Part two-‘You’ll never know your limits unless you push yourself to them’ – and The Pacific Crest Trail

“Sometimes in life we choose opportunities to test our limits; sometimes we must simply deal with what is.”
– Kirk Sinclair

It was August 7th, south of Crater Lake (Southern Oregon), at the end of a Humanity Hikers post I see the above words. (http://www.humanityhiker.com ) A statement that really came home for me and so I am sharing it with you on the opening of this post. It seems like a good Be Here NOW statement! Our opportunities, our limits, our possibilities — sometimes we get to choose —sometimes we don’t!

The heading for that particular post of Kirk’s was Limits. In the second paragraph of his post he says, “Occasionally at a road crossing we see an inspirational note for thru-hikers pinned up. One such note near Little Hyatt Reservoir read: “You’ll never know your limits unless you push yourself to them.”  It got Kirk to do some reflection on his past PCT hike, and now his present one with his current challenges. I will let you read his words on your own — http://www.humanityhiker.com/limits/. As for me, I can’t read that and not drift into my own thoughts — what are my limits and boundaries that I am personally and professionally pushing? What are the things I simply must accept and “deal” with? Always good to think and about. Always good to be mindful of. Always good to have some clear thoughts on. I hope you give some thoughts to your own journeys, spend a little time and labor over the thoughts, I can almost guarantee it will be time well spent. I am all for following the path and the flow, but that must be accompanied by, and with, mindfulness. The river and current do indeed glide where they want, but you direct your own boat!

In early August, two friends joined in the PCT hike (Mike and his girlfriend Jill) and they are now hiking what Kirk calls “high country.”  Skirting around “Three Fingered Jack and a long approach to the ever looming Mt. Jefferson. At one point we joked that we must be in the Twilight Zone, as we would hike around a similar looking knoll to an open view of the towering strato volcano, without it looking much closer. Only once we got to Jefferson Park did we see the mountain in its full majesty, though obscured somewhat by the haze of recent fires…My knees were aching that night from over 16,000 feet of elevation change in two days, but all together they were full days worth the cost.” The next post he mentions there was a 10,000+ feet elevation change over 22.6 miles. O.K. – let’s be real -the mileage alone is impressive! Add the elevations changes, backpacks , etc., and it is actually a bit intimidating as well as awesome! By the way, he does also say-“I foresaw lots of ibuprofen in my future.” That made me feel a teeny tiny little less sluggish and unfit! …Then again — a rain deluge falls on them. …”After about 20 minutes, the rain abated and we continued on. We first saw the beautiful results of a cloudburst. Flowers sparkled with raindrops, and mists rose like smoke from the distant valleys. Yet we were traversing the spurs of an imposing mountain. In between those spurs were creeks to be crossed, creeks now swollen from the funneled waters of a cloudburst streaming down between those spurs.” I can only imagine how beautiful that must have been!

Montage

It is now mid August (8/16) and the gang is actually on a rest day! They are at Kirk’s sister-in-laws house and getting ready to hike what is apparently the “the most remote, rugged section of trail a section in Washington State. I figure if we complete this section we’re golden.” The post is in actuality about the strange and mysterious ways the brain can work. It is called A Conundrum, and it is an interesting view into what/how actions, reactions, sights, senses, and exercise can work with our brain synopsis. (http://www.humanityhiker.com/a-conundrum/) – Very interesting and worth a read!

August 19 and they are driving up to Rainy Pass (a mountain pass on State Route 20 in the North Cascades Mountains of Washington State.) Here they are to begin the potentially most difficult section of trail. As they arrive they were greeted with an “increasing parting of the clouds. When we crested at Cutthroat Pass we witnessed what John Muir once phrased as “a new heaven and new earth” with a new panorama of steep, snowfield blotted mountains before us. So this is what the North Cascades looked like! Wow! Right up there with John Muir’s Sierra.

