PeerSpirit Blog

The Impossible Has Happened

Today, Sept. 28, 2015, Shell Oil announced that they have sealed and abandoned their exploratory well in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea siting “insufficient amounts of oil and gas to warrant further exploration.” Even though they drilled to 6800 feet, they found very little oil or gas. Despite investing billions of dollars in this endeavor, they will “cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future.” Wow, I am thrilled beyond words! Our passionate ...
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Welcoming the stranger

In 1952, when I was six years old, my parents scrambled together a down payment on a chicken coop. that’s what we called the strung together shed-like building on half an acre in the flood plain of the Wabash River at the edge of Indianapolis. Linoleum floors, drafty fireplace in a small living room, funky kitchen, big yard, a few climbable trees. My parents put in a garden, bought real chickens for eggs and meat, ...
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Camping out & in

Every year on the last week of August, we head off with a couple of friends, our dog and their dog, and go camping. Usually we cross to the mainland and into the Cascade Mountains. This year wildfires and smoke veered us west to the Olympic Peninsula where we skirted the edges of the National Park and camped along the north shore of the state, gazing across the Strait to Vancouver Island, Canada. Soft, end ...
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Every Action Matters

In my May 25 blog I shared what it was like to participate in the kayak protest of the Shell drilling rig in the Seattle harbor. My mother seemed interested, but she is not on the internet so I mailed her a hard copy. We talked about the protest and Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic several times after that on the phone. Weeks passed with no conversation about protests, then all of a ...
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The Twins

The doe and her two twin fawns are regular visitors in our yard this summer. The other day I had returned from kayaking and left the kayak in the back yard to dry off—not its usual resting place. Ten minutes later I had changed clothes and gone into our office in the backyard to complete some work. Within minutes the two fawns came out of the shrubbery behind the kayak and literally stopped in their ...
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A Summer Day

What a sweet local life I have. Waking with early light, I raise the shades to look at Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains. I make tea. I take time to write a bit in my journal. Sitting on what we call the facing bench, my partner and I watch Nature waking up around us. We talk about who is doing what on the list that accompanies our days. We talk about what is next, ...
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I Must Do Something

On May 16, I joined hundreds of Seattle kayakers protesting the presence of Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer. It was in our port to be retrofitted for drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea—a place that is only navigable about four months of the year. Named after the native peoples living on the Siberian edge of the sea, Chukchi is home to polar bear, whales, walrus, and numerous other northern marine mammals. A month ...
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An Inside View of Seattle’s Kayak Protest

The scene at West Seattle’s Alki Beach was chaotic in a friendly sort of way. Hundreds of kayakers were moving their multi-colored boats across the cobble shore for launching. Someone yelled out, “Everyone please gather over here.” A young woman explained the flow of the morning. “We will follow the Native canoes into the water. A Salish long boat will come by to let us know it’s time to launch.” For me, the announcement that ...
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War & Peace

Six feet from the kitchen door, my neighbors spend the glorious days of spring squabbling from dawn to dusk— If they were human, maybe we could negotiate the terms of living side-by-side…but these squabblers are hummingbirds. Particularly the rufous male guards the round of sugared water. Anna’s hummingbirds of both genders, and even female rufous, swoop and dive trying to get to the essential sweetness that sustains them in the early spring weeks of courting, ...
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Planet of the Stones

During his two-week spring break last month, we took our ten-year-old grandson, Jaden, on a road trip to camp in the magnificent canyon lands of southern Utah. For Ann, this trip was a touchstone into desert landscape that had shaped her early adulthood and the golden years of mothering. As a young teacher and naturalist, she had taken her two children, including the mother of Jaden, on extensive camping trips into this territory ...
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Hawkeye and the Peregrine Falcon

Our two-week camping excursion in the desert southwest with our 10-year-old grandson, Jaden, was extraordinary. He brought a freshness of perspective, an eagerness of spirit, and keenness of eyes and ears. One chilly morning in the middle of our trip, he woke us out of a sound tent sleep at 6:30 a.m. “Maga, Nina, listen!” he said. We sat up in the predawn light so our not-so-young ears could perceive what had caught his attention ...
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Cursive or Cursor?

As I entered my local library, I walked past a sign that read, “Quiet corner, slow reading in process.” I have been seeing announcements about this on various Internet threads around town: a return to placing books in hands. A device free zone. A place for the whispery rustle of turning pages. A place to curl up with a good book. A life-long habit for me—being rehabitualized in the digital age. I peeked in to ...
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Preparing is Part of the Fun

This spring break we are taking our 10-year-old grandson on his first ever camping, road trip. On a recent trip to Los Angeles, where Jaden lives, we spent a Sunday afternoon shopping at REI to get the kind of gear an LA boy does not normally need—headlamp, hiking boots, long underwear, rain gear. It was a family outing: Dad took care of the four-year-old, ended up sitting on the camp chair demos having a pretend ...
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You Never Know

All of my outdoor life I have “been prepared”—carried my ten essentials, and then some. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Essentials has an excellent article on the importance of bringing extra gear to handle the inevitable surprises that wilderness travel presents to the backcountry wayfarer. On a recent ski trip my years of traveling with the “ten essentials plus” saved one woman’s ski trip. Friends and I were staying in a backcountry hut—a 12 kilometer ski from the trailhead, ...
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We love our Tree

We live in a bioregion that grows conifer trees—lots and lots of them. Christmas tree farms are a big business here—a kind of agricultural product. So, it feels completely natural to make the acquisition of our annual Christmas tree an outing to a tree farm. Our local tree farm has been in the same family for three generations—a casual kind of operation that allows you to take a saw and chose your own. There has ...
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One Year Later

When a beloved dies, the veil between the worlds grows thin. We have all heard some version of this. My experience is that this is true. The year since my son died unexpectedly of complications from a line-of-duty accident has been blessed with some profound an inexplicable occurrences. Last week taking a solo moonlit walk through a northwest forest an owl flew out of a tree about 5 feet away, circled my head, and landed ...
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Seven Daily Cups–loving practice in busy lives

Imagine that every day you have seven cups laid out before you that are full in the morning and empty in the evening. Each of these cups contains a marvelous and amazing libation that is comprised of just the right combination of delicious ingredients: love, attention, focus, action, kindness, gesture, and forgiveness. These are not cups to chug it down, not something we can order as “a grande double-shot soy milk hazelnut latte´,” a libation ...
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Leaving a Legacy

On November 11, 2014 I honored the first anniversary of my father’s death by spending most of the day outdoors either hiking or gardening—great loves he passed on to me. He was a man who left his wife, 4 daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren a strong legacy of determination, loyalty, hard work, and tradition. In October Christina and I spent 3 weeks traveling and teaching in Europe to celebrate the release of The Circle Way ...
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Europe– a soft autumn & full circles

From 9 October to 1 November, Ann Linnea and I have been traveling in central Europe through weeks of soft weather and incredible people-time. Landing in Brussels, we were whisked into the Belgian farmlands to visit friends and spend a day in a small, informal, circle of women…a breath upon landing. Then we trained to Cologne, Germany, and spent the rest of the weekend in Bad Honnef, near Bonn—and our education began. This would be ...
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Home to the Garden

I have just arrived home from a 10,000+ mile journey to carry our circle work further into Europe. We were royally hosted by our Belgium, German, and Austrian friends as we worked together to offer numerous workshops and gatherings that ultimately were attended by circle carriers from 14 European countries. It was an extraordinary journey. I will write more about it later. Today I am simply happy to be home on this lovely piece of ...
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