NHGS and Being One With Everything

If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet,
you’ll come to understand that you’re connected to everything.
–Alan watts

This is true.  However, it need not be a far, far forest.  It can be near.  In fact, it can be your backyard.

It reminds me of the joke where the Dalai Lama goes to a hot dog street vendor and says, “Make me one with everything.”

This photo was manipulated to resolve trouble with the output of the old 35mm film camera that shot this about 17 years ago, in not enough light as the sun was slipping away from the woods, but it is still true to the original, with perhaps an artsy touch.

I have always called it, “Reincarnation of a Birch,” but this fungus decoration is only one phase of the new world that will be created from this old gray birch stump.

It was in the campground at Taylor Pond, part of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest state land complex, which includes Taylor Pond Wild Forest, Terry Mountain State Forest, Burnt Hill State Forest and the Franklin Falls, Shell Rock and Black Brook Conservation Easement Tracts, a handful of my nearby nature immersion areas within 20 miles of Balsamea.

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Americans Are Pissed

[reblogged] It is hard to say for sure what I like most about this essay. Nah. Everything.

Krista Marson

America is not a happy place. All of us are angry about something. We all feel the need to protest, and the litany of topics to protest against islong.When my husband said “we should go to the Capitol to protest this weekend,” I asked him what item we should protest about. I said there was a long list to choose from:

CLIMATE CHANGE: America has an abysmal record in tackling environmental issues.Extreme weather events are occurring on an almost daily basis, whether it be rising temperatures,fires, tornados, hurricanes, or floods. I’m glad we didn’t plan a trip to Yellowstone this summer because a large portion of it will remainclosed. Oceans are heating up and deserts aredying.Ghost treesline up and down along the East Coast. Ocean conveyor belts are shutting down, and seas are heating up and acidifying…

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Spirits of the Forest

[reblogged] Not a big fan of poetry overall, I love the simplicity and clarity of this poem.

Over The Edge and Beyond: Journal of a Naturalist

In Forest Presence

I listen,


and needles rustle


Hum inside

Hemlock bark


if only humans

would listen


erupt beneath

the forest floor


in a tapestry of threads

millions of miles

of white

cottony intentions

made manifest

by Raven and


I listen….


Is Stillness



Only then

do birds


the Secrets

we crave

Spirits of the Forest

Oh yes,

I listen.

Teresa of Avila writes: “If we learn to love the earth, we will find labyrinths, gardens, fountains and precious jewels! A whole new world will open itself to us. We will discover what it means to be truly alive.”

This has certainly been true for me.

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Spirituality for an Insane World

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin; and it is truly
wonderful how love-telling the small voices of these birds are,
and how far they reach through the woods into one another’s
hearts and into ours. The tones are so perfectly human and so
full of anxious affection, few mountaineers can fail to be
touched by them. — John Muir, Our National Parks (1917) Chapter 7.

I have been exploring an expansion of my personal blogosphere lately. Finding some interesting stuff. One that caught my attention, first because of his conversations in other blogs, then by poking around in his blogs, is a guy with the handle “rawgod.” I have no idea what it means. A fine name. I’m sure he will be relieved to hear that I think so.

We ran into each other in dialog about politics and culture in someone else’s blog. The first of his blogs that I perused is called A New Spirituality. His other one I discovered only today, Ideas From Outside the Boxes.  I just now reblogged his The Song That Never Was (Body Bag Parade) post in that blog. I went a little nuts scribbling a long comment on his post there, and added a Steppenwolf song.

In A New Spirituality rawgod recently posted the piece, Is there a place for spirituality in a world gone mad?

I looked at it and bit my tongue, my arm, my wrist, my hand, my ankle, and declined the temptation to respond. I was afraid that if I tried to post a comment responding to his inquiry, I would write some 867 pages in a dozen drafts obsessively 24 hours a day for a week and then delete it and be sick of myself for wasting all that time, wondering if I would ever learn to tame my scribblements.

Still, I caved in to the temptation. My guess why? I like the guy. I enjoy our dialog. I wanted to see if I could be useful. It’s nice to be useful once in a while. Now and then I give it a shot.

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Ideas From Outside the Boxes



Following is an excerpt from my unpublished novel, The Cold End of the Bathtub. I wrote this song for a local band I was working with at the time. The Vietnam War was still happening, and the band wanted a protest song. I presented the following song to them. Unfortunately they thought it was too controversial, and they chose not to use it. So instead, I wrote a novel about a band who would. Following is the scene I constructed around my anti-war song. The scene was set on the evening of Nov. 11th, 1967. The band is onstage at the Winnipeg Arena, ready to start to wrap up the concert at exactly 11:00 PM:


(Mike lifted the mike to his lips:)

“Twelve hours, and forty-nine years ago today, the War to End All Wars ended. But it…

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Singing Balsameans

No, I will not sing for you.  You don’t have enough money for that.  (But if you do, contact me.  I’ll do a charity event.)