The North Cascades
The North Cascades

They had a forced rest day – “The trailhead bulletin board at Rainy Pass announced that three sections ahead were obstructed by blowdowns and washouts. There was a reroute around the section north of Harts Pass, but that was marked by blowdowns as well. Anticipating the worst, as is wise to do for Cindy’s affliction, we had to conclude that reaching the Canadian border might be impossible for us. We arranged for Charissa to meet us at Harts Pass for that contingency. I started thinking in terms of an incomplete thru-hike, not uncommon, as we met several thru-hikers that skipped sections that were rerouted on roads because of forest fire.” Now, you may, or may not, have been paying close attention, but this seems like a very big statement to me. Kirk goes on to say in a few days later posting, that they will indeed keep going until Thanksgiving, doing their “long hike” now (which by the ways means 2,000+ miles!!!!!), and that hopefully, next year they will return to finish up the last parts/bits they cannot complete this time around. Charissa has a cold and so is doing the support role and to boot gets a flat tire… a very scary realization that indeed rocks FALL on the road and a beach ball size rock had rolled into the road a little further down from the flat tire happening… Mike is indeed with them so I imagine that is a plus… but Cindy is in tears, “while up on that beautiful ridge, a tearful “hiking is not fun anymore.” I (Kirk) knew changes needed to be made; I (Kirk) put my arm around her and discussed what those changes would be.”  Clearly a bit of a rough ride, but there is more to come. Posted on August 24, Kirk says “All along the Stevens to Rainy Pass stretch worried me the most. This was the longest stretch with the longest climbs on our journey.” It was clearly a tough 3 or 4 days. It is much than I can do justice to with a recap- so again I provide you with the link, enabling you to read it first hand. http://www.humanityhiker.com/when-a-cold-is-good-news/ I will tell you the result was a few changes, shorter mileage days, and a rest day every 5-7 days.

This seems like a good “golden rule” to end up on at this point.

‘Our original goals have changed, but not our resolve.

And so that takes us to today — next weekend happens to be Kirks birthday. If you hike over to his site-send him your good wishes for another year of goodness and hiking.

My next post about The PCT journey willbe an interview from Diggerfoot to Kirlk.
Stay tuned!

Holidays, Alzheimers, Exercise for Brain Health Research, and the PCT

As we here in North America settle into Labor Day Weekend, I will use these “holiday days” to post a tribute to my friend, and his labors of love for his wife and their cause.

You may (hopefully) remember my post of the introduction of Diggerfoot and so my friend Kirk. Kirk, his daughter Charissa, and his wife Cindy, are hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) with, and for, Cindy’s bucket list. Cindy has Alzheimer’s. The couples core is as long distance hikers, or as they seemed to be called, thru-hikers. As a couple they have traversed the country (The Continental Divide Trail,) hiked the Appalachian Trial and this is Kirks second time on the PCT. Compleating the three is called the Triple Crown. It’s a desire of Cindy’s to have that accomplishment, matching her husbands. As Kirk so clearly stated on his website, and I want to remind you…”We will use the hike for a mission to spread Hope for Alzheimer’s.  The first avenue of hope is with Cindy’s journey, demonstrating that people with Alzheimer’s still can pursue their dreams.  The second avenue of hope is through raising awareness for how lifestyle choices can improve Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers.  The most important of these lifestyle choices is physical exercise, the only “treatment” show to halt and even reverse brain decay.  The third avenue of hope is through Exercise for Brain Health Research, for which we are raising funds.  To see how you can help us spread Hope for Alzheimer’s please visit that page.”

Cindy-and-Charissa

Flowers-Sierra2

I will take two consecutive posting here on The Botanical Beauties & Beasties site to try to recap some of what I found the enticing tidbits of info and fact from the first two months of their journey. These two postings may be a bit longer than usual, but I hope you will find them compelling and that they tempt you to connect to Kirks blog and find out more about their cause and journey. (http://www.humanityhiker.com/) ~

The hike began at Snoqualmie Pass. This pass is about 45 minutes from the Seattle Metro area and is part of Rocky Mountains. It was a little tougher than expected the hikers had a false start. From Kirk’s blog -“We spent our whole first day in the snow, also struggling to find the trail. The day never climbed above freezing…” So here in MA we were enjoying all the summer trimmings and they were in snow! For a few reasons, Kirk makes the call and they turn back. He decides “We would go further south to start our hike north to the Canadian border, precisely at Mackenzie Pass in Oregon. I also resolved that we really had two goals. One was to get Cindy the Triple Crown. The other, and more important, was to enable Cindy to enjoy life, even at the cost of the other goal.”

With this change of their plans they have created  “a “flip flop” thru-hike in order to stay away from snow and make the hiking easier for one not as sure of foot as she once was.….Our first day out from Mackenzie Pass, after first hiking through a lava field reminiscent of a moonscape, we encountered over a mile of hiking on snow, followed by burned forests littered with extensive blowdowns. This was not making hiking easy for Cindy but I made the call to go on this time because the snowfield was on gentle slopes, no steep traverses, and burned forests don’t go on forever.”

Sonora-Pass-View2
Panoramic views!

Now, they are on track, up at 10,500 feet, they have climbed out of Sonora Pass and have an amazing panoramic view. Sonora Pass northern boundary is Yosemite National Park, and it also where the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses Hwy 108 for those of you who know roads! With an elevation of 9,620 feet, it is the second highest paved pass in the Sierra Nevada range. By early July the gang is in the S. Lake Tahoe area. Kirk is running support and a self-appointed Sherpa to make this journey possible. He says in his posting that “I think is one of the most beautiful stretches along the PCT, the Desolation Wilderness.” I read that the temps are in 80’s, I haven’t read bad words about snow for a few postings now, and the trip seems to be moving along. I am glad for them.

