Archive for May, 2014

the message of morels

May 3, 2014

Yesterday, a Friday, while everyone else was running around getting tasks completed to make room for a perfect spring weekend, I had my own perfect day:  I was hunting morels.

Despite all the pleasures the beauty of the spring woods and the mystery of morels provide, I didn’t know whether I’d get a chance to enjoy them this year.  Last year, the signs that woods would be changing were unmistakeable:  scores of tulip poplars had been marked in blue paint by the landholder, eager to add a small profit to his bank account.

With too many other elements of my world shifting, I refused to investigate whether the landowner’s logging plans had come true until  2 or 3 weeks ago.  After a long, cold winter, the weather had briefly turned warm and rain had fallen.  But it didn’t take long walking down the path into my beloved forest to see it would take more than warm temperatures and rainfall to coax life out of the soil.  The devastation was more than I could ever have imagined.

The first image that came to mind was a nuclear explosion.  What else could epitomize the utter destruction man was capable of when he was consumed by the lure of profit?  For six years I’d wandered this forest, some weeks on a daily basis, but I couldn’t reconcile what I was seeing with my memory of what had existed.  It wasn’t simply the mature poplars that were missing.  The logging had been completed during the summer, so the forest floor was bare even of the modest covering of last year’s leaves, so necessary in harboring the new spring’s growth.  This wasn’t a thriving ecosystem; this was a parking lot, scoured by earth-moving equipment of wildflowers, of briars, of rotting wood, of life.

That day I walked in a daze through the husk of the forest, crying, apologizing, hating the man who had done this.  Later, conditions for morels perfecting much later than usual, I wasn’t sure I could make myself return.  But on one of the last days of this morel season, I willed myself into the woods, reminding myself that the spirit of the forest, though bowed, could not be broken.  It was enduring, mysterious, beautiful, and healing in ways man could never be.

With a busy schedule, I’ve taken to wearing my watch more often than I should.  But I was happy to forget it yesterday.  Once I got into the woods and cautioned myself not to stare in the abyss of the worst destruction, I let nature talk to me, tease me, delight me.  I let her remind me that we aren’t solely our jobs, our pains, our dissatisfactions, our disappointments.  We are also our pleasures.  I drank the forest’s beauty like a thirsty woman at a well, grateful for this one day that will help me bear the remaining 364 with some semblance, I hope, of wisdom and patience.




May day thought

May 1, 2014

One of my jobs involves downloading orders for prints that celebrate special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, and baptisms.  Full-blown misanthrope that I am, a lot of eye rolling occurs on a daily basis as I read messages sappy enough to make one’s cavities ache.

Yesterday a message for a birth or baptism print came through as follows: “The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.”

Something about it hit me as wrong, but I had too many things to get done that morning to give it more thought.

Later that rainy afternoon, while watching the Berry College bald eagle nest camera, I finally did a full session of qi gong after a long winter of doing nothing.  I think the 9 week old eaglet inspired me.  She’s leaping off branches and stretching her terrific wings as she bounces across the nest.  There was a joyful playfulness to her movements that reminded me of children, but I also realized how important all this activity is for her.  This little eaglet is getting ready for controlling the power of her wings as she takes off and lands, for grabbing her wriggling prey, for sensing the pull of the wind.  Then it hit me: it takes a lot of work to fly.  Only some numbskull who uses the natural world to justify their blindness and HUMAN faith could come up with this statement that erases all of the hard work a bird (or any species) does to stay alive.

Nature has a lot to offer us, including the mystery of otherness.  But until we drop our assumption that the planet and all the other species that live here revolve around us, we’ll be stuck with these outlandish rationalizations that serve to justify our destructive behaviors.

Here’s the link for the the eaglet’s nest cam.  I am a certified eagleholic: