“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and luggage and chatter.” –John Muir, letter to his wife Louie from Yosemite, July 1888
Arbor Day weekend—sadly for the trees—falls on Easter this year: exactly one century after their truest lover, arboreal-sequoia-spirit, John Muir, born April 21, 1838 Dunbar, Scotland, died (December 24, 1914) of a broken heart in a Los Angeles hospital—a terminal scenario he most feared.
Earth Week for Arborists
Two hundred forty miles north of Dunbar, Trees for Life, a charitable group on a mission to restore Caledonian pine forest in sheep-torn northern Scotland, celebrates its twenty-fifth year of planting this summer. The Scots Government (RCAHMS & Forestry Commission) have been supporting individuals to plant small landholdings of remnant forest-cum-ancient monuments with indigenous trees, since 1988. They also celebrate twenty-five this year.Dorothy Maclean, 94—surviving co-founder of the Findhorn Garden of miracle growth in Moray, Scotland—continues to speak daily to her Muses, her sweet pea Deva, and the Great Spirit. “If we hadn’t tuned into the Nature Devas and listened to their coaxing, we would just have been another meditation group,” she says of the fifty-two-year old Foundation, Center for Intentional Living and Eco-Village, which grew out of the caravan park where she planted her sweet peas. Her quiet stillness continues to inspire her friends and neighbors. The Findhorn Garden thrives.
Findhorn was fertile ground for many Earth-spiritual ideas. David Spangler, Co-Director 1970-1973, founded the Lorian Association, Issaquah, WA where he is Director of Education-Research. His Center for Incarnational Spirituality
focuses on exploring, understanding, and teaching Lorian’s understanding of the emerging spiritual impulse.
Long-time Findhorn trustee and believer in the angelic realms, author William Bloom regularly speaks on self-realization, and encourages living within nature and within one’s own spirit.
Our radiant energy pervades and gives rise to all life. While it may speak to us through plants, Nature spirits or the human beings with whom we share life on this planet, all are reflections of the deeper reality behind and within them. Myth has become reality in the Findhorn Garden, not to present us with a new form of spiritualism, but to offer us a new vision of life, a vision of unity.
Essentially, the Devas and Nature Spirits are aspects of our own selves, guiding us toward our true identity, the Divine Reality within.
The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New vision of Man and nature in Cooperation, by the Findhorn Community; introduction by Sir George Trevelyan, Bt. Turnstone/Wildwood, ©1975
Jim Dodge has been director of creative writing in the English department at Humboldt State University Arcata since 1995. Author of Fup, above, and Stone Junction, he believes like Maclean, Spangler and Bloom, that by surrounding oneself in nature, making it our friend, Nature has ways of teaching us to flow more intuitively, more naturally, as the waves of energy themselves. It is what is taught in all Native American wisdom.
Earth First or Earth Whenever
He thought on it, mulling it with that slow, voluptuous thoroughness that comes with the still life. He paused. ‘Have you not found that hunger becomes most intense near the moment of satisfaction?’
Johnny Seven Moons to Granddaddy Jake in Jim Dodge’s Fup
John Muir would have been happy to see his trees—albeit several foreign imports—receive all this attention. But his first love—wilderness—and our 21st-Century attitude to it, would have him totally confused.
Because this weekend also heralds Spring Break—Brit, Easter Hols—and a sudden switch of fortune for spaceweather-worry-warts from Arctic deepfreeze to Caribbean breathless balmy (courtesy current incoming M-class solar flare, below sidebar right); American teenage tin-soldiers are on the march.Parents in tow, willingly or otherwise, the great Easter adventure is to pit one’s child against Nature, and hope the family comes back in one piece, if not in one tent. Media classes in kayaking and backpacking abound, boyscout-girl-guide firemaking is ‘awesome possum’; endless catalogs touting latest designer all-weather gear, space-age freeze-dried GMO-mush in non-recyclable plastic bombs serve to make vacation roughing it more smooth… or maybe it’s to give Mom relief and a catalog to read, when wet wood spits out the camp fire. School vacations occur, regardless of solar maxima, X-class and M-class flares incoming, internet interruptions, and Chaos Theory.
What currently cool school kids may fail to grasp, in their quest for astral Tesla solar panels, ear-to-ear-sound, and instant palm-top X-box hacking, is that there is no internet on a mountain top; arborophiles and tree sitters hug trees, not cut them down. What their parents may fail to notice is increasing wear and tear on the planet brought on by human indifference.According to Forbes Magazine, ‘Gallup poll reports more than sixty percent Americans believe effect of global warming is happening during their lifetimes, yet only 25% worry about it.’