A July posting is called Collapsing Tent Poles. Cindy is struggling with daily tasks and  towards the end of his post Kirk says- “At times like this you wonder why you would continue with this. The answers come from Cindy. We are always meeting other hikers and tell them something about what we are doing. To one group I gave the report on how exercise is the only thing shown to actually regenerate brain tissue. Cindy chimed in cheerfully: “Yep! That’s why I’m out here! …. Well, and I love hiking.” The positivity that Cindy demonstrates, and the strength they all show, is proof of the wonders of the human spirit when we, as people, need to call it up, somehow it seems to rise to the occasion! If you are mindful of it, you can witness this all the time in our daily lives. The struggles are unique to our own paths, and each one is equally important to the individual facing the challenge.

A few days later and the group is about 10 miles N. of Sierra City, headed over to hike the Sierra Buttes section of the PCT. “As we descended into Sierra City we finally got down low enough to be out of the snow.” (Amazing out here on the East coast we were enjoying a very lovely summer! Sun and no snow thank goodness!)…By mid July I am seeing posting that mentioned Cindy and her gang are hiking 20 miles a day! Impressive!

SNOW!
SNOW!

This posting is from Kirks blog on July 26, and the three hikers are back close to where they actually tried to start their hike originally. Remember that a 10 mile snowfield turned them back around to begin elsewhere!  “We were just a few miles into the Three Sisters Wilderness…As we tackled this section south of Mackenzie Pass on July 22 there were no ten mile snowfields. Indeed, I failed to remember how spectacular the scenery was through here, a source of continual awe were it not for being focused on the footpath. The lava fields made for some tough footwork for Cindy, as did the snowfields. For though they did not last for ten miles the patches occurred frequently over such a length.” Day two of that section, and thunderstorms hit…rain, drizzle, and cold, created this sentence. “All rain gear not made of rubber, to my knowledge, have a saturation point. Ours had reached that in the continuing rain. Wet and cold, I knew Cindy faced hypothermia conditions. After only three miles I knew I had to find a campsite soon.” As expected, they weathered the storm … one of the most heart warming moments in my readings of Kirk’s post is what he wrote after setting up a campsite, cold, wet, and in that storm – “This was the essence of us as a couple: content in our sleeping bags after a day’s hike, weathering the storm. This was normal for us; the way things should be. I looked over at Cindy and absorbed the music, knowing just how fleeting such “normal” moments now are. I wanted to freeze and hold onto that moment forever.”  http://www.humanityhiker.com/weathering-the-storm/  As Kirk stated, the experience had created a new normal and they had gotten thru it all. An interesting question for us to think about. That concept of “normal” and how it is really a very wide dynamic range for most of us and pretty much most of the time! Do you have a new “normal”? Is yours ever evolving? I know mine is.

So I will end this post here – and in a day or two, I will ”recap” the best I can the August postings! Catching us all up-to-date, and hopefully a little more “aware.”

As I write those words, I can’t help but also be reminded of all the awareness that the Ice Bucket Challenge has brought to the ALS issue. There are so many important places, things, and issues that call for our attention and awareness these days!

 “Slowly, I witness the constants in my life fade around me. All things must pass. I just wish we could have more control in the manner of their passing.” – Kirk Sinclair

 

Meet Diggerfoot – A Pacific Northwest Guy!

This is the first installment about my friend Kirk, who with his wife Cindy, and their daughter Charissa, are hiking The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT.) That translates into that they are hoping to hike from the Canadian border to the Mexican Border! To me, this alone is amazing. But wait, there’s more….

…I met Kirk and we become friends thru our connections/websites/beliefs about kindness. On that note, when Kirk told me about his upcoming long distance hike and its purpose I knew I wanted to help out if I could. A unique and fun way for me to pitch in is to share some of Kirk’s words about their adventures, adding a twist in my own way. Naturally, this translates into getting The Botanical Beauties and Beasties involved and sharing it with you all, my readers. As to the purpose of the hike —these words are Kirks own words that were posted before they actually left the East Coast for the West…

 “Our daughter Charissa, Cindy and I will hike the 2666 mile Pacific Crest Trail, starting this June 15.  This will complete the Triple Crown of long distance hiking for Cindy, the top item on her bucket list as she deals with her early onset Alzheimer’s.  In the coming months the blog posts will focus on both Alzheimer issues and the PCT adventure.

