Beauty for ashes

Beauty: checker lily (Fritillaria affinis) King Mountain Trail, Larkspur, California by Betsey Crawford

I am sent to heal the brokenhearted….To comfort all who mourn….To give them beauty for ashes. ~Isaiah, 61~ I am blessed, in this time of forced absence and fearful presence, to live with beauty. As long as I’m willing to climb some steep hills, I can walk among embracing trees, with unfurling ferns and delicate spring …

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Becoming: the power of emergence

Mount Taranaki has been granted personhood rights

In a world increasingly governed by western notions of progress, people can find rights of nature an alien concept. Since the founding of ancient Rome, we have safeguarded property rights — the ownership of land, people, capital, resources — even when such rights work against the common good. Or even, as in the case of …

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When rivers go to court


Imagine a river taking her case to court. Arriving in her smooth, flowing robes, reflecting the blue of the sky, a shimmering train brushing the floor as she walks. Everywhere light is glinting, from her silver hair to her silver shoes. Her skin is sometimes the color of the mirrored moon, sometimes the color of …

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The most powerful family on earth

This vine mesquite (Hopi obtusa) on a Missouri roadside dangles its vivid anthers, ready to send their pollen to the wind. The feathery stigma at the other end of the filament are ready to receive pollen. Photo by Betsey Crawford.

Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge.  ~Thomas Edison~  Such a tiny word — poa, Greek for grass — to encompass one of the great life forces on earth. The Poaceae are the fifth most species-rich plant family with over 11,000 plants. They populate a quarter of …

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My first summer in the Sierra

Pride of the mountain (Penstemon newberryi) Sierra Nevada Mountains

Beauty beyond thought everywhere, beneath, above, made and being made forever. ~ John Muir ~ Fans of John Muir will know that my title is the same as one of his most wonderful books. Like thousands before me, reading it made me want to go and spend the rest of my life in search of …

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