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Three Principles

If January was a sieve that helped me sift through the aftereffects of the holidays and sitting on a criminal jury, then February is a hibernating bear in a dark cave where I’ve pinned the photograph of the Hoh River Valley and Rainforest (shown above) for quiet contemplation.

Step inside the photo with me. Here is the river that descends from Mt. Olympus glacier and finds its way to the Pacific Ocean where salmon and trout begin their journey to spawn. Here is a glimpse of the maple, spruce, cedar, fir, and hemlock forest that benefits from 100+ inches of rainfall a year. The understory is thick with berries, fern, fungi, moss and lichen. Even though you can’t see them in the photograph, know that bear, elk, cougar, grouse, garter snake, bald eagle, osprey, owl, robin, banana slug, centipede, spider, and many others live here. It’s quiet and at night, it’s dark.

I took this photograph on the last day of a retreat I was assisting in June 2022. I asked myself, what did I want for my life? At the time, I wrote down three principles. Now in this dark cave of February, I’m offering them up to you so that we can all emerge in spring with a good start.

Love the Land. This can be translated as working with the land and it can include growing food, clearing trails, collecting garbage, planting natives to support local wildlife, and tending to wild spaces that need protection. For example, I’ve volunteered with Audubon San Diego to restore the nesting grounds of the endangered Western Snowy Plover. They say our efforts make a difference. Working with the land can be an act of love.

Share the Love. I don’t mind being out on the trail by myself, but sharing time in the natural world with others is a true gift. The math makes sense too–four eyes are better than two when spotting hawks or identifying animal tracks–and hugging a huge grandmother tree is easier when three friends reach around! Cause No Harm. Do you have the same dream that I do to live and work in such a way that causes the least harm to the Earth? I think it’s possible if we spend more time loving the land and sharing the love with each other.

Take time this month to contemplate whatever teachings are coming forth from time spent in the natural world. My guess is, you’ve received a lot of wisdom and it’s just a matter of reflecting and hunkering down like a hibernating bear in a dark cave.

I’ll be co-leading three trips into the Hoh River Valley and Rainforest this summer and I’d love for you to join me so you can experience it yourself.

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