We will use the hike for a mission to spread Hope for Alzheimer’s.  The first avenue of hope is with Cindy’s journey, demonstrating that people with Alzheimer’s still can pursue their dreams.  The second avenue of hope is through raising awareness for how lifestyle choices can improve Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers.  The most important of these lifestyle choices is physical exercise, the only “treatment” show to halt and even reverse brain decay.  The third avenue of hope is through Exercise for Brain Health Research, for which we are raising funds.  To see how you can help us spread Hope for Alzheimer’s please visit that page.”

To, that end-I have created a new Pacific Northwest Botanical Beautie. I am delighted to introduce Diggerfoot. Named after Kirk himself, created from true Western trail plants (Thanks to one of my other amazing friends, Susan Nolde!) In future installments we will hopefully learn how Kirk, and now this newfound Botanical, got the trail name of Diggerfoot!

DiggerFoot with ID Labels
Diggerfoot! This image is actually a rare occurrence where I am showing you the Plant ID of Diggrfoots “parts.” Special THANKS to Susan Nolde for these original plant images and the ID’s!

During the 5 months or so that the hikers will be out, Botanical Diggerfoot will be interviewing Human Kirk. He will be answering some of Diggerfoots (and mine) ever pressing, and hopefully interesting, questions. If you have a question for Kirk too, feel free to email it me, and it will get asked as well!  The questions will range from humorous, to plain logistics about this kind of hike, to the seriousness of the cause at times. We will get to see these post as time for the interview process goes, and connectivity to the NW Mountains goes too!  You can follow the trios adventures closely by following Kirks Blog at  http://www.humanityhiker.com/ to keep up on the hike, its trials, tribulations, success and beauty. I find the reading fascinating, as this kind of hiking is so far removed from my realities, and inspirational as well.  Its heart warming to again see what people do for their loved ones and as well watching people follow their dreams. I am pretty sure you will empathize and learn a bit about the unfair and unjust disease of Alzheimer. It’s shocking to learn that every 67 seconds someone in this country is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, with over five million total now being afflicted, likely including someone you know. This degrading, terminal disease with no known cure causes more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined, while robbing a person’s memories and ability to function in the process.

And, BTW, yes, they are indeed off and hiking! After a few false starts they seem to be sorted out and being able to work on the process of making this journey an amazing one. Diggerfoot will share his first interview very soon!

 

Growing, people and our business

A few weekends ago we (that would be I and the gang of Botanical Beauties) were off again to a pretty special little town called Sharon Springs NY.

First, a heartfelt thanks and a nod to Cobbler & Co. located on Historic Main Street in Sharon Springs. They are now on the list of places you can walk into a brick and mortar store and buy Botanical Beauties & Beasties cards! It is a delightful store filled with wonderful treasures. Straight from their website- “Cobbler & Co. is a twelve-room eclectic gift shop. We offer an ever-changing array of gifts for you, your family, your friends, your home and garden and all of your entertaining needs...Take a look around our store and remember, we can ship anywhere!” (www.cobblerandcompany.com/index.html If you find yourself in that neck of the country I highly recommend a visit. For that matter, there are quiet a few stops worthy in Sharon Springs and the nearby environs.

Botanical Cards in the store.
Our cards displayed in the Cobbler & Co. card room. Hurrah!

Which brings me to Sharon Springs generally. The 2,000 census counted the population  as 547!  Sharon Springs NY is up in the Mohawk Valley, not too far from Cooperstown for you baseball fans. The countryside is beautiful, the wonderful Adirondack Park and Catskill Mountains are close by borders giving you some idea of its beauty. The ride is about 3 hours for me, the people I meet are always warm and friendly, meaning both the town folks and the fair attendees. Although I am lucky to even get close to breaking even when I am done with gas, lodging, fees etc I find myself returning each time. Why? What draws me to these shows 2x a year? The annual Garden Party (as the spring show is called) and the Harvest Festival (as the Fall show is named)- it seems like a crazy idea to keep going? So, why do I keep returning?

All this brings me to the words of hope, fascination, and charm. I think these may be the hidden charms of Sharon Springs?  There is something a bit intangible about it all, but it is contagious. I never know whom I will meet, but they are inevitably interesting people at these festivals. Some of it is plan old small town living, some of it is who these festivals draw in, and some of it Sharon Springs and its community. Granted, The Beekman Boy’s name is behind these fairs, it was fairly predominate, now it is a bit obscured. (Their FB page.) As a matter of fact, ETSY will be running the fair in the fall, so well see how that plays out. Regardless, The Beekman Boys are still a “draw” and fans come out to play!  There is a tour their home (a separate but planned extra if you so wish) and a fun array of other scheduled events happening on these weekends. For sure, it is a fun “weekend get-away” for many. I have decided to add to my weekend routine…after the arts fair is over on Saturday, I walk over (about 500 steps) and have a lovely cool cocktail on the amazing front porch of the American Hotel. Totally relaxing after a long day.  One never knows who might turn up there to chat with, and I like that! It is what I consider a quintessential front porch, and I met the nicest folks last time.

