Last Days

29 October 2019

I know that these are my last few days in these woods. I’m not superstitious but a part of me believes I need to make the most of my last couple days. Exploring every last inch of the woods, returning to all of my old places, centering myself as much as possible, taking in every sense of the spaces around me. It is a bittersweet feeling, knowing I won’t be able to come down to these woods every day, but also knowing that this forest has been a home to me for this last season of my life.

I can’t help shake an anxious feeling as I walk and pause in these woods—anticipation for my next steps, nervousness for new responsibilities, excitement for all my opportunities. Somehow, though, the woods are still able to provide a sense of calming and grandeur that only the woods can. And I know I will be okay.

❊ Lauren Nicole Geiser ❊

Nature is all around

October 29, 2019 Jim Schenk

I did quigong, an exchange of energy. I felt the sense of belonging, being part of the woods. The amazing oak tree excepting my released energy and sharing the energy of the woods. Not much more can be said.

As I left the woods, I looked up at our house and the houses around it and it brought up the awareness that it is nature too.  There is nothing on this planet that is not nature. It is all part of Earth which is basically what I understand as the definition of nature. We, and everything around us is natural. We can’t create anything that isn’t. We can experience nature anywhere we go, in ourselves as nature, and everything around us, whatever it may be. It is all Earth. We just have to stop and be present to it.

The woods are a constant

15 October 2019

         This morning as I was walking through the woods well-covered by my several layers of sweatshirts and coats, it dawned on me that all throughout history of humanity, people have walked throughout the woods. However, in those times they would have been covered by layers such as animal skins and furs. In earlier times, even before America was settled by the Europeans, the natives walked throughout the woods every day of their lives as a way of survival. The woods was where they slept, where they worked, where they played. In these areas of the land, they got their food from the woods and spent all of their time in the woods. This was simply how they survived.

         These days, people tend to survive using other means. Most people work at jobs in an office or building where they make money to pay for what they need, whether that be a house or food or heating. Many people spend their free time elsewhere, such as at a gym or on a computer or at a bar. This is just how people survive. However, people these days still retreat back to the woods as a form of rejuvenation. The woods feel healing to us in these days of cubicles and dollars and screens. The woods seem to be a constant in the lives of humans whether from the early days or now. While there may be several very different ways to survive, there seems to be only one real way to rejuvenate and live—and you can find that in the woods.  

❊ Lauren Nicole Geiser ❊

We are Earth, even if unaware

October 15, 2019

My mind wondered around, thoughts of personal events outside the woods while going back to thoughts and experience of the woods – the birds singing, the trees still green, leaves dropping, the breeze quietly blowing through. And, all of a sudden I became aware of the noises in the background, the human noises of traffic and equipment grinding away. What an amazing affect we have had on Earth. But the reality struck me, we are Earth.  That is who we are. Our difficulty is that we have forgotten that. We have placed ourselves away in four walls, on highways and concrete all around. However, these to are purely Earth. We surround ourselves with Earth, because that is who we are and what we have access to. But we forget. And we forget the music of the woods, the sounds of the whales, the power of valcanos and Earth Quakes – unless we are in them. We forget that we are Earth and totally dependent on being Earth. And because of this we forget about the wonder of Earth. We forget the magic and mystery that we are honored to be a part. And so we objectify the Earth, when in fact it is subject. It is us. Jim Schenk

Nature is always stronger

8 October 2019

            Today was my first time in the woods in a couple weeks, due to my ankle injury after falling off a tree in these very same woods. It was a beautiful day—a calm, early fall evening. The temperature was perfect, the air felt fresh, no bugs were biting, the sun was gleaming—it felt wonderful to be back. Even though I was only gone a short time, the woods felt completely different. I left in late summer when the sun was sweltering, the soil was dry, and the bugs were inescapable. But now all that has changed, and I found myself enjoying every little aspect. I even had to admire the grandiose nature of these woods. Over the summer I have gotten comfortable here, finding my own place and making myself at home in these woods. But today the nature of this planet was reestablished to me as the leader. I am only one small individual in a finite population of one species on this planet, but nature is everywhere… and no matter how strong we become or how comfortable we get, nature is always stronger, and has complete control over my life.

❊ Lauren Nicole Geiser ❊

The place to be

October 8, 2019

A beautiful, calm, crisp day. A little rain made the leaves less crisp to walk on, but not enough rain to make the creek flow. It was nice having Lauren back being the woods with me.

