Earth Song: Emerging Spring

Western Skunk Cabbage - photo
Western Skunk Cabbage – photo by Jane Valencia

Spring is awakening … in the tiny reddish buds on the Silver Birch, the bright faces of Daffodil and Dandelion, in the return of the Rufous Hummingbird with the first pink blossoms of Salmonberry, in the mysterious and murky spathes of the Skunk Cabbage in the wetlands.

Spring suffuses the air — lengthening  the days, and invoking the renewal of exuberant and anguished egg-laying by our hens. It infuses our vital force, and we too may feel a budding and greening, the surge of sap rising — pulled upward  by way, as with the trees, of the crown of ourselves. — drawing forth the minerals and waters from our saturated winter-fed subconscious, and nourishing our fancies and wishes, plans and motions with the sweet and potent brew of life.

Here in the Pacific Northwest the persistent rains, and soaked fields, forest, and pathways remind me that we humans are of the waters and the earth. Fluids move through us, a constant interchange of absorption and release of various aspects of earth and air. We are sparked and fueled by the fire of life, and awash with the streams, rivers, tides, and tranquil ponds that communicate within us our ocean nature. We possess greening, leafing selves, pulled upward even as we root downward and and outward in our daily quest for essential nourishment to sustain our spirit and selves.

Bright stars of thought and imagination, the deep inner mystery of our own genetic coding, and the unending, surrounding, and inner flowering breath of the Divine urge us to reach in ways that enliven the deepest threads of our being. The successive layers of our own wood nature — our progression and story through the years — sculpt our resilience and strengthen our resolve as we respond to the changes, stresses, and wonders that is life on our blue-green world and with one another.

If you are alive, you are always listening and responding. Your trillion cells listen and respond, as does your very soul. The earth song that shapes and shifts the world around and within us is a music that every aspect of us knows, and an improvisation and composition within which each of us has a voice.

Who are you when nature and you know no boundaries, when one flows into the other and you recognize yourself in the garden, and the forest within your heart? When the Divine is soil and the soil is music? What is the earth song you express into being just by being yourself rooting and growing, leafing and flowering nourished by the very soul of your nature?

I invite you to share your musings below.

Welcome to Spring!

When an Island Tells a Story

Vashon Island Artwork
Art by Irene Otis and Chris Barnes

Story is big on my mind after performing in a remarkable project, Heart of Vashon: Telling our Story. The performance reading was one part of a community project exploring what matters to islanders about living on Vashon-Maury. Why do we choose to make our home here? What is it that makes living here special? Over 150 people responded to the call for submissions, and a script was woven together from selections and excerpts of what Islanders wrote. An intergenerational cast of readers (of which I was one) shared poems, reflections and stories that created a moving, humorous and thoughtful tapestry of Island life.

The performance was rich and fun. I was surprised at the laughter we got straight off, as islanders recognized and appreciated the trials, quirks, and beautiful things that make this place and community unique. It was fun hearing later from audience members that “my wife wrote about the pigs” or “those two lines were mine.”

Even more, it was fun to hear the knowing in the laughter, the moving words expressed by audience members in response to hearing their neighbors’ tales and thoughts, and to share in the experience of Vashon and our community in this vibrant way. Whether audience members had contributed writings or not, everyone present (as well as each islander past and present anywhere!) was part of the story. As a physical and spiritual geography, the island itself was at the heart of it.

A geography tells a story. The people who dwell within it live a story. What story of earth and culture/tribe/village speak in yours?

These questions are variations on what I asked in my previous post,  Discover the Earth of Your Story. For a chance to win a ticket to the Vashon Wilderness Program Storytelling Festival or a copy of my book, Because of the Red Fox, leave a comment here in response to anything that might come to mind and heart regarding the notion of geographical story.

Click here for full details regarding the Giveaway.

Discover the Earth of Your Story

Greetings to you, here in the heart of Winter.

With the holidays past, we settle in to the opening of the new year, and curiosity about what may arise for us in this next passage around the sun.

The heart of winter is about looking into our own hearts, plunging our hands into the earth of our past, and pausing a moment to turn toward the fire of our future — searching for a glimpse of the new story waiting to birth.

We as human beings are a Story People.

Stories of the Earth - photo
Stories from the Earth – photo art by Jane Valencia

It is in the earth of our nature that we tell stories — of our day, of our meetings and partings, of our lives, of our planet, of our dreams, our visions, our loves, and so much more. When you converse with a loved one, you are telling a story. When you chat beside vegetables at the supermarket, you are telling a story.

We share information, wisdom, perceptions, creative thought, our sorrows and our laughter by way of stories. Our stories themselves emerge, not just from our human engagements, but from the shifting of weather, the movement of the stars, the raccoon scampering across the street, from the plants we eat, and the earth that lies beneath our concrete and supports our every step, our whole lives, really.

If we consider humans to be natural storytellers, we must extend our story-making and story-weaving to include ecologies — the ecology of our human “villages” and tribes, the ecology of our local landscape, the ecology of our physical bodies, the ecology of the unseen. So much enters a story to direct a perception, shift a word, nudge a conviction into place. When we rest into our words, or into the stories our bodies tell one another in the form of gesture, movement, expression, or energetic presence, we engage with the entire universe.

New Shoot photo
New Shoot – photo by Jane Valencia

We humans aren’t the only ones telling stories. The trail of the deer across the field tells a story. The rising and setting of the sun and moon tells stories. The skinny roots of the horizontal red huckleberry grasping at the deteriorating red cedar stump tells a story. The shifting of the earth, her inhale and exhale, tell a story. We step into it, breathe into it, live into it every single day and night of our lives.

If ever you feel alone, turn to something — to anything (a rock, your laptop, the clouds, the air on your hand, the beating of your heart, the blood in your veins). Feel its story speak into you, and tell it your own. The world is a lively place. She lives around and within you, and she is listening.

How have you told stories today? How, today, has the world lived a story into you?

Muse on these questions and leave a comment here to have a chance to win a free ticket Vashon Wilderness Storytelling Festival or (if you live elsewhere than Vashon) a copy of my children’s fantasy novel, Because of the Red Fox.

Read details about the Giveaway here!