Tap Into the Therapeutic Power of the Forest

So often on my daily trail saunters, I look at something in nature, anywhere from the sky to the stones and roots, and a simple, single sentence, or just a word or phrase occurs to me and it feels like the perfect fit for the experience, a way to describe or explain it without describing or explaining it, like a poet, I suppose, though I’ve never been a poet and don’t try to be one. I’ve tried writing them down, but the act of doing it seems to dissolve the experience into the ether, and the second I put pen to paper, the words often escape me, like trying to write down the content of a dream. It’s something like losing the true experience of something by focusing attention on taking a photo of it. I see it as a combination of forest nature and my sylvan nature that prompts these moments of unbidden mindfulness. Why should it matter that I write them down or record them or send them to somebody? It doesn’t, and I’m not sure it does me any good to try, distracting myself from the experience. Still, Dr. Ellison’s 30-minute-sit challenge feels like a push from within to let those words get said beyond my little head, along with a profusion of these experiences lately. I’m going to give it a shot, writing down some of them. I’m out there at least 30 minutes every day anyway. Join me in the challenge.

Hiking Research®

By Mark Ellison, Ed.D.

What do you do that gives you energy, that fuels your ability to work and play? Do you have anything? Do you escape from the stress of life to allow your mind, body and spirit to heal?

There are so many benefits to our health from spending time in nature, particularly forests. Research has found that spending time in forests can increase attention capacity and creativity, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system and improve mood.

44693726_10216885191942854_1445662352333602816_n Sunset from the Waterrock Knob Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway (NC)

Are you tapping into the power of the forest as part of your plan to improve your health? It is a key ingredient that could take your health to the next level. It is the multiplier. If you are walking, biking, relaxing in an urban environment, then  you are getting health benefits. If you do the same in…

View original post 163 more words

Aranyaka – Part 2

Aranyaka Part 1 ended with a description of the Hindu goddess Aranyani in Rigveda Book 10 Hymn 146 and my personal look at it.  Here is another interpretation, by a qualified authority:

David Kinsley, author of Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition, wrote:

One hymn of the Rg-veda (10.146) refers to a goddess of the forest, Aranyani.  From this one hymn we get a rather clear picture of the goddess.  She is an elusive figure who vanishes from sight and avoids villages.  She is more often heard than seen.  She speaks through the sounds of the forest, or one may even hear her tinkling bells.  She seems to make her presence known especially at evening, and those who spend the night in the forest sometimes think they hear her scream.  She never kills unless provoked by some murderous enemy.  She is sweetly scented, is mother of all forest things, and provides plenty of food without tilling.

To develop a special relationship with her, create trails!  She has a lot to say about how you do that, and she loves to change them for you.

In Part 1, I said that Aranyani is incarnate as forest; forest is the embodiment of Aranyani.  Maybe this is why she is so seldom depicted in human form by classical artists, unlike so many other deities.

Aranyani, The Hindu Goddess Of Forests by Bijan Pirnia, photo in the San Isabel National Forest, Colorado. Click for the larger source image at Fine Art America.

I was happily surprised to find this work by photographer Bijan Pirnia titled Aranyani, The Hindu Goddess Of Forests, with no anthropomorphic entity in it (that I can find).  It is just forest, the embodiment of Aranyani!

Enjoy browsing terrific forest photos by Bijan Pirnia.  Thank you, Bijan.

Back to making trails with Aranyani …

The following are not pretty pictures, just documentary, to show you one part of the Aranyaka Maze of paths, each a unique experience.  I’m starting with the path into Aranyaka Sanctuary from the west.

– – > Please click to continue reading … XXXX words – – >

Renew the EXPIRED Land and Water Conservation Fund #SaveLWCF

I feel so stupid about this.

I’ve got to pay more careful attention to what goes on in environmental policy and legislation, so I can act on them BEFORE they get ripped up and the funding given to buying more tanks and bombs.  How many people you know will have known about this before Election Day (among those pitiful few who vote)?

Since the national Land and Water Conservation Fund expired on September 30, 2018, this is the moment-by-moment ticker of funding lost to environmental programs all over the USA (this is a static picture of it, not the real ticker):

You can see the real ticker in action on the website of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Coalition.  Here is what their page says:

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is [was] America’s most important program to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the nation.

America’s most important conservation and recreation program, which has saved places in every state and nearly every county in the U.S., expired on September 30, 2018.

The time for action is now.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is [was] in its 53rd year of conservation and recreation success. It is because of Teddy Roosevelt’s vision to start protecting our recreational opportunities, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s instinct for conservation action, John F. Kennedy’s commitment to the outdoors, and Lyndon B. Johnson’s creation of LWCF that we as Americans now have the most extensive network of open spaces in the world to hunt, fish, hike, swim, and play.

In order to build momentum towards finding a long-term solution for authorization and funding, the LWCF Coalition launched a year-long awareness initiative counting down to the expiration of our most important conservation and recreation program.

Over the past year leading up to expiration, each week a state or U.S. territory was highlighted showcasing LWCF success stories from the federal, state, and local level, and opportunities that are on the horizon for LWCF to improve recreational access and conservation across America, and places that could be lost forever if Congress does not act by September 30, 2018.  [The state-by-state info in on the web page.]

#SaveLWCF before the places we love are lost forever

~
[You know the drill.  Call your people in Congress.  Even if they are not “our” people, sometimes they will act like it, instead of acting like they are attacking the USA and everything it stands for.]
~

Body positivity: The latest trend in Shame.