The American Hotel

Part of what is fascinating about Sharon Springs NY is its history. Here is a brief glimpse.  At one point, about 1836-1860, Sharon Springs was well know for its mineral water spa, with multiple large grand hotels and boardinghouses. By 1841, the village had become world-famous as the social elite came to take the waters. Magnificent large hotels and forest-like parks graced the village landscape. During the second half of the 19th Century, Sharon Springs was home to over sixty hotels and rooming houses accommodating over 10,000 visitors each summer. By the early 1900s… the summer clientele with the influx of European visitors (had become) primarily from Judaic tradition.” (more info.)  “Thanks to its sulfurmagnesium, and chalybeate mineral springs, Sharon Springs grew into a bustling spa during the 19th century. At the peak of its popularity, Sharon Springs hosted 10,000 visitors each summer, including members of theVanderbilt family and Oscar Wilde (who gave a lecture at the now-demolished Pavilion Hotel on 11 August 1882).” (more info) Sharon Springs also had a great location – in the 1800s two major paths (turnpikes and canals)  were constructed and Sharon was connected to Albany as well as larger cities like NYC easily. Farmers with cash crops of wheat and hops were now well positioned to thrive. To add to the good fortune of Sharon, the Delaware and Hudson Railroad open a spur thru Sharon, and the age of the spa was pretty well golden! Eventually, as family (and so spa and hotel proprietors) aged, fires, a hops blight, Prohibition, plus a few more national factors, Sharon Springs thriving success was brought to a halt. Here’s an interesting tidbit According to a NYT article (26 August 2000) “After World War II, Sharon Springs got a second wind from the West German government, which paid medical care reparations to Holocaust survivors, holding that therapeutic spa vacations.” More info.) In 1994 Sharon Springs, and its Spa-related structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places and Sharon Springs became a Historic District. The walking tour and the accompanying plaques were created to guide visitors through our history. The plaques showcase the many buildings, some still remaining, some long gone and put them in their historical context.” (Here is  a link to a brief, but complete  story of the fascinating history of Sharon Springs. More info. 

In todays, world Sharon Springs is again picking its self up and seems to be a story of revitalization.  There are charming stores and delicious restaurants to peruse and enjoy.  It appears that growing communities of artisans (both material and culinary) are living, and moving to the area…and don’t forget-I always seem to meet nice people there! Need a break? Try out a visit during the Fall Festival Sept. 20 & 21, 2014: Arts, countryside, amazing food, fun, frolic, and pretty much guaranteed a pleasant time.

Sharon Springs Collage

Are they all Beauties? Is their a Beast?

Beauty and the Beast?
Beauty and the Beast?

I have been thinking about water, waves, the sounds of the waves, the oceans roar, and then back to the stillness that water can have. The ebb and flow of it all. It’s almost magical how the water flows in and out of the sea onto the sand, continually restoring itself, and laps up on the shore again. Continual replenishment!  If only it were that easy for us. Maybe it is? The other two big topics on my mind lately are happiness and friendships. The connection to all this is I actually got to go to the beach/ocean, and share three days with three wonderful friends. We laughed a lot, and a few tears were shed as well. Some were caused because we were laughing so hard, and some were of sadness – all were water!  All good. All cleansing. All replenishing to the soul. It was truly a respite for us all- the ocean, the warmth, the love of such close friends, the good times, the sounds, the sunshine, even the rain, the whole “ball of wax.” It took us almost 2 years to finally make that weekend happen- it was worth the wait. (Thanks to- you know who you are! ) The above large Horseshoe Crab had washed up to the shore along with about 15 others- I have never seen anything quite like it? All within about 50 feet of each other, and only in that one spot? We were wondering if they were all coming ashore to lay eggs? Again, the cycles of the water, the ocean. How odd that these animals had to bump, jostle and wait for the next wave to make their way to the beach sand. I’m sure their is a life analogy in that somewhere!

Added to the top layer of the above image is another image- this one of a 17th century piece/fountain head- spouting water. The face made me smile for the expression of the eyes, and eyebrows are most amazing. And yet, it fits- it somehow all ties into the fluidity of life, the water that we all need to sustain ourselves. The flow, the rhythm, the cold, the hot, the ocean, the water glass, the shower, the cup of tea/coffee, the waves, the sounds-and back to the oceans roar. An amazing face, a spiky crab, and Moe (Minister of Clean Water in my magical land of Botaniumaus.) All beauties to me…but as we know-Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! I am pretty sure the same is true for sounds.  Crashing, jumping, or gentle waves-sounds that truly soothe my soul. What’s your soul soothing sound?

