Tag Archives: in harmony with nature

Winter Solstice

Dancing in the Light
Dancing in the Light

This Tuesday, December 21st, is our longest night. In the Pacific Northwest, we now have 16 hours of darkness.I arrive at my office and it is dark.I leave my office and it is dark.

My animals curl into balls and rarely wake.

It has been a steady move to this darkest day, since the longest at the Summer Solstice.

Then my tomatoes were growing.Now I am using the canned sauce in stews, breathing in summer scents in the dark, cold afternoons.

Time moves and things shift.We still call this furthest hour of earth tilt the Tropic of Capricorn, but it isn’t anymore.Precession has shifted us into the constellation Sagittarius.Things change.The Mother turns and leans this way now, turns and leans that way later.She dances with the Sun and the Moon and with herself.

We will gather and celebrate the end of the dark, the tilt of the Earth, the Emergence of the light.

Winter Solstice Sunrise over the Cascades
December Sunrise over the Cascades

To celebrate, we will make a circle, call in the directions, and be with the dark.We will welcome our shadows and bravely visit with them.We can do this because we know the darkness creates the light, and that there is a time for everything.We say goodbye to the time that is gone.

We will invite the light, and breathe life into our possibilities.We will have faith that the light will come again.We will pray for the healing and grace for All That Is, all beings, all life and all death, all that was and will be.

How will we celebrate?

By dancing.We will dance on the back of our Mother, pound our prayers and love onto her back, so that she will know we are here, and that we work to heal her and ourselves.We dance in our bare feet, or in our handmade moccasins, so that our love and faith move out the soles of our feet into her back.We dance with intention, sending our love and awareness into the Earth.

We are here.We know you are a living being, our Mother, and you are being harmed the world over.We are here, and we are helping to bring in the light so that others know you are a living being, and our Mother.

At the darkest time, is the emergence of light and possibility. Here are prayers for all the People.

Dance and celebrate and bring in the light.

Peace Friends.

The Sharpest Edge

On special days, remember your loved ones on the other side with candles, special foods, and offerings from nature.

“…here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)”
— e.e. cummings

Today is All Saint’s Day.Tomorrow is All Soul’s Day. It is also a Full Moon, cycle of completion and fruition.

I woke last night to a bright light in my face, Grandmother Moon.It was All Hallow’s Eve, the night the veil is lifted between this world and the next.My Dead Loved Ones were closer and we whispered through the night, delighted to be together, consoling one another that on this side we’re doing OK, and on that side we’re doing OK.I’ll see you again some day, I’ll see you again some day.

I went outside in the deep fog and said prayers with Grandmother Moon.I greeted my recently departed and asked they take special care of some friends who just got there, and others who will be arriving soon.They will.The air was damp and cool in the night. My dog was by my side, wagging her tail, and I cried because I don’t want to say goodbye to her, someday soon.

This edge between the living and the dead is razor sharp.Life without our Loved One is living with a carved out space in our hearts that nothing can fill in.It feels like falling, like in those dreams where you are falling – but you don’t wake up and you keep on falling.It feels like nothing can help or save you and that you will never again find peace in your heart. My slim advice: cry and remember your Love to whomever will listen, as long as you need to do that. It will soften and shift.

It is a sharp edge also because of our own terror of our own death, of saying goodbye to family, kisses, strawberries, butterflies, babies, wind, water, dogs.We are afraid, most of us.And these days, because we are so separated from Mother Earth and our place in all things, because we have tangled and reduced our connections, we feel even more lost.

It will be OK.It will all work out, on both sides.

Remembering and honoring our Dead weaves new connections between the worlds, and roots us deeper to The Mother.When it is our time to die and to leave – and we will, like it or not – we may die in terror or in another more peaceful way. I pray we each die with a sense of connection to this side and to the next.

What helps me stand at the sharpest edge:

  1. Spending these days when the curtains part to visit and praise my Dead, along with millions of others around the world, connects me.You could make a special place to remember your ancestors and loved ones, put out a photo, light a candle, bring a bit of candy (we have lots of that hanging around today!) and a pretty leaf. And then remember Them with sweetness and honor as you go about your day.
  2. Stories and thoughts from other people: Fresh Air from WHYY: Terry Gross interviews poet Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno about her collection of poems, Slamming Open the Door.
  3. Being proactive and getting information: Funeral Consumers Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting a consumer’s right to choose a meaningful, dignified, affordable funeral.
  4. Really good books: You Only Die Once and who doesn’t love Gary Larson!  This is a good one for kids: There’s a Hair in My Dirt

Peace Friends.

Over the Moon

Grandmother Moon and The Ferry
Grandmother Moon and The Ferry

The moon is my Grandmother. When I see her round and glowing face, I greet her.

