Sunday, 15 January 2012

Moving to the woods... For those who keep dreaming

"To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor an to have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy."
~"Uncle Zovar : The Faithful Gardener" Clarissa Pinkola Estes.


There is a sycamore tree in our back garden. Whenever I catch a quiet moment to myself, or maybe when I'm doing the washing up I gaze at it.


Each season it gives me a new story, in it's starkness, it's fiery glory, it's tender greenness or it's carefree Summer flourish.


Whenever I feel alone or sad I am drawn to the window. The green leafed hope and life rustling like a prayer I cannot yet speak.


In the front garden grows an Ash and a Rowan.
The Ash grows right against our window. Many people have said we should cut it down but I can't.


Sometimes I can look at it and imagine that our house is within a wood. Sometimes birds come and rest on it's branches and I can see them so close, each thin fleck of feather, the delicate curves of their bodies. I am reminded of my childhood wonder again.


We are surrounded by buildings and lights on all sides. The sky is a small square framed by angles. In the evening the orange glow of the street lights spread a musky gauze so that it is hard to see the stars clearly.



I pine for a closer relationship with with the land. I want to bury my hands in dirt, feel the roots, the moistness the movement of the seasons. Be able to cup my hands in the stream and drink. Do you remember when we used to swim in ponds and rivers?


Nature was the one thing that reminded me that there was a God when I was a child. It also told me that God was good. He was a storyteller, an artist, a poet, healer.


I watched a documentary about Yellowstone last night.
After the Native people had been removed from the land, many of the first settlers arranged epic hunting expeditions that almost wiped out the wildlife.


In an attempt to save the wilderness, some environmentalists of the day argued that Yellowstone could make a great tourist destination. But first of all, they would have to kill all the wolves to make it more people friendly.


However, this was a mistake as the wolves naturally culled elk and other species which ate trees and plants such as willow which the beavers need to make their dams.


After attempting to artificially cull the elk themselves the park officials finally, reintroduced the wolf to the park. Watch the video below to see how Wolves change rivers.


Yet somehow the ecology of the wilderness was still not quite in balance and still required human modification and management.


The park managers questioned why this was. Finally they realized that the missing element was the Native people. Those whom they had first evicted! Yet those native peoples were an intrinsic part of that particular ecology, just as the wolf, the willow and the elk were!


The difference was that the Indigenous people's lived off the land in a way that could enrich it rather than harm it.


People need nature to move them, mold them, remind them of God. When our connection with nature is broken so is our connection with God. We forget to treat the earth as a living, breathing being and we harm her for things we don't really need.


The earth and us, are one and the same, just as we are part of God and He a part of us. We need each other to be whole. To be holy even.



 “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
John Muir

Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.

Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.

Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.

Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.

Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.

Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.

Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.

Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.

Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.

Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.

Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.

- An Ute Prayer


And finally, some inspiration for a free spirited life this beautiful film "Live Before you Die" 
Live Before You Die from Dreamtime Film on Vimeo.


  1. A truly beautiful post Suzy and one my Choctaw indian [1/8] self really loved! :)
    I have a pecan tree out my back door that I gaze up and watch as the seasons change throughout the year. Connecting with nature is how I go about my days and my seasons.
    Building a little one room log cabin deep in the woods has always been a dream of mine and sounds like a little piece of heaven!

  2. This was so moving Suzy. I have that documentary on my list of "to see", and now I know it'll be sooner than later. My heart hurts some, no--many times when I think about what man has done to nature and to each other. Like you we long for the woods and to immerse ourselves in the spirit and essence of nature. I am excited we are almost there. But even as we personally may be one step closer, I can't help but still feel the disconnect overall as a race--especially here in the States, and am saddened by it. I watched a documentary last night called "I Am". It had a similar message about our spiritual disconnect to each other and to the planet, and after reading your post this morning I know I'll be thinking about all day today. I pray that we all gain awareness such as yours in this post, every day, and be grateful.
    thanks Suzy

  3. Oh, what a beautiful, inspiring, gentle, and loving tribute to all things good in this world! I hope you find yourself in a cabin in the woods when the time is right.

  4. i don't know how you write all these things that are in my heart too. how do you do this? my woods when i was a girl were the only place i felt safe in my scary little world. i long for woods of my own again today too. and the trees...i often think i should name mine that are in my yard, but if one of them died i may spiral into a slight depression, so i don't name them...yes, i have a fear of intimacy with trees too. and, the wolf is my totem, so i really appreciate wolf mentions too- i will have to find that documentary about yellowstone. i was wondering, are you an infp (personality type) or do you know? i am and it's rare, just curious :) xoxo

  5. i love this suzy. so. much. my husband and i were just talking about these things yesterday. and we continue to dream.

  6. Yes I am an infp Vicki :) And I have a wolf tatooed on my back! I love wolves :)

    I'm so happy that you are getting closer to your dream MJ, that is such a special place to be! And thanks for the link to the documentary, I'm a big documentary fan!

  7. I love and understand and believe the notion that the missing link to real balance with God and with nature includes our own simplicity and responsibility. The native people's influence is as important as the wolf and the water and the seasons. Very thought-provoking post and beautiful, too. As always. Thanks, Suzy. I hope you can get to your home in the country someday. It can happen! Blessing and prayers to that end for you guys! :0)

  8. Such a lovely post. I would like to crawl inside those photographs! Your words really touched me today, thank you.

  9. What a wonderful post, for so many reasons. My husband caught sight of it as I scrolled down and came over to look with me. We were both transfixed by your beautiful portrait of Emmy. I also think it's wonderful how you've written about trees, nature and God. I agree with the quote at the top, I feel trees are essential. My husband and I have moved house quite a few times in nearly 30 years, and at the top of our list of requirements for every move has been "trees". Although we've never lived in the country, we've always had flats and houses with mature trees nearby where we can see them all the time. They remind me of God's love, God's incredibly intricate creation - and they humble me. We have so very much to learn from Native Americans and other indigenous people.

  10. such grand, beautiful photographs of the kids among the mighty branches. the sun goldens the world.

  11. so very beautiful, friend. you speak my soul language.

  12. Yes, I totally get your fascination with trees. There really is something magical and peaceful being surrounded by these giant beauties. It made me sad to read about Yellowstone and how we went in and cleared it of all that was beautiful and necessary to the balance. I felt some slight relief that at least, in the end, we learned. I read your words, and I can feel your connection to nature, and I want to scream - DO IT!! Forget all of the reasons why not and go build your cabin in the woods! Live the rest of your days in quiet, restful bliss. :)

  13. beautiful post, photos and words. Loved the lullaby too..


I treasure each and every one of your comments.
Your kind words never fail to bring a smile to my face:)
At the moment I am going through a busy season of life with 5 girls under my wing! I may not always be able to respond immediately but please know that every word left here is read and appreciated deeply.