Spring has finally sprung! Can you find the sun?

We had very dreary week here in MA. last week, but I am a happy to say that the sun HAS come out again! It’s hard not to acknowledge the analogy to life here and that hopefully the sun does come out again from whatever clouds are on top of you at any given time. As for me, the endless days of grey really seemed to affect my psyche, and it appeared to me that was true for many people/friends I spoke with as well.  The good news is the sun is out again, showing its sunny bright self for a few days now. To honor the sun, and the (finally) arrival of spring, todays post shall be a photo collage I am calling Hurrah it’s Spring! The photos are all from todays sunny Sunday wonderful dog walk with a wonderful friend – whom I want to give a shout out to for all the friendship and support we pass back and forth, don’t know what I would do without you! For that matter while I thinking about it, it’s a good time to thanks ALL my wonderful friends and family for all everyone does. There are pieces of me that would be lost without each one of you. Spring seems to be a good time to give a nod to all those we treasure. Something about buds bursting, shoots popping up, colors reappearing, streams flowing again, and that ever so luscious feel of sun on my skin after a long winter. I hope everyone has a moment or two to notice the sun, the blossoms, the flowers, the glorious colors, dancing yellow Willow trees, and I couldn’t  resist adding the cows. I will call them The Cummerbund Cows, who appear to be enjoying the spring grass! We can all enjoy and rejoice in the beauty of nature and springtime …and…. THANK GOODNESS FOR THE SUN AGAIN!
The Beauties & Beasties, and myself,  hope the sun is shinning on your days.  (Check out that cow on the far right- looking at me looking at them!)

Springtime
Some of the wonders of Spring!

Potential, the number 4 – and the connection to Earth Day is?

Wellie and the full of potential number 4.
Wellie and the full of potential number 4.

Wellie is all about health, mental and physical health….it therefor seems right that he is the “featured” Botanical Beautie this week, with the letter 4, and ready to take off! He’s off to reach some new potential! Least not forget- HAPPY EARTH DAY!

The number 4:

  • Earth, Air, Fire, Water
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Native Americans Medicinal Wheel embodies 4 directions
  • Stages of our lives – birth, youth, adult and elder
  • East, West, North, South
  • 4 Phases of the Moon (new, half-moon waxing, full, half-moon waning)
  • …And a few more I just taught myself in doing a little reading for this post.
    The Four Noble Truths epitomize Buddhism. ***
  • To the Pythagoreans 4 was the source of the tetractys 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10, the most perfect number. ***
  • In medieval times there were thought to be four humours (phlegm, blood, choler, and black bile—hence the adjectives phlegmaticsanguinecholeric, and melancholic), and the body was bled at various places to bring these humours into balance. ***
  • Four types of animal (ground movers, flyers, four-legged, and two-legged.)***http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1086220/number-symbolism/248161/4

Four is todays topic, the 4 seasons, and specifically SPRING! The season that’s full of potential. The ground is exploding with new grass, flowers and multitudes of all sorts of “burst” of life. For many of us we have been less energetic for the past season, the skies have often been grey, and the temps were cold. All that is gently and beautifully changing. I love the spring-that amazing willow light green on the trees as the buds and leaves appear, the wonderful joyous visions of flowers peeping out and blooming again, the SUN with the longer days and warmer temps. It’s all so yummy!  A friend, in the last year or so, made me aware of the Taoist Seasons and it fascinates me. Spring is the season of WOOD. OK, makes sense on some logical levels to me, wood, trees, branches become covered again, roots coming alive, and all those other woodland flora and fauna coming to life with wood involved in so many ways…. But here’s closer to what it really means.

The Wood Elements: The power of Wood is gentle, persistent, and filled with creative potential. It has the power of both being and becoming—of being true to your own nature and becoming more yourself by clearly expressing your inner needs and desires. Wood gently penetrates the earth to bring forth water, the source of all life.  Drawing from our roots, we find the energy to push forward with strength and firmness of purpose, always remaining supple, yielding, and true to our nature.

The Wood element’s climate is windy; its direction is East (“Beginning and creation arise in the East”); and its power is experienced most intensely between 11:00 pm and 3:00 am.

The color associated with Wood is green; its odor is rancid; and its sound is shouting.

http://fiveelementhealing.net/spring-the-season-of-renewal-the-element-of-wood/

 

It’s often said, Spring is a time of new beginnings, or maybe of renewals. April also brings us EARTH DAY tomorrow, so, lets combine to two. Reclaim, Reduce, Recycle, ReThink, if needed-ReDo.

