Blog Posts by Ann Linnea

Powerful Lessons from the Forest

The North Cascade mountains of Washington state are a testament to the juxtaposition of life and death. They normalize the presence of death, the surprise of death, and the essential nature of death. Like many people who have lost a loved one “before their time”, I must constantly work to make peace with my son’s death at age 33. For me that takes the form of an inner convincing that Brian might not have lived ...
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Being a Responsible Traveler

Mid-August and I’m back home on Whidbey Island bringing in garden bounty and kayaking in local waters after a 10-day vacation on Kaua’i with family—my partner, my daughter Sally, her partner Joe, our grandchildren, and also my sister Margaret and her family. We were a party of nine, ages ranging from 5 to 70. When she was sixteen, I took Sally to Hawai’i in a special mother/daughter trip. She’s thirty-three now and has been wanting ...
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The Courage of a Quester

Carrying a tent, tarp, sleeping bag, and clothing back from a solo site one mile from base camp, a lone quester returns from 48 hours of living alone. Eleven other questers will also soon be returning from their solo spots around this valley in eastern Washington in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. In the tradition of vision quests, these people went seeking answers to life’s questions by spending time alone in nature without electronics, food, or ...
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Can you see anything positive about this?

This is the most common question I am being asked once people learn I attended a Sea Level Rise conference in Seattle sponsored by the Tulalip Tribe, the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, NOAA, EPA, USGS, and several other Puget Sound agencies. It is an impressive list of sponsors. One hundred fifty people gathered at the Mountaineers Building on the shore of Lake Washington on April 26 and 27, 2016. I served as scribe ...
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Play Makes Everything Work Better

Our annual two-week Grandma Camp just ended. We had a marvelous time working and playing together with our 11-year-old and 5-year-old grandchildren. And one of life’s powerful lessons that I relearned yet again is that everything is more fun, efficient, and productive if play is involved. Beach outings to walk the dog have to involve getting wet even when the water temperature is 50 degrees F. and the air is barely 5 degrees higher than ...
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Pilgrimage Back to Denver

Recently I was asked to give opening remarks at a pediatric care conference named in honor of my son. My preparation included both a careful crafting of remarks and a deep recognition of the significance of returning to Brian’s home city of Denver. There was a ritual for getting there. First, call close family and friends. All of us love Brian. We draw strength, meaning, and understanding from one another’s stories, words, and actions. We ...
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Candlemas

February 2 is halfway between the December solstice and the March equinox. It is a time in the northern hemisphere when day length has jumped from 8 hours from sunrise to sunset to 9 ¾ hours. The light is returning and the plants are showing it here in western Washington. The garlic is up. Tulips are peaking through the soil. Heather is starting to bloom. And it is time to prune the raspberry canes! In ...
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Everything Requires Tending

Everything requires tending  When I look out the picture window with my morning cup of tea, one of my great enjoyments is watching the birds come in for their morning seeds or suet. Rain or shine, frost or fog, they eagerly arrive from their mysterious nightly roosts. I marvel at the urgency of their feeding and feel happy that I can contribute to their well-being. However, a couple of weeks ago an article in our ...
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Balance

The month between American Thanksgiving and the year-end sacred holidays is full, full, full. Pageants, concerts, holiday parties, shopping specials, family gatherings. There is no end of opportunities to keep externally engaged. It is a time to reweave communities and families. It is a time of a lot of fun and good-heartedness. And it is also an important time for quiet tending to one’s life. Taking my cue from nature in the northern hemisphere, I ...
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Tending Our Trees

Over the weekend the Pacific Northwest mountain snows began, heavy lowland rains returned, and the winds howled through the trees with winter strength. For the first time in years, the wind did not make me nervous. Huge, wonderful conifer trees that not infrequently shed large branches in the first winds of the season back our house. This shedding is a natural occurrence: a way that trees prune themselves. We are accustomed to driving down the ...
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