Regenerative Landscape Architecture
01 Jan 2012

Why Ecology Is Important

Ecology’s importance in relation to, well, everything, is obvious, and so what could there be to say?  I recall the many discussions I’ve shared with brilliant, creative friends wherein it was agreed that so-and-so prefers tarot cards while another dear soul doesn’t trust them and instead likes to write in a journal as a way of figuring out her life.  Multiple perspectives are important in every subject, just as diversity is the key to balance on a farm.

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16 Sep 2011

A Walk Among the Dead

I visited the cemetery on Crystal Lake Drive on a weekday in June of 1999.  I was enrolled in an experimental university course called The Philosophy of Death and Dying, and this was an assignment.  It was sunny, with white clouds filling niches in a wide summer-blue sky, and I managed to miss the torrent that came about five minutes after I left. It was Oregon, after all, where one can never rely on consistent weather.  I’d never visited a cemetery before with the intent to record impressions. I’d also never experienced the weird sensations that came on that day under my feet.

I arrived and walked to the river, a space in the trees signifying its presence. I sort of naturally made this my beginning and ending point for this walk. I took note of the clumps of water plants clogging the river’s surface, an old rowboat tied to the bank, still above the water’s edge, wind in the trees, thick grass, and a strong wish suddenly to stay there beside the slow-moving water. Wild poppies and chamomile flowers crowded in at my feet.
Behind me, the cemetery was divided into two kinds of sections. The farthest away was for raised stones, and the first section I walked through was for ground-level stones. Flags from Memorial Day waved from almost every grave, creating an illusion of life through movement. Other movement in the yard was created by a Blue Jay hopping in the grass
to eat worms and insects, then landing on a grave stone, and a Gray Squirrel loping like a sail from one large tree to another at my approach. There were all types of trees of different sizes. I speculated during my walk on whether this sense of life in the graveyard was due to the life of the wind made visible by flags, the awareness of the dead themselves, or the leftover intentions of those who inserted the flags.

Store-bought bouquets dotted almost every grave. Stones had depressions under them and were old, weathered, rainstained,
cracked, and lopsided. I took a straight diagonal. Starting out into the empty lawn, I had my usual air of bohemian flippancy. Soon a reticence touched down on me, like one of the white clouds turning to gray and descending to within an arm’s reach. I started not wanting to be there.  The first grave started to change that. A not-so-subtle tingling went up the bottoms of my feet into my calves. I started to see images of the dead bodies, the bones, resting a couple of meters under the ground, sealed off from this shining, wonderfully breezy day. I decided then and there that no one would ever bury me. I want to be scattered over a river and in forests and mountain meadows and such, a little bit of me returned to each variety of
natural space.

As I found myself reading aloud names and dates and such, I noticed my flippancy dissolve, and it became interesting to be there. I read a lot of the tombstones, and I was particularly moved by the graves for folks who died in 1881, 1885, and 1888. It was such a long time ago. I wondered how the stones had gotten to this cemetery, whether the cemetery was that old,
whether the stones were that old. A hundred years is a long time to a human being.

All throughout this walk, the weird and unexpected tingling energy rode up from the ground into my feet. Once when I squatted, the tingling graduated to the seat of my pants. I also kept having a weird sense that there was a consciousness
present over the yard. Somehow the dead seemed to be enjoying this day. I was taken aback by this sensation, because I did not expect to feel anything at all while there. I’ve been to a couple other graveyards and felt nothing at all. This was really, really strange. I spoke the following into a micro cassette recorder and feel like it deserves to be included:
There is a kind of presence, I don’t know, all these stones, like, this solid sort of a – you can’t just run freely through here without noticing that there’s this…feeling – I’m getting a really strong feeling out of the ground.
Just standing there on the surface with the dead under the ground made me sad for their captivity. I noted each time I touched a stone, and after walking for a while, I felt like paying respect to all the graves I walked over. I said a “Thanks” of sorts. Just as I started looking for a baby grave, I found one of a three year old. I sat down in front of it to ponder the enigma of Wilbur’s death. But here is what I recorded:
Good or bad for my spirit, I believe in vibratory influence – vibrations of today and in a cemetery of all the vibration that’s here and all the time and energy that is spent in a certain vibration in this cemetery by the living, plus the presence of the bones of those who have lived – I believe all of that contains vibration and there’s a vibration that’s left here – just from every single thing that’s ever happened here, or every person who’s ever lived who’s been buried here – lot of vibration that’s left over that continues to emanate a presence or an influence upon – a contribution to the world.
Then I closed my eyes at the kid’s grave. It felt funny, like floating, and I didn’t feel still at all, not solid, not in one place. When I started back the way I’d come, I said goodbye to the little kid in the grave as if the stone was conscious. It was funny – I did it unconsciously. I never had a feeling or any ideas for why he might have died. I did walk away with a sense that people had lived to old ages long ago. I thought the modern idea about not taking your stuff with you when you pass on could mean that all these people were left with was bones, pure and simple, no toys. I ended up back at the river, and I took note of two things I hadn’t noted before. Two large dead trees crisscrossed the channel near the boat, and lots of new growth in
grasses and other weeds was occurring up against dead material. My walk among the dead was kind of like that.

