Be astonished. Tell about it.

The ability to center ourselves among the beauties of this challenging, whirling world is one of the greatest gifts of Earth. This is not superficial beauty, as pleasant as that is, especially for flowers. This is the beauty lying deep in the heart of creation. Beauty as energy, generativity, as the endless cycle of life, death, rebirth. Beauty as the slow evolutionary dance of function and form. As healing, exaltation, and inspiration.

Be astonished. Tell about it. Read More »

I have located heaven

Tall purple fleabane (Erigeron peregrinus) Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada by Betsey Crawford

It turns out that heaven is relatively easy to find, just into Canada north of the Montana border. At the end of a beautiful drive through the prairies of southwestern Alberta, you arrive at the gates. Not pearly, as one was led to expect. Instead, the rather odd Tudor/rustic combination favored by Parks Canada. This

I have located heaven Read More »

Gardening as if life depends on it

What we do with our land, however small an area, matters not just to us, but to the life of our planet. Landscaping isn’t a static, visual element but an active participant in the world we create. It can foster healthy soil and air or drench it with chemicals. Clean water as it filters through healthy soil or send it laden with toxic compounds to underground aquifers or nearby waters.

Most importantly, it can help save birds, butterflies, and other living beings from extinction.

Gardening as if life depends on it Read More »

Leave it to beavers

A beaver dam with forest behind it in Lake Waubeeka, Danbury, Connecticut by Betsey Crawford

North American history is beaver history. Before the European fur trade took hold in the 1600s, the entire continent was one mesh of wetlands after another thanks to at least 7.3 million years of landscape management by hundreds of millions of beavers.

Earth’s consummate water engineers, beavers had it all figured out. And we are now enlisting them to figure it out for us.

Leave it to beavers Read More »

The lost words

In 2007 the Oxford Junior Dictionary removed the word acorn from its print edition. Also the words blackberry, otter, willow, bluebell, and newt. Fifty such ‘nature words’ were eliminated and replaced by words like broadband, MP3 player, and chatroom.

The lost words Read More »

Boundless possibility: the power of seamlessness

Out of seamlessness: 30 Dorados, the Tarantula Nebula. Photo from NASA

This constant bubbling of form and new realities is what cosmologist Brian Swimme calls seamlessness, one of his eleven powers of the universe that I have been exploring. Though I am doing it last, it was his first because everything arose out of seamlessness, “the ground of being, an empty fullness.” A realm of existence so seething with constant creativity that physicists call it spacetime foam, bubbling everywhere and forever. This, the foundation of the cosmos, is “pure generativity,” Brian says. “Not a thing, or place. It’s a power.” The act of becoming “is the nature of the universe.”

Boundless possibility: the power of seamlessness Read More »

Songlines 2022: surprised by joy

Tiny white flowers of rare Marin dwarf flax (hesperolinum congestum) on Ring Mountain, Tiburon, California. Photo by Betsey Crawford.

I didn’t come up with the title of this post until I had finished writing it. 2022 was, after all, a year of lurching geopolitical crises and brutal regressions. A year that often seemed like lunacy was triumphing. One calculated to produce nothing but the stress levels we all too often felt. But, when I finished describing my path through these months, I was struck by how joyful it also was. Even when I was responding to the anguish of two young men about the state of the world they are inheriting. 

Songlines 2022: surprised by joy Read More »

Standing on holy ground

Close up of bright white bush anemone and buds (Carpenteria californica) in a private garden in San Ramon, California. Photo by Betsey Crawford

Ever since I was introduced to Thomas Berry’s work in 2000, his thinking has informed and enriched my own beyond measure. Recently I was asked to contribute an essay for a book about him. I chose one of my favorite of his ideas: that we look not to ancient texts for revelation to fuel and refresh ourselves but to Earth herself.

“We need to go to the earth, as the source from whence we came, and ask for its guidance, for the earth carries the psychic structure as well as the physical form of every living being upon the planet.”

I spend a lot of time doing just that, so it was a perfect fit.

Standing on holy ground Read More »

Happy Halloween: entangled in webs

Because of its ubiquity, everywhere we go we are treading on an intelligent underground. Beings that can communicate, transport, find their way from one goal to another along the most efficient route. That can overcome problems. negotiate with other beings, sort through options. That know what is happening at the farthest reaches of their vast network. So far, how they do all of this  remains a mystery, as does so much nonhuman wisdom. 

Happy Halloween: entangled in webs Read More »

Scroll to Top