Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home for the Holidays

For five short days we were all together once again, my older son having traveled from DC to come spend some time with us over the holidays. The time went too quickly. While we did have lots of fun visiting with friends from out of town, hosting a board game playing soup party, and attending a birthday party while he was here, it seems there is never enough time to do it all and before you know it, the adult son you so warmly welcomed at the train station just days before is being taken back to that same station and sent on his way.

Where did the time go? I had that same feeling as I sat gathering my special holiday napkins from the cupboard near the Yule tree when I happened to glance up at the tree and notice a handmade ornament made by my son dated December 1992. It only took me a few seconds to compute that the ornament had been made 20 years ago. It took me much longer to comprehend how 20 years had flown by in the space of what felt like just months. Where had the time gone? I began to cry thinking about how fast time goes and how it feels almost impossible to savor time enough. To slow it down and really enjoy it and know it and feel it.

Given how precious time is, I have begun to think more seriously around how I desire to spend my days and have come up with some changes I'd like to make as I move into the new year. They involve embracing yoga, meditating, writing, drawing, reading, walking a local labyrinth, eating well, journaling, spending more time in the woods and with friends and family.

My oldest son left today, my youngest leaves tomorrow for San Francisco to visit a friend. I'll have about a week to put my plans for myself into motion. Not too much time, but enough I hope to embrace a new way of being.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter Walk

I love getting outside this time of year and with a bit of snow falling from the sky, my husband and I headed out to walk along Crum Creek with our pup Dakota. The creek is about a 15 minute stroll from our house but we enjoyed taking many detours to give our pup a chance to run off leash. After letting her tear across the local school yard, a soccer field and the college campus, we entered the woods along the creek and settled into enjoying nature's beauty as the snow changed over to heavy rain.

I've been reading a book by Theodore Roszak called "The Voice of the Earth - An Exploration of Ecopsychology" and am finding myself getting incredibly drawn into it. The book speaks to me on many levels and I find myself contemplating it as I take in the sounds of the forest with the wind in the trees and the rain splashing upon rocks. Enjoying the music of Roszak's words and those of the forest- can't think of a better way to spend a day.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Continuing my research this morning. Found an interesting article on Ecology and Spirituality shown below:

Vanderbilt University started a three year program to look into how religion and culture impacts nature.

This got me thinking about a college degree in Ecospirituality and I found something at Naropa University on Ecopsychology and linked the webpage below. Bear with me as I do this investigating. Finding my calling...

Off I go to take my son rock climbing. Will have to resume this thinking later...

Faith and Ecology

Been thinking about what class I am going to offer at my UU church this fall in the area of environmental justice. Spent some time on the UU Ministry for Earth website and came across a few interesting directions. First of all, I discovered that a woman named Barbara Ford is offering workshops called Gaia Workshops which are very similar to those that  Joanna Macy runs. Barbara's website can be found at:

Also discovered a new curriculum on environmental justice called "Our Place in the Web" which looks incredibly interesting and one I'd like to check into. Further information can be found at:

Lastly, the UU Ministry for Earth site has a great reference book called "Earth and Spirit, Bringing Ecology into Adult Religious Education" which can be ordered from the site below. This guide offers a sample curriculum for adult RE which looks interesting.

The UU Ministry for Earth site can be found here:

Will spend some time tomorrow working on the direction I'd like to go with this for the fall semester. Looking forward to where this will take me.

With a bit more research, I found another fascinating website I will need to check out. Not enough time in the day to pursue what interests me.

David Korten's website:

Discussion Guide info for David Korten's book, "The Great Turning"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Active Hope

Attended my second Heart & Soul meeting, a subcommittee of Transition Town Media, and loved the thoughtful introspection offered by everyone there. We are reading and discussing Joanna Macy's book Active Hope which talks about ways to face the destruction that is facing the planet and how to go forth into the world and work toward changing harmful habits. At one point in the meeting, I talked about my lack of hope for the planet, that I thought we just didn't have time to turn things around. That too much damage had taken place to right things. After I spoke, a man spoke of a video clip he had seen which offered hope against all odds that humanity is on the right track. This video clip can be found at the link below and is well worth the five minutes it takes to watch it. It convinced me that rather than face our struggles with doom and gloom, lets face them with hope. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Perfect Day to Hang Out...

