Tag Archive | habitat gardens

Berries

I’m grateful for berries. These bright berries on the blueleaf honeysuckle, Lonicera korolkowii provide food for birds from now throughout winter, ripe or dried in situ. This gorgeous bush is native to ‘The Mountains of Central Asia,’ which I just learned is a very specific geographical ecosystem, also home to half the world’s wild snow leopards. The Mountains of Central Asia is a biodiversity hotspot consisting of two major mountain ranges which extend among six countries, including Afghanistan. I’m grateful that this plant thrives in our climate and is a beneficial habitat shrub and not an invasive species.

Little purple berries on New Mexico Foresteria also feed birds, in particular the Townsend’s solitaire which I have seen yearly in this shrub. Not technically berries, but I’m not being technical. They look like berries, they feed like berries–but they taste pretty awful to me. Anyway, the flowers are full of tiny native bees in spring, and abundant berries in late summer also provide bounty for wildlife. I’m grateful to have this buffet in my landscape.

Some limbs on some of the junipers are laden with ripe juniper berries. Again, pseudo-berries, but berries is what we call them. Most of my dogs have nibbled them off the ground when they’re plentiful, with gusto; they were a food fad a few years ago; they feed wildlife; they are purported to have health benefits and healing properties; and they flavor gin. I’m grateful for juniper berries in the yarden.

I’m grateful for raspberries! I’m grateful that I savored and saved last summer’s gift of a gallon raspberries, and still have some left this summer, since the crop was paltry in this drought. Nurturing a new cluster of water kefir grains, I splurged and put a few frozen raspberries in to flavor yesterday’s decanted batch. Tomorrow, I’ll be grateful for a healthy, fermented raspberry soda. Actual berries or illusory facsimiles, I’m grateful for berries: fruits of the labors of bees and bushes.

New Dimensions

The Ancient One, a mother-tree I’ve stopped at to offer the same prayer nearly every day for 28 years: Above all, I give thanks

This morning I’m grateful for New Dimensions, a weekly, one-hour radio program more than forty years old, that I have been listening to for almost thirty. Today’s interview with Richard Louv is just one of many that I find profoundly moving. Some of the shows are a bit too… esoteric for my taste, but that’s just personal preference.

“It is only through a change in human consciousness that the world will be transformed. The personal and the planetary are connected. As we expand our awareness of mind, body, psyche, and spirit, and bring that awareness actively into the world, so also will the world be changed. This is our quest, as we explore New Dimensions.”

Each interview brings a unique perspective to some inquiry that inevitably relates to mindfulness. Richard Louv’s latest book, and the topic of Justine Willis Toms’ interview with him in episode #3716, is Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with Animals Can Transform Our Lives – and Save Theirs. Gosh, hasn’t this been my calling all along? Among many other things, he talks about the plague of loneliness, derived in large measure from our disconnection from Nature, that ranks with diabetes and obesity as a US human health hazard. He talks about how urban planning for wildlife (such as grasslands on factory rooftops), and home habitat gardens, can fortify migratory bird corridors, and help restore endangered species. One office building he describes raises endangered butterflies on their all-glass first-floor, so not only is there a plenitude of natural light to lift people’s spirits, when you enter the building you’re likely to have a butterfly alight on your shoulder.

“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and softly sits on your shoulder.” I had a poster in my childhood bedroom with this quote that’s resonated with me ever since.

Louv also discusses the idea of habitat of the heart, a habitat as important to the preservation of Nature as natural habitat, and how we must cultivate this habitat from childhood on, as each generation’s ‘new normal’ becomes acclimatized to less and less wild nature in their lives. I remember climbing the birch tree in the backyard woods when I was in the single digits of my life, sitting in the top branches of its gently swaying slender trunk, just sitting, being part of the woods. Do you have a childhood memory of being with nature in that way? Do your children? I hope so.

Bunny…
Not bunny…

Gratitude practice today starts with New Dimensions, ripples out to include KVNF which introduced me to this show and has expanded my horizons in so many other ways since I moved to this valley, and leads to gratitude for all the conditions of my life that led me to settle here in 1992. Grateful that a deep sense of missing something, in my twenties, led me to trust and rely upon my profound inborn reverence for Nature, and to create this little sanctuary for the Wild, in which loneliness never enters my mind. Ok, sometimes, but not often!

Grateful that the old dog has renewed capacity for excitement when I stray from our well-traveled trail. Grateful to his vet, Dr. TLC, formerly of Morningstar Vet Clinic in Montrose and now treating Stellar with magic potion remotely from Aspen Park Vet Hospital in Conifer.