Reclaim – in this case your muscles! Get out and up and MOVE. It’s bad enough to be a slug in the winter, but it’s worse in the spring!
ReDuce– ever heard of Spring Cleaning…ha ha; of course you have. Now, the trick is to sort and reduce not just move the stuff around. That would be in your home. In your Mind. And don’t forget, in your Body too!
ReUse/Recycle: repurpose what you can – toss the rest…again- literal and psychologically. (Remember all those posting about “letting go“- practice! )
Rethink: Grudges and resentments are indigestible and cause stress. Practice forgiveness.
ReDO. Take a risk, rethink and do something new! Remember a small seed can turn into a mighty tree! Go of it! Feel the potential and RUN with it (not walk but RUN, well at least skip!)

Water, spring, March 31? “Liquid Courage” – What am I talking about?

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9446-it-s-time-for-liquid-courage
 Follow/Click this link http://thndr.it/1fCgxy4  for a GREAT piece of media!

The Nature  Conservancy screen shot

 

Direct from The Nature Conservancy page….

“It’s time to talk about water! That’s right, water.
That strange drinkable liquid that’s not coffee or alcohol. Because while 70% of the world is covered by water, only 0.03% is accessible and drinkable. It takes guts to take on the global challenge we face and create a social movement to demand change – So it’s time for a little Liquid Courage.
The Nature Conservancy has launched “Liquid Courage” – a new kind of campaign showcasing what can be done to protect and preserve the water that powers every element of our lives. But we know we can’t do this alone. We need your help in raising the profile of The Nature Conservancy’s work in the water space to expand our efforts in the right direction, and ultimately help ensure a more sustainable future for you, your legacy, and your planet.

Join us on March 31st when we release a digital tidal wave across social platforms and get the conversation (and the water) flowing.”  –https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9446-it-s-time-for-liquid-courage

_

It takes ALL of us to help each other, ourselves and our planet!  The World needs us…please help.

Moe image- Minister of Clean water
Lets all work for World Clean Water

Moe want to remind you…These are from the Water Use it Wisely site –   100+ WAYS TO CONSERVE   (http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/?view=list)

How about 3 new ones and act on them!
I picked #7 in the Kitchen, and #5 and #8 in the bathroom. Let me know in the comments section which ones you choose!

INDOOR TIPS

KITCHEN
  1. #1 There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
  2. #2 When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  3. #3 Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Now, Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy.
  4. #4 If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  5. #5 Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  6. #6 Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  7. #7 Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
  8. #8 Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  9. #9 Don’t use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
  10. #10 Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
  11. #11 Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  12. #12 Reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup, it’s one more way to get eight glasses of water a day.
  13. #13 Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
  14. #14 Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary.
  15. #15 If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  16. #16 Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water house plants.
  17. #17 When shopping for a new dishwasher, use the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

LAUNDRY ROOM

  1. #18 When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  2. #19 Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.
  3. #20 When shopping for a new washing machine, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some can save up to 20 gallons of water per load.
  4. #21 Have a plumber re-route your greywater to trees and plants rather than the sewer line. Check with your city and county for codes.
  5. #22 When buying a washer, check the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

BATHROOM

  1. #23 If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a WaterSense® labeled model.
  2. #24 Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  3. #25 Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
  4. #26 Toilet leaks can be silent! Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year.
  5. #27 Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving 
    gallons.
  6. #28 When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
  7. #29 Upgrade older toilets with water-saving WaterSense® labeled models.
  8. #30 If your toilet flapper doesn’t close properly after flushing, replace it.
  9. #31 Use a WaterSense® labeled showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
  10. #32 Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
  11. #33 If your toilet was installed before 1992, purchasing a WaterSense® labeled toilet can reduce the amount of water used for each flush.
  12. #34 Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
  13. #35 Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your 
    razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.
  14. #36 Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month.
  15. #37 When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
  16. #38 Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water.
  17. #39 Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
  18. #40 Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time.
  19. #41 Look for WaterSense® labeled toilets, sink faucets, urinals and showerheads.
  20. #42 One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and shower-heads for leaks.
  21. #43 While you wait for hot water, collect the running water and use it to water plants.

GENERAL INDOOR

  1. #44 Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  2. #45 Watch the Home Water Challenge video or use the Home Water Audit Calculator to see where you can save water.
  3. #46 When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most.
  4. #47 Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
  5. #48 Play fun games while learning how to save water!
  6. #49 Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
  7. #50 Learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks.
  8. #51 Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
  9. #52 Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  10. #53 Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
  11. #54 Hire a GreenPlumber® to help reduce your water, energy, and chemical use.
  12. #55 Be a leak detective! Check all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
  13. #56 We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses.
  14. #57 See a leak you can’t fix? Tell a parent, teacher, employer, or property manager, or call a handyman.
  15. #58 At home or while staying in a hotel, reuse your towels.
  16. #59 Make suggestions to your employer or school about ways to save water and money.
  17. #60 Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  18. #61 See how your water use stacks up to others by calculating your daily water use.