I hope this piece reblogged from author Natalie Swift will break a lot of eggs and make a masterful omelette.

The Midnight Ember

We’ve all come a long way from where we started.

Gone are the days where you see people telling you ‘how you have to look like to be loved’ and that ‘you just starve yourself for a few more days so that you’ll fit into a dress size’.

Today, we’ve truly managed to create something that could have been beautiful: Acceptance. Empowerment. Confidence. Freedom.

But somewhere along the way, we’ve gotten caught up in our heads and gone down the wrong road. A single blunder has changed everything.


People have started asking: if you truly loved your body, why would you want it to change?

That wouldn’t make sense.

A fairly simple, innocent question, really.

But there’s something far more menacing at work here. Shame.

Shame has found itself yet another expression, hiding behind banners that cry out messages of self-love.

All of a sudden, it’s…

View original post 720 more words

Longfellow Deeds’ Beautiful Hiking Companion Girl

“I used to hike a lot through the woods, and I’d always take this girl with me,” said Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, 1936, opposite Jean Arthur’s sneaky, conniving two-faced Mary.  Enjoy the rest of Mr. Deeds’ romantic speech in this one-minute clip.


Alternate Link to this YouTube video.

“Pet trees,” he said.

Right then, in that touching moment, he made an imaginary girl become real, but neither of them knew it.

I’ve done it, and knew it.  We had a good time.  Then she went away and I got another imaginary girl.

Longfellow sounds like a Balsamean-kinda’ guy.

This post is for the laughter it gets in an office 26 miles from here.  If anyone else enjoyed it, get the movie.  It’s fun.

Reflections

Going through some old folders, I found the original set of 2005 Moose Pond Moon photos in a surprise location.  It included a scenery shot that I guess I had written off when the set was put where it belongs under photos/nature/moon.  Turns out it was worth keeping.

[This post has only 706 words, chunks of it in music quotes, and a few minutes for one song performance.]

I don’t think it’s exquisite.  It just has a way of holding my eye that doesn’t make sense.  Maybe there’s something wrong with my eye.

When I remembered the moon in Harry Chapin’s song, Circle, I was glad to have him join the moon song hit parade with this salty-sweet sing-a–long.

– – > Please continue reading – – >

Aranyaka – Part 1

George Gordon Byron

~

“The end of all scribblement is to amuse,
and he certainly succeeds there.”
–Lord Byron, Referring to Sir Walter Scott in a letter to Francis Hodgson, 1810

… even if I’m the only one amused
As I say, I blog for my entertainment.

~

In my Cadivus post, I quoted Natalie Goldberg’s book Wild Mind, where she advised writers to “sink into the big sky and write from there.”  (PDF of the full excerpt.)  In my layman’s rough terms, “big sky” refers to widened awareness and/or a Buddhistic meditation practice called “big sky mind.”

In context, I believe Goldberg is talking about unleashing oneself from the limitations of overly self-critical, self-confining, ego-based/fear-driven, creativity-stifling thinking.  It may also be distorted thinking that is out of harmony with things as they are.

Like me, for instance (to a degree).

Note the subtitle of this blog, Scribblements from Balsamea.  Maybe I should have called it Scribblements of Balsamea, referring not only to these words and pictures, but also to writing myself into Nature here, and herself into my little mind-body machine.  Cadivus is the latest significant example of that reciprocal, wordless writing process.  I’d like to talk about one of the early examples, a place in Balsamea that I named Aranyaka in 2006.

NATURE DOODLE at Aranyaka, 9/24/2007. Click to enlarge.

– – > Please click to continue reading – – >

Moonsuch Imagery

I knew someone in the business of making and selling “fine art nature photography.”  I never saw anything fine in this artist’s work, but didn’t have the heart to say so.

I mentioned that I use my computer to “tweak” my amateur nature photos to improve what I get out of the camera.

She said, “That’s cheating.”

When she saw some of my earliest moon pix, admiring them she said, “Boy, I thought I was the photographer here.”

I said, “I cheat.”

It’s not a photograph.  It’s a wordless expression of me in the way I experience a subject, with the help of a camera and a computer.

Somebody tell Ansel Adams he was cheating when he used an orange filter to shoot his classic, Moon and Half Dome …

Ansel Adams, Moon and Half Dome, 1960, Yosemite National Park.

Cadivus

God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, “Ah!” —Joseph Campbell

… for me, even a fallen tree.

If looking at a tree can be a divine experience, or something transcendent, then what may be revealed or experienced when you spend a few days intimately connecting with every part of a big fallen tree and everything on the ground surrounding it, including clearing away many other trees that it fell on, changing it to a playground shaped from what had been a big obstacle fallen onto and blockading an important trail?  What does that intimacy reveal?

The wind snapped off this big white pine at a point where its trunk had divided and where it became infected with a fungus common among white pines. This “stump” will die and become a tall snag that will stand potentially for decades, and be a great resource to wildlife.

Click to enlarge

View of the closed trail from the south side:

Continue reading

Discover the Unsearchable

Sharing this brilliant piece of work,
with gratitude to the USDA Forest Service.

Alternate YouTube link for this video: Discover the Unsearchable

More videos at the discovertheforest YouTube channel.

See much more at: Discover The Forest Campaign

Continue reading