Local tolerance during full moon madness, combined with Easter, the new growing season and runup to Beltane and Cinco de Mayo, is just too much for some local redwoods residents. They close their gates, get out the shotgun, ask stray campers, their single-parent wildchild wannabes—and their litter—to leave.Meanwhile, Milarch and his research team have been scouring Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park along infamous Tsunami Alley in Northern Humboldt, in search for the last undiscovered sequoia sempervirens.
It will not have helped matters in the ‘real world’ that Wilderness has not been cared for at Muir’s level for several decades, much less in the one hundred twenty years since he and President Roosevelt founded the Sierra Club in 1892—to take care of Mother N where John M left off. Teddy Roosevelt, at Muir’s insistence, brought 430 million acres of land under federal protection during his presidency.voice in the wilderness; Sierra Club used lawyers.
Seen as the first major battle of the environmental movement, it pales by comparison with present treesit, earth-aware group initiatives, and corporate legal wrangling. But for Muir, who had seen his work put an end to ruthless tree-felling, an exploitative timber trade, this betrayal bruised his spirit. On Christmas Eve, 1914—just over a year after Congress authorized the dam’s construction against his wishes—Muir died of pneumonia in southern California.His work was seminal. He inspired generations of naturalists, and brought pioneer spirit, raw enthusiasm and innocence to an American system which has only calcified since his time.
National Parks hit by recent budget cuts made wilderness vacations less fun than fatiguing, more stressful than stretching. So, some public opinion has made inroads, in California, Colorado and Washington at least.
David Milarch admits his search for the ultimate sequoia is a hunt for a trigger to activate his own DNA. He believes the trees have more to teach us than we presently have capacity to learn, but thinks, like Dodge’s immortal Granddaddy, that time is on our side.
There is No Planet B
US Congress antics and current Mercurial media circus make chameleons of all politicians, and so 21stC legislation cannot be depended on for preservation of our Pale Blue Dot, as Carl Sagan affectionately calls home.
Media moguls, bored with political stalemate, seem to have brightened viewers’ choices by reaching for the heavens: coverage of April 15th’s first blood moon total lunar eclipse of 2014, along with juxtaposition of Mars, Jupiter and Mercury in the northern night sky, broke Nielsen ratings for a decade. This means more people may be—unconsciously—influenced by the stars!
When beggars die,
There are no comets seen,
The heavens themselves
Blaze forth the death of princes
Calphurnia to Julius Caesar
Act II Scene 2 William Shakespeare
What they didn’t say—management order not to frighten viewers—is that, energetically, planet earth is still laboring under the aegis of Saturn and Uranus, planets of change, lined up in a Cardinal Grand Cross, which began March 2010 and will not leave us alone until June 2016. This means massive change for society, but also inner change for the individual. Spaceweather and glory of the stars? this is only the beginning.
So-called primitive Man has always looked to the heavens for guidance. He derived comfort in infinite Divine balance of number. Gematria, Judaic name-number of God, reflects supreme balance in Fibonacci Phi spiral that permeates the Universe. In known civilizations of antiquity—China, Babylon, Egypt—arithmetic-number was sacred, as source of all knowledge, a guide to rightful conduct in art, music, affairs of state.
Ancient Science was based like today on number, but whereas it is now used quantitatively in a secular sense, the Ancients saw numbers as symbols of the Universe. They inhabited a living creature of divine fabrication, designed in accordance with reason, and thus, to some extent, comprehensible by the human mind.
John Michell, Dimensions of Paradise, 1988
Comet ISON whet public appetite, current planetary alignments, plus total lunar and annular solar (visible only in Antarctica 4/29) eclipses and Lyrid meteor shower all in one week are a heady mix. Within the vise of a six-year Grand Cross, daily change is beginning to look scary. The streetwise kid knows at gut level what the Ancients knew by precise calculation: Fireworks in the sky means group change—maybe even all change.When solar storms and volcanic activity start to make EarthMama shake, even the masses look to the skies. There are three more total lunar eclipses to complete a tetrad over the next year—encouraging ingénue stargazing—10/8/14; 4/4/15, 9/28/15. Even New Age television seems to be getting stardust in its teeth.
Humans—through Nature—have always thrilled to the presence of the Divine—Muse—in dance, music, water, sound and light. Losing our way in the 21st Century, like those tree people of the past, may not be an option. So, please, would all ’Sixties’ Back-to-the-Land BabyBoomer survivors—or any who sold out to the system and regret—please stand. Along with treesitters in the mold of Julia Butterly Hill, and activists of the ’Noughties, now our flower-power really counts.
This time, it will take all the love we can generate together,
to heal and help each other through.
There is no Planet B.
Now is the time to love our little comfort zone.
WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get.