Have been hanging my wash outside ever since the deck and pergola were added to the back of my house, replacing the dangerous, decayed deck we inherited when we bought our house a year ago. I love being able to once again enjoy the fresh smell of clothes hung outdoors and it somehow fortifies my soul. The repetitive act of pulling a wet shirt from the basket then pinning it to the line over and over again is meditative and allows me to slow down and be in the moment. I haven't had many "moments" to slow down this summer and I welcome the opportunity to do so. I am interested in starting a serious meditation practice before the hustle and bustle of fall heads my way and this may be the gateway to get me started.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Stroll...

Just before I headed up to the Co-op to pick up some things for dinner, I got notice that a book I had ordered from the library for my monthly book club had arrived. So I leashed up Dakota and headed out, making a slight detour over to the library before continuing on. Dakota loves these outings as much as I do as we both usually bump into someone we know. Today, we both benefited as we ran into a friend from our morning dog club, Dakota greeting her friend with a quick tussle and I engaging in conversation with mine. 

Walking home, I couldn't help but notice the various bird calls in the many mature trees arching over my route, serving as background music constantly playing. The sound of the creek flowing along in its banks became an accompaniment as I rounded the last turn toward home. But just before heading up our drive to the comforts of home, Twilight, the gray cat down the street, strolled toward Dakota, beckoning her to come closer so she could bare her teeth and take a swat at her. Reminding me that not everything is friendly in small towns.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rooting Plants and People

Finished planting the last of my herb garden this week. Herbs collected from many sources. The Swarthmore Co-op, Media Farmer's Market, Swarthmore Farmer's Market, and Home Depot of all places. A collection of mostly locally grown plants which should acclimate quickly and then a few from far away, arriving in a new land to try and survive and make a life, reaching roots into soil that at times feels very unfamiliar. A rocky road at times, this navigating of new substrate, but with lots of support the journey is made easier.

I've offered support to another type of transplant this year as I participated in the Coming of Age program at my church by mentoring a 15 year old girl in her rite of passage from childhood to youth. This girl, newly arrived last fall from Illinois with her family is slowly transferring her roots from her old residence to here. Where at one time all I heard in her voice was a longing for her home in Illinois, I am now starting to hear her speak of connections being made here. It takes time, this transference of roots, finding new ways to get nourishment in new soils. But like plants, soon enough, we begin to get established, reach new heights and find the sun.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blue Sky Morning...

Sitting on my front deck this morning, coffee in hand, listening to the birds singing, voices of my neighbors visiting.

The bright blue sky greeted me on this day as I stepped outside with my pup to head over to dog club to meet up with other dog owners, letting our dogs romp while we visited. Its about a half mile walk each way so by the time I get home, I've had a bit of exercise as has Dakota.

Some mornings I stop by the co-op to pick up breakfast items and this morning was no exception, grabbing bananas and yogurt while Dakota sat outside hitched to a railing.

I am noticing the many vegetable and flower gardens here in the borough really starting to come on and with our local farmer's market starting up tomorrow, I know summer is just around the corner.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Living in Place...

I've changed the name of my blog to reflect my desire to live in my place- along Crum Creek. To draw a much smaller circle around where I live and attempt to stay within the confines of that place, choosing to spend as much time as possible on foot doing my daily errands versus hopping in the car. Granted, I do have to get in a vehicle for my twice weekly trips over to my son's educational center, attend church, and visit with friends out of reach of public transportation, but there are many, many days where my car never leaves the driveway.

This choice to live in place allows the rhythm of my days to unfold at a very slow pace but I find this gives me an opportunity to make deeper connections with those I come in contact with. Gives me an chance to notice things about my surroundings that I would never notice by car. Allows me to slow my days down and just be.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Gazing across an open marsh not too far from my home near Philadelphia, I find the sights and smells I discover today as a middle aged woman transport me back to my native Michigan as a young child of eight. That day my youngest brother was in tow, as we tried to figure out a way to traverse the mushy, wet ground of our childhood marsh, trying to get ever closer to the elusive open water. Our feet sinking into the muck, our shoes at risk of disappearing for good. We never did reach the open water on that particular day, but one time after that, my brothers, a rubber raft in hand, were able to navigate through the tall reeds and cattails to launch their boat upon the water. I can still see them today in my mind's eye, out there floating along, triumphant over their success. This marsh my eyes rest upon today, with the sound of bird calls, the wind rustling amongst the grass, brings back all of those memories, the connection to marshland made many years ago as a child.  Causing me to understand that connections to where I currently live are made not only in the here and now, but also from a place deep within me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Break

My dog barked at the waves crashing up onto the beach as she rushed at them this morning. This morning, her first time experiencing the ocean. Digging in the sand and at times eating it, splashing at the water's edge, pulling me into the cold icy grip of the still-winter-temperature waters. This was in fact the ocean off Delaware we were wading into - not the warm Florida waters most spring break revelers typically flock to - so our legs and toes were a bit chilled, but thankfully at least, our thoughts were warmed by the beauty all around us.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Living in Community with Others...

