January 10, 2012

Bringing Life To What's Around You

I am currently reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.  LW gave this to me a year, maybe two, ago and I read some of it but lost interest.  Since I've kept up a pretty steady writing practice on here I decided to pick it up again and I'm devouring it. 

In her chapter, Be Specific, Natalie writes, 'When we know the name of something, it brings us closer to the ground.  It takes the blur out of our mind; it connects us to the earth.  If I walk down the street and see "dogwood," "forsythia," I feel more friendly toward the environment.  I am noticing what is around me and can name it.  It makes me more awake.'

And that, my friends, is exactly how I felt when I learned all of the native herb, shrub and tree species of British Columbia.  Suddenly, all those green bushes that surrounded me had a name.  They had different characteristics.  They grew where they did because they were meant to.  It wasn't just a fluke.  For instance, now when I see a Spruce tree (on Vancouver Island) I know that the ground in which it is growing is generally moist.  I know that when I see Horsetail, we've got a water issue.  I know that Ocean Spray likes dry, rocky soil and I know that Salmon Berry seeds can lay dormant for 50 years, patiently waiting for a tree to fall so they can receive enough light in order to sprout.

I remember the world took on a new light when I realized that everything around me was so unique in nature.  Fabric, the hair on people's heads, the clouds in the sky and every single person that crosses our path.  We are all unique and special in our own little ways.  I needed that gentle reminder today.

Ocean spray or Holodiscus discolor

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