To Dance With Mountains

To Dance With Mountains

What would it look like to dance with a mountain? To be so attuned to the natural world that you could two step or swing dance with an ancient pile of rock and earth?  To live so fully in your own wild nature that you could communicate with the world in a way that makes the sky weep in understanding and the plains shiver with anticipation of what is possible when life chooses harmony over dissonance?  To figure out how to identify the part of ourselves that is akin to rivers and hilltops and soil and trees and holding that as our center point? Continue reading “To Dance With Mountains”

A Summer Day

A Summer Day

Wake up to bird song, or waves or whispering pines.  Open your eyes to the dawning of a new day, and wander toward voices when you are ready for company of the community.

Stretch your body, swim, kayak, run, hike.  Let your body move how it wants to move as the light starts to fill the sky.  Remember that you are a body and your body is you – you are partners in this life, not enemies. Continue reading “A Summer Day”

Bits of Astonishment

Bits of Astonishment

Heidi Barr

About a month ago, we pulled into the driveway after a great five days up along the north shore of Minnesota, still reveling in the tonic that is Lake Superior, anticipating a low key few days of unpacking before returning to the usual work schedule.  We ambled down the path from the garage, happy to be out of the car and walked into the house to a putrid smell and reports that the septic alarm had been going off for an indeterminate amount of time in our absence.  Awesome.  Turns out a little creature of some sort had chewed through the cord that powered the septic pump, shorting it out.  Could have been much worse.  All and all and easy fix for Nick, and we were back in business.  But the smell….remained.  For another day we pondered just what could be making the kitchen stink.  Eventually we followed some clues and found…

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These Times: Remembering the Essential

These Times: Remembering the Essential

Do you remember when there were shootings in Paris?  You probably do, it wasn’t all that long ago, and the world watched as the city of light went into lockdown and mourning.  Do you remember when a high school in a Colorado town gasped in astonishment when one of their own kids turned on his peers?  You probably do, because the world watched as the school went into lockdown and the community into mourning.  Do you remember all of the other tragic, rage-filled violent events that filled in the years between then and what has once again happened, this time in Orlando?  You probably do, at least vaguely, unless you were directly affected, in which case, you probably think about it more than you want to.  It’s not easy to forget things that are so far outside of normal life that they just seem like movies or bad dreams.

But back to…

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Mother Superior

Mother Superior

Though its waters are fresh and crystal, Superior is a sea. It breeds storms and rains and fogs, like a sea. It is cold in mid-summer as the Atlantic. It is wild, and masterful. — George Grant, 1872

Lake Superior makes her home on the earth about 120 miles northeast of my little red house in the St. Croix River Valley.  She’s vast, cold and clear, and without a bit of time spent on her shores regularly I get a little twitchy.  There’s something about the volume of deep fresh water that can refresh even the weariest of souls and balance whatever needs balancing.  After a few days sleeping next to the big lake, I usually feel like I’ve been filled up with nourishment and topped off with vitality and peace.  Conditions can be bright, sunny, and calm enough to see down into the cool blue depths as the water tempts the hardiest of us to wade until our legs go numb; or, as is usually the case, it can be damp, foggy, and chilly enough for wool sweaters as waves crash against the rocky shore.  She’s a lake of many moods, but regardless of where her mood falls on a particular day or season, she’s a healer as much as she’s an enchantress. Continue reading “Mother Superior”

What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

Alan Watts likes to ask his students, when doing career counseling, “What would you do if money were no object?” He hopes to get them thinking about what they really enjoy about life, what pursuits they truly want to devote energy toward, and how they want to spend their days.  Because after all, “what we do with our days is what we do with our lives.” (Annie Dillard)

On one hand, it is quite important to ask ourselves what we would do if we didn’t need to earn money.  When we do that, we tap into the things that drive us to align our actions with our values, we find meaning in the everyday, and we teach our children to do the same.  And a society full of people who are doing what they feel called to do is one that is setting itself up for a foundation of peace and vitality.  …

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Twin Organics: Cultivating Wildness

Twin Organics: Cultivating Wildness

Prairie Grown

Eva, my four year old, and I took a little field trip last week 50 miles to the south of our home in the St. Croix River Valley to my family’s other organic farm.  Twin Organics is located just outside River Falls, Wisconsin and is owned and operated by my twin brothers, Jacob and Andrew Helling.  Jacob and Andrew were instrumental in helping Hillside Prairie Gardens resume larger growing practices in 2010 and are now branching out to their own place to grow organic veggies for restaurants in the Twin Cities area.  They’ve rented 5 acres these last two years on what used to be a grass fed cattle operation, and they share space with a group of jovial Kenyan farmers wielding hand tools to the north and Clover Bee Farm, an organic CSA and market grower, to the east.   They won’t stay here forever, but for now, it’s the home of Twin…

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