I felt enfolded in the woods; the birds, the trees, plants, squirrels, air, the sun on my face. I felt that this was the center of what is important. This was the place to be, to see, to feel, to allow the mind to rest. This was the place. And I was honored.

Jim Schenk

It’s an Honor

Sept 24, 2019

What an honor.  What an honor to be alive at this time in history. The oak tree I am under, the birds that are singing, the grasses that are growing, the rocks and soil – all are here right now as I am.  We make up the present Earth community in our woods, a woods we share. To be so honored brings on a strong need for appreciation and for thankfulness.  For 76 years I have lived a luxurious lifestyle. All my basic needs have been met. I have done work I love. I have the honor of all the plants and fellow animals that have graced my life. I have human friends and loved ones that surround me. I have a body that has functioned, while not perfectly, extremely well.  It is a true honor to be here, now. It is an honor to say thank you.

Jim Schenk

The woods continue to amaze me

Sept 17, 2019

The woods continue to amaze me. Today I returned to my favorite spot. Along the way, though, the hillsides were covered in a delicate white flower that wasn’t there this time last week. It was a beautiful sight, a sign that summer is still ever abundant as fall peeks its head around the corner. Last week though, the hillsides were covered in a tall, bright yellow flower, blooming on every which side. This sight, too, was beautiful. The weeks previous, neither the white nor the yellow flowers were blooming. Instead, the ornamental tall grass with the fuzzy seed pods were dominating the hillsides, which was indeed beautiful. Every week seeing these beautiful blooms I have thought that maybe this was the end of  summer. But every week continues to amaze me. And even though the end of summer is rapidly approaching, the earth and the woods will continue to amaze me with its beauty.

❊ Lauren Nicole Geiser ❊

What it’s all about

September 17, 2019

What a beautiful morning: birds and cicadas singing, trees changing colors, flowers blooming, sun shining, the breeze and temperature perfect for us humans. A beautiful morning to be alive.

Doing a little Quigong – enters – a realization of the amazing energy of the woods. Also a realization that this is what life is about, our connection, our consciousness of this amazing planet.  It is so easy to get caught up in the nibbly gribblies of everyday life, often with an orientation toward the planet, but forgetting about what it is all about.  It is good to reconnect, and become aware again that this is what it is about.


Life changes

Sept 10, 2019

            Today the woods reminded me of how life changes—how throughout our lives we experience the ebb and flow that is so common in natural phenomena. Recently over the past couple weeks, I’ve had more and more responsibilities come up… graduate school applications, signing up and studying for the GRE, practicing skills needed in the future, among other things. As I lay in the woods on a horizontal log about 12 feet up in the air, I was pondering over these responsibilities. How different it is to feel like I have things to do and deadlines to meet, after a more relaxed summer absent of GRE scores and due dates. While I am not feeling stressed with these responsibilities, it does feel differently to have a different set of duties on my plate. Life is ever changing, always fluctuating and evolving, never stagnant and forever flowing onward.

❊ Lauren Nicole Geiser ❊

Back home again

September 10, 2019

It felt good being back in our woods again. The natural areas in Alaska were amazing, but not familiar. Not the sense of intimacy and friendship of this woods.

As I centered I would at times go off into tangent areas, issues. Slowly it dawned on me that it was in the centering, the being in place where I could find the energy to move forward and not spend too much time with the nibbly griblies of challenges. Like appreciative enquiry, to focus on what I want to see happen is alivening, focusing on problems is a downer. It was a nice morning of being centered – at least part of the time.

A calm and beautiful space

Aug 13, 2019

            Today the woods provided to me a calm and beautiful space to relax and self-sooth. Today the woods were a spa. The fallen log over the creek was the perfect place to walk across, back and forth, focusing on both my physical and emotional balance. The cold water in the creek was an alleviating bath in the stagnant summer heat. The downed trees in the creek created a bed with which to lay on and unwind. As I lay, I closed my eyes and I focused on the sounds of the forest—the birds chirping, the creek babbling, the leaves rustling. I didn’t fall into a sleep whilst laying here, but somehow just being present in the forest and enjoying its details was more invigorating than any spa trip or deep sleep.

❊ Lauren Nicole Geiser ❊