, just contemplating nature. I beleive that’s the doorway to a more clear understanding of this global warming/love the Earth kind of thing. And a whole lot of other things. Please try it. The worst that could happen is you spend an hour in a calm, beautiful place, and you can go back to living and being just the way you did before.

Let us all know how it goes for you…


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Always a Tree Hugger

See, I’ve always been a little weird (I prefer to say ‘in tune with the rest of nature’). This weekend Mom found these magazines I stashed in the closet as a kid. They’re dated in 1982 and 1983. I was 5 or 6 years old.

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In case you can’t read it, the magazines’ tag lines are “Dedicated to the wise use of the Earth’s resources” and “Dedicated to improving the quality of our environment.” So, not exactly the way I would describe my values today, but the roots are evident. Thanks for giving them back to me Mom–it’s fun to look through ’em, and give them to my kids.

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Posted by on November 19, 2008 in going green


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My Water Bottle (plus photos from my hike)

So, in that last post about dumping bottled water, I forgot to show you my reusable water bottle. It’s an aluminum bottle from SIGG, and I take it with me pretty much everywhere (it has a ocuple dents to prove it).

Here’s a shot of my SIGG, hanging over the litter I picked up on my hike this morning at Lake Vermillion (pics from the hike are below and on Flickr).

Please take the pledge to stop drinking bottled water.

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Posted by on October 19, 2008 in going green, hiking


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average poems

A long time ago I decided to start sharing a bit of my poetry here and there on this blog. Then I didn’t. I think I’ve only thrown one poem up here in three years. I write little ditties mostly when I’m hiking, so they are inspired by what I see and come to know out there. Some is haiku, some isn’t. It’s all in one of the journals I tote around with me most all of the time. Here’s a little peek from a couple recent hikes (but the rest is off limits–I’m kind of a 12-year-old girl like that).

From a hike near Lake Vermillion this spring:

Baby Whitetail's foot
lies lonely on the trail
Spring can bring death too


Tiny see-through wings
Delicate and left behind
She flies no more


Long to climb her limbs
Pine cone hangs out of reach
Fear keeps me on the ground


Studying a Dragonfly on a Blade of Grass

Dragonfly hangs from a blade,
a business shingle from the grass,
ignoring Newton's gravity.

Sky blue beauty,
long tail and wings,
six legs cling to everything.

A broam blade banquet,
or break from the wind?
Floats away without an answer.


Infant Cedar in the Grass

Baby tree so soft and small,
looks more like a fern.
Hiding 'neath the grass so tall,
tower when you get your turn.


(Reflections on a recent meditation...)

True life flows in me
Time is gone, just one with source
Living in right now



Beckons me to see
Not to go or come or do
to be in and of


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Posted by on July 12, 2008 in God, Mother Earth, poetry, universe


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