Olympics…and the gold medal goes to…

Zoie Figure Skating Zoie, surprising no one that knows her, wins the Olympic Gold in the enchanted land of Botaniumaus for Kindness to the Earth! Her specialties are Toe Picks of Woodlands (above), Swizzles of river streams, and Double Axel Jumps of land and air! Her favorite short program is the Free Dance. To see a complete Bio of Zoie click here…(bottom of page.)

Is your Self Mold intact?

Breaking out of the mold
Breaking out of the mold

There are Jello molds, mold spores, molds for objects, and molds for just about everything. This post is about how we have molded, and continue to mold ourselves. The ‘self’ mold has to posses both rigid strength as well as ultimate flexibility and flow. Pretty tough to do at times. I state the obvious-we are entering the winter months. A time we often ‘hunker down’ and take stock of ourselves inside and out. According to Taoism, the winter is the season of the Water Element. (This is why todays illustration of Breaking out of your mold is featuring Moe, Minister of Clean Water.) At first the concept of winter as the water season was puzzling to me, but as I have pondered it for about a year now it is making more sense. The quote below is from The 5 Elements in Taoism. 

” Water is the energy phase associated with winter, when the Yin force is prevalent. The winter is a time of rest and quiet, when energy is saved, gathered, condensed, conserved and stored. Water is a very concentrated element containing great potential, a great power waiting to be liberated. In the human body water is associated with essential fluids like hormones, lymphatic liquids, marrow, enzymes, all with great energetic potential. Its color is black or midnight blue. It is the color that contains all the other colors in concentrated form. In nature, water evaporates under excess heat; in human beings water’s energy disperses because of excess stress and strong emotions. The way to conserve water’s energy is with quiet and rest, by staying “cold”.  http://www.healing-tao.com.br/en/alchemy/elements.htm

 

As we approach the winter, the cold, the still, the frozen water, our personal work should be well in progress. Our personal mold may indeed need some shaping, that’s where the flexibility and flow comes in. We may need to change a piece of the mold, we may need to remix and/or reshape a chunk of the mold, or maybe the mold is broken and needs some repair. Only you know. It’s all ok, it’s all part of our every changing lives, your story.  One of the great things I learned in yoga this week, where this mold idea was planted for me, is that no matter what has chipped, eroded or weakened in/on your personal mold, at the core of your mold is your spirit and no one can hopefully ever take that away. So get out those chisels, those picks and reshapers and have a go at it! Nothing is static and really, neither are you.

In Chinese philosophy (Taoism, Daoism)  “Nothing in the Universe is fixed, static or non moving; per se everything is transforming all the time…” http://www.nationsonline.org

 

PS: Remember, the next season is Spring- it is explosive with energy and potential! Enjoy the rest of winter, you are realize you are just getting ready for the Spring! It is called The Wood phase and is all about expansion, happiness and is explosive!

It’s time to let go.

It is now mid to late fall…and it’s time to let go of 2013 “garbage and badness.” Baffled? What Ollie and I are talking about are the parts of the year you don’t need anymore. The ones that no longer serve a purpose, they may be bad times, they may even be good times but with parts that need to go, or maybe you are just done with them. Maybe you NEED to be done with them, and you have been resisting?  With the ever looming holiday season quickly upon us, the time to do the work is NOW. Clean out your mind, your life, get set up for a fresh 2014.  We all know that this doesn’t happen overnight, making it another good reason to start now. Sure, you can do the obvious like a deep clean of your physical house and that’s a good start. But lets be real, clutter is clutter, and mind clutter is even worse than house clutter. Mind clutter keeps you from doing things you may need to do, want to do, dream of doing, but are too “cluttered up,” therefore stuffed and stifled stopped you. It happens to all of us, so try not to feel too bad about it. There are many parts to this mind/life cleaning. It’s much harder than house cleaning…it often takes more courage. You most defiantly will need to discard some things, and you still have to take responsibility for them. Pay attention. Sit down and do the needed work. You will then be able to start the new season with a freshness. Winter is the time where we tend to slow down and regroup. Just like the earth, we rejuvenate our roots…. Why would you possibly want to wait until Jan 1, to do this? How about having a truly fresh start at the calendar new year. That means, no more hemming and hawing. THIS is the time. Act like a tree, drop off those old leaves and get ready, make room, for new ones. It seems fitting that Ollie – Minister of Truth delivers this message with me…. Ollie and falling leaves