I breathe in connection to all that is as she passes over me each night.

Sometimes I dance and twirl and my moonshadow twirls and dances with me.

When I wake up in the night, I know she is with me.

When Grandmother Moon is hidden and away, I wish her well on her journey and then I make my prayers for the coming month.

I have a special prayer that comforts me: “Moon’s changing face, heal me.”

It means as we move steady in the sky through time and space, my connection to all that is will grant me the time and space to correct my ills, my wrong doings, my wrong actions.

They bombed the moon last night. They attacked my Grandmother.

I pray they will remember that they, too, are connected to all that is, and that they will have time to correct their ills, their wrong doings, their wrong actions. That we all will.

Fires in Alaska

Kathy here.  The smoke from the two major fires in our area in the interior of Alaska, the Wood River and Minto Flat fires, rolled in last night so thick the wilderness was like a packed bar loaded with smokers. Visibility down to less than 100 feet, this in a land of broad vistas and big sky. Continual dry days (.44 inches of rain in July, driest on record) and high temperatures, in the 80’s and sometimes 90’s, and no end in sight, have fanned the flames of these fires, one within 20 miles of Fairbanks, to immense killers. The Minto fire, as of a few days ago, was already 350,000 acres, or 600 square miles, across the Nenana River from the small Athabascan village of Nenana where I spent 26 years. The effects on wildlife are  incomprehensible: birds too young to fly away, moose calves too small to run through the thick brush. Fox,lynx, wolves, bears, squirrels, all with young. The beavers can at least dive down into the lakes, but their lodges, their protection, could catch fire. And no rain in sight.

But the wild blueberries and raspberries are ripe and ready early, an important part of our food supply, Mother Nature’s yearly  free giveaway. Yesterday afternoon friend Pam and I went into the hills north of here and found large patches, but the odd thing was that the ground was so dry it broke off the branches of the berry bushes and lichen as we searched with our little buckets. Instead of a moist sponge, the tundra crackled with every movement. Uncovered ground was hard and split open like the photos of African droughts I’d seen in National Geographics.

Horrified I apologized to the little plants that should have sprung back, never having seen this in 35 years in this country. Many of the berries were small, after sitting in the hot, relentless sun and 24 hours of daylight since they formed. But our buckets were full when we left. Kept our eye out for a large black bear seen in the area, my .44 strapped to my hip, but he was thankfully feasting elsewhere.

Without rain the few hay farmers in our area are suffering, along with the horse owners. Each horse up here needs about 3 tons of hay per horse for the year. The oil based fertilizer they use cannot disintergrate and nourish the grass plants without water, which has never been a problem in the past. So no one uses irrigation. At the first cutting in July, bales per acres was about 20 % of the normal amount. I was shocked when I took my flatbed trailer into my favorite farmer’s fields and left with 15 bales instead of 65. The grass was just too short.

The changes we are seeing here are extreme, as last summer with constant, record rain and finally flooding. My life depends on the weather: hay for horses, salmon for the sled dogs, adequate snow for sled dog tours in the winter, and for the last12 or so  years we have seen changes beyond what is considered normal for this far north. Excessive snow this past March closed many of the trails to even snowmachines.In the backcountry snow would be up to the top of my legs in many places, and I am 5’10” with my boots on. On one trip I had to turn a 10 dog team around in a narrow trail, and found the leaders on top of me as I stepped off the trail and fell into the deep snow, my legs cemented into place. Chaos !

All of this tells me to be flexible, do not assume and predict. Just when I am at that age when I would like to settle back a bit, cozy in my knowledge of a land and it’s rhythms. But the dance has changed, and I better learn some new steps.

Greetings From the Edge


When we say frontier, we’re not talking about the Alaskan bush (although one of our contributors actually lives there), but any natural place that requires skill and harmony with the environment in order to survive.  Whether you’re raising horses in Eastern Washington, running a coffee plantation in Hawaii,  living rurally in the Midwest or in a hut on a mountain top, you have to live by your wits. You rely on them for your survival. Frontiers are actual places, but they are also spiritual and psychological.  The point is, when you’re on an edge, you’re alert and learning and that’s what this blog is about.

This blog is for and about adventuresome & spirited women…

…living at the edge, improvising, learning how to sustain ourselves and thrive.  It’s for women who love dirt, animals, the open sky; who love, and learn from, Nature (Mother Nature and human nature) in its splendor and harshness.

We are women living into a clearer, elemental and closer-to-the-bone kind of life. We live at the gateway between the past and an unknown future and relate to all life as if it is connected and it matters… because it is and it does.

In a very real sense, we are pioneers and here is space to share what we’re learning, what we observe and to give voice to what we think is worth passing along.

We hope you’ll join us.