Blog Posts by Ann Linnea

Oddballs

No, this is not a derogatory term. It is actually a scientific category in Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and Mackinnon. And last week while hiking in a local forest a particular species of oddball was popping up everywhere.   “Oddballs” according to this popular botanical guide are plants that cannot turn sunshine into food. They are not green and contain no chlorophyll. Instead of being capable of photosynthesis, they get their nutrition ...
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My Namesake

This week on a summer solstice, forest walk in our local state park I was greeted with an enormous surprise. The flower I was named after was in bloom everywhere—from small patches to entire ridges. Never in 40 years of living in its range have I timed a walk to be in the woods at the peak moment of bloom for Linnaea borealis (the twinflower). I have seen one or two or a small colony ...
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The Trail Steward

The Trail Steward Sitting on a bench in my beloved South Whidbey State Park, I was happy to be hiking again. Just 3 weeks after a partial knee replacement I was not moving fast, but I was relishing the return to my weekly medicine walks. Several old growth red cedar trees towered above me. Fern and salal plants were shoulder height and dense. The sanctuary of the forest surrounded me. Within minutes of sitting there, ...
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A Tribute to My Daughter

I have just returned from a 10-day family trip to South Korea. Seven of us, age seven to 71, made the pilgrimage back to the land of our daughter and son’s birth. Everything about the trip was extraordinary, beginning with Sally’s invitation to have us join her. Sally left South Korea in 1984 at age 17-months to begin her life in the United States as our adoptive daughter. Her return 34 years later with her ...
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Teachers Do NOT Carry Guns

I have been a teacher all of my life. My partner and three sisters are teachers. Many, many of my friends are teachers. Teachers do NOT Carry Guns. It is the antithesis of what we are called to do with our lives. We find joy in connecting with our students to help them learn things. We find challenge in articulating subjects so that students of many different learning styles can find the AHA moment that ...
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Medicine Walk

A Medicine Walk is different from an ordinary walk. It is done alone, in silence, and in solitary connection with the natural world. The intention of the walk is to see, hear, smell, observe, and sense as much as possible. It is a traditional part of the preparation for a wilderness fast and it has become a lifetime spiritual practice for me. In this year when threats to our precious earth loom large I have ...
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Traditional Knowledge

I am an Anglo-American, descendant of immigrants: 50% Swedish and 50% northern European (Irish, Scotch, German, French). Blue eyes and blond hair, now silver; I was educated in public schools and state universities where western scientific knowledge provided the framework for my thinking. I appreciate this knowledge and I believe these times require me to continue to question and expand the worldview I was handed. Books as Bridges to Traditional Knowledge The Hidden Life of ...
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Rituals of Readiness

I spin the globe that sits by my desk. All of my life I have lived in the north. I was born and raised in southern Minnesota at 43.6666 degrees N. latitude and over the years have migrated up to my current location of 48.0095 degrees N. latitude. (The 49th parallel is the boundary between the U.S. and Canada.) Living in the north requires big attention during the shift from autumn to winter. Before the ...
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The Perspective of Time

The ridge top wind is ripping at my rain gear, frequently knocking me off balance. Rain is blowing sideways. Ahead is a small opening into the heart of an ancient rock tomb. I bend over and make my way inside. First one step, then the next. Quiet. Neither wind nor rain can penetrate here. My eyes slowly adjust to the dim light. Ten steps ahead the passage ends in a chamber. I stand upright and ...
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A Scholarship for Paramedics

The world is full of news about natural disasters as we in the northern hemisphere make the turn from summer to fall—Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas, Hurricane Irma hitting the Caribbean Islands and Florida, wildfires all over the western United States, and then a huge earthquake in Mexico. These disasters are profoundly served by emergency medical professionals—in my eyes the true modern day heroes. This weekend also marks another cycle of the Brian Schimpf memorial scholarship ...
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