Went the round-about way to the doggie playgroup this morning. Through Little Crum Creek Park and up along Yale Avenue, then over to the schoolyard to meet up with Ella and Ilsa, Buttercup and Lola, just a few of the many dogs gathered, all friends of Dakota's ready to romp and run, chasing after balls and each other. Gleefully welcoming this feeling-like-spring morning. I feel fortunate to have found this group, both for myself and my pup. Starting each day in community with other dog lovers, discussing the events of our lives and the life of our borough, as we watch our dogs circle around and around us.

It really is nice to start each day with others for it is a precursor to how my day unfolds. More and more I find myself spending time amongst people of similar interests and less time alone with myself. Of course this means I have less quiet time to think or blog but I love the feeling of being in community and as long as we are spending time doing things I enjoy, then it works perfectly. For instance, I love to read books about nature, so participating in the arboretum's book club where we read nature orientated books is a good fit. So is working on Adult Faith Development with my church where I have been running nature focused discussion groups. Being with others in this way offers support to me and who I am. Rather than think I need to find more alone time to focus on my interests, I am beginning to think of more ways to work with people who quickly become friends in areas that are of interest to me.

Of course I still need alone time, just not as much of it. The loneliness of thinking I was the only one that loved walking in the woods studying nature, has given way to forming friendships around this idea. The desire to study nature based spirituality, typically a solo endeavor for me, has given way to discovering others on this same path. Early on in my son's homeschooling journey I discovered the need for meeting people that also participated in self-directed learning for their children, and have always had many friends that homeschool in this way, but now I am beginning to find friends to share the journey with in not only the homeschool world but in almost all aspects of my life. What is happening I think is that I am slowly discovering I don't have to be alone to pursue my many passions, I just have to put myself out there in order to find others like myself. Life spent with others in community can be so incredibly satisfying, encouraging me to find a way to find balance between alone time and people time.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter Sunrise...

The snow overnight greeted me this morning. White and fresh, beckoning me outside and down to a nearby park, my pup in tow. It has been a long time coming, this snow with me outside enjoying it, noticing it. I have been distracted lately. Spending time at book clubs, woman's spirituality groups, my son's educational center, doggie playgroups, and my UU church. Being more in community with people than nature. While I have loved this opportunity to be with people and form a sense of belonging for myself, I have missed the natural world.

The world of nature with the sun rising up from the horizon, bringing forth light to an otherwise gray day. Reminding me, calling to me to rejoin what I have have stepped away from for the last month. Calling me back to my passion...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

As the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge forms a buffer between dry land and open ocean, influenced by tides but containing very little salt. The refuges almost 1,000 acres is a vital feeding and resting place for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway and also provides habitats for lots of varied wildlife.

With a view of the city of Philadelphia from the marsh and the sounds of traffic on I-95 well within earshot, it can be difficult to feel one has gotten away from the rush of the city and enveloped in the hush of nature. But despite the fact that I found myself distracted by the sounds of man during my visit there today, the view of the marsh and the waterfowl were spectacular, and went a long way toward erasing any distractions I had due to noise.

While the refuge contains an educational center, the main attraction is the boardwalk and observation platforms that allows one to get out onto the water and able to come in closer contact with the birds and other wildlife of the area. There are also many trails that are available for walking and biking.

My husband and I walked the entire perimeter of the main marsh which took us about an hour and 1/2, including stops. On this beautiful 60 degree January day, we came across many fellow hikers, and like us, many had their dogs in tow. While we did see a group of seagulls and a blue heron at the marsh today, I look forward to returning in May when all of the migrating birds on their northward journey pass through.

If you would like additional information on the refuge, please click here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Losing yourself in Crum Creek Woods...

Tucked just behind Swarthmore college lies a beautiful tract of land, running alongside Crum Creek. A small parcel of land really, hard to get lost in but a perfect place to get lost if you choose to.

My dog likes to run along the hills or splash in the creek, losing her mind as she rushes about reveling in the freedom to investigate as she pleases.

My son likes to rock climb here or simply spend time reading, losing himself in a story.

Hiking these trails I discover that losing myself in nature may be the best way to find myself. Let the beauty of the natural world bring you peace in the New Year!