Archives for the month of: January, 2014

IMG_0617

It seems that lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother. This week marks a year that she has been gone and so not surprisingly, I am flooded with memories of her and of my childhood.

I’m appreciating just how great my childhood really was. Not only did my mom spoil me, and more than a little, if you ask my older siblings, but I had the opportunity of growing up in a time when kids had the freedom to spend endless hours outside. And, I lived in a neighborhood with plenty to explore. Not only my own backyard where I learned the names of flowers and to garden, but in a neighborhood where I could walk or ride my bike to lakes, a ravine, swamps, fields, woods and swale. No wonder I feel so much better when I can get out and dig or hike or swim. Thank you mom.

After spending time with my mother as she required revolving hospital, rehabilitation and finally an assisted living facility for dementia, I realized that all these healthcare facilities were depressingly removed from nature. It got me thinking and so my mother’s declining health motivated me to move across the country (yet again) and get certified in Therapeutic Healing Landscape Design.

The first class writing assignment: describe your strongest experience with nature. Interestingly enough, the majority of people in the class, including me, chose positive childhood experiences in nature. A place. And in all the stories, the experiences were about discovery and freedom and play. There were fantastic stories of smells and sights and powerful feelings. There were no fond stories about playgrounds or organized sports. No one wrote of supervision of any kind. I wonder, would a kid today have this same kind of experience to tell, to be able to explore on their own? In my story, I wrote, “I am the master of my domain.”

This past summer, our friends visited us on the island with their two daughters. We had just returned home from a trip back to Michigan for my mother’s memorial. Both my husband and I were exhausted, and I was definitely, and completely, a wreck. Sometimes, it is just plain hard to get From There (the airport) to the car to the ferry to the car to the boat To Here.

We all made it to the island and in the next few days, I watched those girls exploring and collecting and fishing and simply playing. Seeing them, made me remember what an impression a swamp in Michigan made on me in the fourth grade. My heart felt so good and so big and so happy. Nature heals.

Kate, the master of her domain

Kate, the master of her domain

Advertisements

DSCN0119

I hadn’t seen the deer around here lately, but Jack The Dog is on the case now and following his nose. I’m a bit envious of his keen sense of smell, even more jealous of his high speed tracking energy. I seem only to be able to rely on my sense of sight and so have to practice a little patience waiting for my reward. Patience is fine, but of course, it helps that these three deer act like they own the place and wander down the path in full view this morning. Sorry Jack, you missed the trio.

DSCN0129

DSCN0130

DSCN0037

Found: 1/11/2014. 9:17 A.M.

DSCN2094

Last week, our fallen bald eaglet was released to the great wild. Oh, to be a proud guardian. We found the boy on the ground below his nest way back in June. After contacting Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, we were told to keep an eye on him for a couple of days and to check if the parents were feeding him. Not to be judgmental, but our resident eagles, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, were concerned only with the eaglet sibling remaining in the nest. So out came Wolf Hollow to the rescue.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (bald eagles are a bit like cold-blooded assassins) watched silently and with cool detachment as the eaglet was scooped up and taken off the island. The eaglet, later named Artemis, was kept at Wolf Hollow to hone his instincts, learning to fly and hunt. I suppose he came to realize he has power in those impressive talons.

DSCN2091

Two days after his January release on the Skagit River, I looked up to see a juvenile bald eagle circling over my head. I suppose it could have been any eagle, or maybe it was the sibling who did learn to take flight from the nest. But I am feeling in my heart that it was Artemis and he made the visit home.

eaglet