New Year Epiphanies  

A stone the earth gave me today.

The first month of 2023 has been a whirlwind of work, windfalls of understanding, and, dare I say, wisdom?

I just returned from a six-week consultation at Vera Eco Resort. Last year I started my own business, Renegade Consulting, which was primarily for cheese making and butchery and has evolved into more of what my heart wanted. I realized a few months ago my purpose is to work for the earth’s well-being. My expertise: sustainable food systems are the perfect means to that end. 

When I left the U.S. 15 years ago, self-sustainability was the goal. Note that self comes first in that term. My new perspective is reversed. Earth first. How can I best serve the planet?  It may seem like semantics, but it’s a change in my thinking that created a significant shift in the way I feel and how I approach my life.   

 My grandmother, Alice Klinzman, counter-crossed stitched a series of angels for her five grandchildren. Each angel she created had a name, Angel of Hope, Guardian Angel–mine is Earth Angel. As a teenager, I wondered why, other than it was redheaded, she chose it for me. Now I know, she knew me before I knew myself.

In December, I intended to edit and repost some of my favorite posts. I haven’t gotten to that due to my consulting project, but I started thinking of it when I returned home last weekend. This post and its poem came to mind first.  I am amazed when I remember how many of the phrases, though they seem like metaphors, actually occurred and how clearly the intent remains the same. 

I have gone to the woods, and I’m not coming back

Until I can speak with stones.   

I recite my poem: Speak with Stones

Let’s Take a Walk

I am blessed with a trail on the land next to my house. The man we bought our home from still owns the property next to us, and he allowed me to create a path around it. It takes about 10 minutes to walk, but it’s easy to wander out well after that.

Walk. This word is for me a spell, the action a rite.

I am a Walker, not for exercise: for thought, connection, and growth.

When I suffer, I walk as if I am kissing the earth with my steps, as we were taught by Thich Nhat Hanh. My bare feet touching the ground heal me. When I cannot feel joy, I can find it through the soles of my feet, from the earth, the sky, the wind, all of life around me. When I feel lost, when my loved ones are not enough to hold my heart, I have my feet and the earth. They are always enough.

Grounding, is part of the process, but the forward movement is essential as well. And the sunlight, the wind. Dr. Andrew Huberman agrees with me. It isn’t just abbyscience. He prescribes a walk or jog, outside in sunlight upon rising for the best brain function.

I thought when I moved close to the ocean I would want to walk on the beach every day, but I still prefer the woods, I like shade and birdsong. I like to see animals going about their business. There are of course birds and animals on the beach, but it feels different to me, I guess it’s the Midwesterner in me that still prefers green to blue.

My pampered pups Pirate, Tigger and Chica

-harvesting congo chilies on my walk this morning

I logged hundreds of hours on Chicago streets, finding treasure in garbage, my creative flow stemmed directly from my feet on the pavement.

I memorized 52 poems in 2016 while walking the Cero Frio in Mexico. I mourned my father walking that mountain, and I lost my beloved Bear there. But, I had hundreds of deep work walks there with her too. Walking is not a cure for hardship, it’s a balm, and can be therapy when applied regularly.

I wrote three books while walking, putting them to paper was the outcome of the actual work that occurred while walking. I have received real magic from the earth as I place my feet, one in front of the other upon her.

-my spirit animal, red dragonfly, resting in my hand

I know the earth is alive and sentient. I have felt it, heard it, talked to it, received care, support, and inspiration from it.  If you haven’t visited her lately, she misses you.

Are you a walker, a surfer, a gardener? How do you touch the earth? I’d love to hear your stories of earth magic.