02 Aug 2011

Cosmic Rain

After 14 years, I have relocated an article I read in the Washington Post one afternoon while attending college.  I was standing in my boyfriend’s living room, and I couldn’t sit down I was so excited.  But I laid it down and forgot to keep the paper.  Over the years, I tried to find the article again using search terms on Google and by writing to the Washington Post, with no luck.  Now that I have fortunately relocated the documentation of this important story, I would like to spread the word.  I think this information profoundly changes the world-view that American teenagers of my generation were taught in high school science and has far-reaching implications for human perception and experience.

In 1986, scientist Louis A. Frank released his findings to NASA that house-sized frozen water droplets are and always have been raining down into Earth’s atmosphere from Space.  The 40-foot wide “snowballs,” as the scientific community refers to them, were previously undetected with the instruments available due to the relative size and speed of the droplets.  The discovery was confirmed with further research, however.

The significance of this relatively new-found fact is that our planet’s water cycle is not closed, as our text books diagrammed with colorful cartoons, but open to space.

Essentially, then, little wet vehicles for all manner of materials enter our atmosphere daily.  I’ve come across numerous theories of Earth’s seeding from Cosmic origins, but what about yesterday, tomorrow, today?  Where did the last rainstorm over your town come from?  What might it have carried to your local soil, plant communities and crops, drinking water?

The relatively small comets Louis A. Frank discovered are mostly water, but it seems overwhelmingly obvious that an incalculable variety of organic and inorganic material is arriving in the cosmic rain we’re getting, especially since these water comets apparently helped Earth form its oceans.

It is a fact that on Earth rain clouds form when water vapor attracts to bits of grit and dust in the atmosphere.  Science has declared Space to be filled with dust, and ice composed of H2O has also been found (also kind of unnecessary to prove if you ask me) in numerous locations, both within our solar system and galaxy, and billions of light years away.  In my humble opinion, the question to ask is why wouldn’t Frank’s comets also be bringing us solid and probably organic particles?  I dare to say ‘probably organic’ because I think some things are just kind of obvious.  But that may just be me.

The Findhorn Foundation in Northern Scotland, famous for its spiritually-created gardens, received messages from the spirits of plants telling them that trees anchor our planet in its orbit.  Trees are able to attract rain to themselves as well via what some scientists say is an ability to create vapor flows and indigenous people say is a much deeper ‘like-attracts-like’ kind of process.  My personal experience is that trees anchor the planet energetically and also channel raw cosmic energies coming at Earth from Space in a way that disperses and sort of organizes the charge of the untamed rays into a usable form.  I have witnessed this physically as well as visually.  The founders of Findhorn received communications from the plant kingdom that corroborate this as one of the primary functions of trees.  Perhaps it could be that Planet Earth’s global forest is the magnet for the cosmic rain Frank documented.  Indeed, the research conducted surrounding his discovery perplexed the scientific community because there doesn’t seem to be any rain coming down on the moon.  The moon, of course, has no trees.

According to the Washington Post articles, thirty of the house-sized cosmic droplets hit Earth each minute, or “43,000 of these celestial snowballs arrive on Earth every day.”  It is my hope that whomever newly shares in the discovery of this awesome, mind-opening information takes a little more time and energy to observe the natural world and tune in to what s/he perceives.  I will definitely have more to share soon on this last statement.  (You can check Eco-Logic’s calendar of events for workshops.)

The original article can be read in its entirety here:  Cosmic Rain