I would thus from time to time take advice of the birds.
—Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 12 May 1857

This post may seem as if I’m smoking pot, but I’m not, even though it is now legal in New York State (since March 2021).  I only smoke OP’s.  “Other people’s,” because I can’t afford it.  I limit my social existence, so I’m always short on OP’s.

Below is a 30-minute audio track of birds around the yard and nearby woods early the morning of Sunday, June 26, 2022 .  Make sure the volume slide (right) in this player is pushed all the way to the right.  Also turn up the volume all the way on your device.

Don’t be thrown by the silent minute starting about a minute into the recording, and again later, around eight minutes in.  They were natural events.

It plays louder for me directly from my phone or PC, but weak from this web page.  Ugh.  Let it be just a soft background music while you read.  I’m going to get smarter about how I record and make another track soon.

These singing Balsameans know that I love them.  Especially the crows.  Crows recognize human faces and remember if they are a positive or negative presence.  See The Crow and the Cave Man, a two minute video clip from the PBS documentary A Murder of Crows (30 minute video, terrific, must see).

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A Wet, Dark Saunter

Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it
so that the other half may reach you.
–Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

Well before dawn today I sauntered barefoot around the outer edges of the yard, out of range of the motion-sensing lights on the house.  Mentally half adrift, luxuriating in sensory silliness for about thirty minutes, in the dark, in a warm, light rain, clothed in a summer robe treated with bug repellent, hat & bandana flowing out from under it (also treated), otherwise attired only in warmer-than-usual night air.  The rain slowed to a drizzle and breezes gradually picked up, turning the air to silk on my skin.  No lights but the ones in me and around me. They get brighter as I spend more time in the dark.

I walked out the north side of the driveway, 250 feet to the road.  There are no cars at that hour.  I walked down the yellow lines in the silent road for a minute, noticing the pavement was still warmer than the grass, even after a lot of rain.  I stood still and listened to a gust rattling drenched leaves to a roar of tree internal rain.  The wind foretold of a change to a clear day.

Returning on the south side of the driveway, I walked in the shallow ditch that drains the water from the yard.  It entertained my feet and my soul with cool puddles in squishy grass and white clover heads in my toes.

I poked around in short parts of the trails nearest the house.  Steinwald Path as far as the giant spruce, and back.  Whitetail Way to Rock Wall 2, through Delaney Place to the original Camp Balsamea, past the shed and Buddy’s Tree, then out Balsamea Way to Arbor Lane and Concordia.

I did not earn this forest home.  I remembered the grace, unmerited favor, while standing in Concordia, one of the sacred places in Balsamea where I am more apt to be mindful of the blessings, if I stop moving and be absorbed by what is there.

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On my relationships with trees and forests

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The next best time is now.
~ Chinese Proverb

The Balsamean; Scribblements from Balsamea contains 34 posts about relationships with trees or forests, out of 128 total posts in the ten years from September 2012 to May 2022.  This is the 128 posts remaining after many were withdrawn from publication.  (There were also many drafted and never published.)  Still, of the published ones NOT removed, 34 of 128 are about trees, forests, and human integration with trees, or immersion in them.  That’s 27% of the total posts.  It is not enough.

Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.
–John Muir

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Hermann Hesse on Tree Reverence

Some of my beliefs, thoughts, and feelings I am unable to express as well as others can do for me.  Hermann Hesse is one example, particularly on the topic of relationship with trees.

Right: Book cover illustration by Peter le Vasseur on the 1975 Picador/Pan Books Ltd. edition of Wandering, listed new at $1.75!

“Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. His best known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi) which explore an individual’s search for spirituality outside society.” —from goodreads Hesse author page

Hermann Hesse book “Wandering” (1920) translated from German by James Wright

Below I offer a large passage on trees from Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) in his book Wandering, Notes and Sketches (1920); translated by James Wright. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1972:

There is a comprehensive review of the book at Hermitary.com.  It begins, “Hermann Hesse composed his little book Wanderung: Aufzeichnungen as fiction, but it reads as autobiography, as do most of his little sketches wherein a personable narrator reveals his convoluted emotions.  Wandering finds the fictional narrator at a psychological crossroads, and Hesse’s clear, simple, and heartfelt prose makes the book a candid and attractive reflection.”

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Щедрик – Shchedryk, On the Generosity of Spring, with Music

Updated May 30, 2022

Rarely do I wake from a dream realizing that in the dream I knew I was dreaming.

I recently dreamed that I was lost in the woods, exhausted, when I found a cave just before dark.  I reclined on a sloped rock with my head on my fanny pack and fell asleep.  That’s when I dreamed that I knew I was dreaming, making it hard to separate reality from the dream.  Even when I woke up I didn’t know if I was only dreaming that I did.

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