Nature Notes: Thoughts from the TreeSong Community
Featuring Michelle Fox
I believe that each and every day is a rare and beautiful gift. I have such gratitude for each day that I’m alive to experience all that is offered. I’m grateful for the glint of sunlight on river and for the river’s ever-present rushing song; for the squawk and holler of Steller’s jay and the long, lilting melody of Pacific wren, and the wind in the trees; for the magnificent golden colors of Fall and the swirling, twirling leaves finding their way to Earth; for the joy of children, their rain boots in mud puddles and their determination to save the trees by pulling ivy, their silliness, curiosity, and unguarded approach to each moment. For friendship and love, for touch and taste and sight and sound and smell. For all these gifts I am most grateful.
I am grateful for the solid beauty of the trees, whether Douglas fir or western hemlock or the graceful western red cedar. I can’t imagine a world without these friends. And even though we’re in the middle of Fall, my mind finds itself with the Spring wildflowers. I delight so in their ephemeral beauty, the trillium, white fawn lily and bleeding heart, foxglove and delphinium, foam flower, inside-out flower and shooting star, the blossoms on the redwood sorrel, and those first flowers that come out when it’s still Winter, snow queen and spring beauty. How exciting it is to see their tiny purple faces in February letting us know that Spring really will arrive. They’re always such a hopeful sight. Now in the heart of Autumn, I revel in the brilliant colors the vine maple and big leaf maple offer up, accompanied by many of their equally splendid deciduous forest companions.
I am blessed to have the wildlife around here as kin. My mind roams to great blue heron, bald eagle, osprey, merganser and American dipper, pygmy owl (that I saw only once), and the great horned owl that just recently I’ve been hearing in the evening. Then, there are all the unseen ones that I know are here, I can feel them, sense them, and know we all share this place – black bear, red fox and coyote, cougar and bobcat. And of course there’s the black-tailed deer which I frequently see and will never take for granted, they are such graceful, beautiful creatures. There is the cheeky and delightful Douglas squirrel, along with deer mice, voles, moles and bats. And the salmon, I have fond recollections of seeing them dashing up the rapids upriver. Now I find their bodies strewn about the beach, having completed their journey from sea to home, making way for the future through their fertilized eggs and their nitrogen-rich bodies which nourish the forest. And let’s not forget the butterflies and moths – I recall the day I looked out and saw a Polyphemus moth resting on one of the cabin’s porch walls with its 5-inch wingspan, it was truly a spectacular sight – and the myriad of other insects that populate this place, like the caddisfly and the paper wasp that chisels strips of wood from the deck railings, forming them into balls and taking them away to make its nest. The wonders are vast; I’m touching on only a small fraction of the intricate web that I am a part of. What I am keenly aware of is that everything has its perfect place.
I am also deeply grateful for my relationship with the river, being able to lie on its warm, rocky shore all summer long and watch its Fall and Winter fullness, and sometimes frenetic wildness. It is such a blessing to live on this land and know a place so well, experiencing its movement through the seasons, to know its gentle yet greenly vibrant embrace as well as its stark, icy stillness. And then I realize that this is all about place, sense of place, relationship with place, and how truly powerful that is. To have roots firmly planted in Mother Earth, to have such a deep, intimate connection with one place and know its ins and outs and rhythms, its own unique personality, is truly a precious gift for which I am profoundly and forever grateful.
Founder and Executive Director of TreeSong
Michelle brings her experience as mother, teacher, massage therapist and yoga/meditation practitioner, along with her love for and knowledge of the natural world, to her joyful heart-work here at TreeSong.
“TreeSong is a 15 year dream realized. Through visiting TreeSong and delving into its offerings, I hope that folks walk away inspired, with new knowledge, and deeper connection with themselves, others and the natural world. It is my most sincere wish to pass along what I have discovered about nature’s gifts and to support others in developing a life changing relationship with the wilderness both outside and within them.”