Archives for posts with tag: nature


Shinrin-yoku. Forest bathing.
I wrote that phrase down several years ago in my silly little book of random lists and thoughts and names. It’s at the top of the page, right before Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Kimmerer. A great idea and a good book (hers, not mine). Maybe it is just a lucky coincidence that I put those together on the page and now I am living in a forest of moss. Still, it feels like more than serendipity to me, it feels like home.





Every day, I check my Word of the Day and more than occasionally, a word seems hand chosen for me. A couple of days ago it was objet trouvét. This wasn’t a term I was familiar with, but once I get comfortable pronouncing it, you can bet I will  be using it. The definition is: a natural or discarded object found by chance and held to have aesthetic value.

Oh yes. You can step into my living space and see my objet trouvét. I’ve got a million of them. Maybe a few too many, and by that I mean they are on every available surface,  but when you live on an island, what are you going to do? Part of my self-imposed job description here is walking the property collecting the “trash or treasure.” And then bringing it indoors and calling it art.




I’m beginning to wonder if my eye for discovering an objet trouvét has made my home look like some kind of weird science museum. Luckily, I know I can always justify all my collecting of bones, rocks and sea life with another word– one for the cabinets of curiosities that started in 16th century Europe–Wunderkammer.



A couple of weeks ago, we took a much needed off island trip to celebrate our anniversary. We packed up the camper and headed over the pass to the Methow Valley. We had visited here years ago, but that was in summer and now in November, it brought back memories of living in Old Snowmass, outside of Aspen.


That would be the good memories of rivers, snow, mountains and aspens. The smell memory of smoke hanging around in the valley, not the smell of working way too many hours at Aspen Magazine in the basement of McDonald’s. Oh, the glamour. But I digress.

We booked our weekend at the Rolling Huts, which are stand alone structures that we read about in Sunset magazine. Smart little things, spartan and well-designed. It really got me longing to design prefab structures for living lightly on the land. Maybe someday.


And it was cold, like needing to keep your hands in your pits so your fingers didn’t go numb kind of cold. Well, definitely for me since I kept having to stop on our hikes and fumble with my lens cap trying to take in all the little details. Not that it bothered Jack, he had no hesitation in jumping in any icy stream.


It felt like a moment frozen in time, so still. A gorgeous frost was on everything and it lasted all day.

Truly, a sparkling couple of days.














The fog kept rolling in, burning off and seeping back in. This is the time of year for foggy days and foggy nights. When I try to capture it with my camera, I’m only able to focus on what is up close— the lens won’t let me focus on the bigger picture. I’m aware of how nature is affecting my mood — I move as if in a fog, slow and not particularly motivated. I am distracted by all the shifting light during the day and restless at night when the ferry, ship and boat horns sound their positions as they move through this.


Living on an island, we expect to see days of fog and delays in getting from here to there by boat. Everything slows down and it seems pointless to try to keep a schedule. Didn’t I just read in Taproot, “fall is a time of turning inward, closing down, cleaning up and putting to bed?” I’d like to think the fog is helping me to live in the moment, to look more closely at the details. Maybe I’m just following my Nature.



Earlier this week, my Word of the Day was gritty and I don’t think I realized that word in all its meanings before. Sure, I get the part about grit and dirt but now I think I would be pretty pleased to be called gritty, that is the part about being “courageously persistent, plucky” and possibly even “having strong qualities of tough uncompromising realism.”

I was thinking about that and wondering, can nature be gritty? I certainly have to take note and admire the persistence in a tough spot factor. Inspiring.



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


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.