A June garden

Peach colored David Austin rose in Manito Park, Spokane, Washington by Betsey Crawford

Last June I was distracted by the joy of seeing my son, Luke, and my daughter-in-law, Genevieve, get married on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. That wedding was an immediate family affair, so this June our families gathered en masse — 60 of us! — to celebrate. Which means I’ve been a […]

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Designing for happiness

I’ve begun to wonder if I am addicted to a forest where I often walk. My area is full of great hikes, including one out my door. But time and again, I choose to drive through my town to the trailhead of another hike. I start down the path and am immediately happy. The combination

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Cactus lingerie

Desert prickly pear cactus (Opuntia phaeacantha) along the trail to Corona Arch in Moab, Utah by Betsey Crawford

I had never been a fan of cactus. Prickly, tough-skinned, ungainly. Leaves so attenuated they’ve become sharp-tipped spines. Interesting shapes, perhaps. Fascinating as examples of environmental adaptation, thriving from western Canada to Patagonia. But nothing to love. Things have changed. When I first came to the southern California desert and hiked in the spare open

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Happy Easter

Anza Borrego desert wildflowers: luminous magenta flowers of the beavertail cactus by Betsey Crawford

My first post on The Soul of the Earth was on March 30, 2015. That was the Monday before Easter and this past Monday I finished a heavenly week in the same place I was nine years ago: the Anza Borrego Desert. To celebrate this Easter, I thought I would send a bouquet of the

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The California gold rush

Vivid fall color in aspen leaves (Populous tremuloides) turning the whole forest yellow in Lundy Canyon, near Lee Vining, California. Photo by Betsey Crawford

I am a native of the northeastern United States, where spectacular fall color is the rule. After a few years of living in the profound all-year green of coastal northern California, I asked a friend where to go to find color. To the eastern Sierra Nevada, she said, so off we went. It was glorious. This yearly gold rush is a gift of many forces meeting — every one of them a wonder in itself.

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A season of butterfly lilies

Lovely white with red and pink markings butterfly mariposa lily (Calochortus venustus) by Betsey Crawford

The way Earth tosses beauty about fascinates me. She doesn’t save splendor only for grand vistas and awe-inspiring mysteries. She spreads it at our feet the minute we leave the pavement we are so attached to. She invites us to pay deep attention, often to the smallest of treasures. She strews exquisite mariposa lilies in the unlikeliest of places.

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