Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Can't You Feel Their Pain?"

I have moments where I come across the realization that perhaps I am a bit "different" than others... you know, beyond liking Star Trek, comic book movies and listening to Tool. I mean, I think Fern Gully was written and produced with ME in mind. If that makes sense.

Winter is always a bit more difficult, with the snow and gray covering most of the Life. It would appear that by the time the snow has melted I've forgotten just how "different" I seem to be. And then the tiny buds push up and out and I get all "can't you feel their PAIN?" on ya.

Throughout the spring months so far, on our walks home from work Andrew agreed with my constant distracted comments of "ouuu, look at THOSE flowers!" or "wow, that tree looks like fairy dust is about ready to bust out!" (I'm REAL poetic). I think I forgot that this slow and steady reawaking of obsession for all that is Nature isn't exactly typical.

It's easy to forget in the city, surrounded by cement and exhaust fumes, that our Earth (in this hemisphere) is stretching Her arms and getting ready for summer.

Today I had a massive, maybe I should keep my weirdness to myself, moment. Walking to work with Heather I had to point out, or blurt, that I was marveling at how beautiful the trees looked that morning. Right after she stated she was annoyed at the misty-rainy day it was. ("yeah but, the trees looks EXTRA beautiful with their dark wet bark today!"). ahem.

During lunch today, I thought it would make great professional lunch conversation to bring up this fact as well. I got some really off-put looks... and felt a bit silly. What, no one else notices the trees, leaves, bark, grass, flowers on their way to work? Wish I had some pictures to share how stupendous they looked today.

My mom told me once, that she blames herself for my strange obsession with all things natural. As a toddler, she used to point out all and every little natural thing while claiming "Ouuu, look how pretty THAT is!". 

Maybe. Or perhaps I was just meant to love our world. Even though I don't really understand others who don't seem as enamoured with her vibrancy, I keep on truckin' with this feeling of connection.

Which is why I am continuously surprised by any who would willingly harm our one and only planet that gives us Life. When you are surrounded by such beauty, how *could* you drive your car when you could walk? It makes me take a moment and accept the part I played in the oil disaster that is damaging our oceans. My role in supporting, purchasing the oil. Our role, as a society that is dependent on oil and unable or unwilling to let it go.

at the expense of our delicately balanced ocean. At the expense of the Life that thrives there, essentially supporting all other life on Earth. We are equally to blame.

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. summer is my favorite season because i love just how green everything is...the world feels vibrantly alive.

    fern gully was (and still is) my little sister's favorite movie, so i watched it many times as a child. it makes me sad to think that 20 years ago we were being taught the message to stop cutting down our forests, yet forests are still being rampantly cut down today (feeling especially annoyed about this from reading 'green gone wrong' today)

  2. Absolutely beautiful. Seriously. I will join with you on the weirdness (even though I'm still far behind you on my Eco Path)...I adore walking with my two kids and just pointing out how beautiful things are. I enjoy nothing more than hearing them pipe up from the back seat of the car and commenting on how "perfect" the sunset is or how "beeeeuuutiful" the trees are.

    Celebrate your uniqueness...hopefully someday each of us will be as awake!

  3. You're not alone. I spend an outrageous amount of time admiring the bark patterns of trees, reaching up to touch leaves and flowers and marveling at any little spark of beauty that manages to push it's way up and out in our concrete world. When I go hiking in the busy, I get positively giddy :)

    It's not strange, it's just a part of who you are. A sensitivity to the world around you. And no, not everyone else will feel the same but that's part of life, too.

  4. whoa, totally forgot about FernGully!!

  5. I wish some of these choices were easier to implement. But I'm entirely with you on stopping to actually notice the small moments of natural beauty. I really try to be mindful of it. It keeps me grounded, even if I only get a moment each day. I notice Jason's happier now that he has a garden and it's similar. It's a container garden in our concrete patio, but he spends a lot of time just observing his plants.

    And as for Fern Gully... I think I discovered the namesake on a hike in California's Central Coast a few years ago! Really! We were camping about a mile from the beach, near Hearst Castle, and went on a hiking trail near our campsite. The ecology changed about 10 times on that one hike and it was simply magical. When we finally finished the hike we saw a sign near the entrance that it was called "Fern Gully." It made perfect sense - it felt like a world apart - and the Hollywood Producers live close enough that it could have affected the movie name. (not my photos, but they are from CA's Fern Gully. It's real!)

  6. @Julia: I know... while watching avatar all i could think was- been there done that! (whoa, 20 YEARS?? sigh).

    @Lisa: aww- thanks for joining me in my eco-weirdness! You're children will grow up adoring avatar... (I can just HEAR them saying "bee-you-tee-ful".. :) )

    @svasti: oh thank goodness, someone else likes randomly touching trees and bark too!
    You're right of course, it's just a part of who we are.... just surprises me sometimes that not everyone seems to appreciate it.

    @LALove: HOLY CRAP! You WENT to Fern Gully???? seriously. That photo is beautiful. I would have been hugging every tree haha.

    gardens (even balcony ones) tend to do that to people huh? despite our eventual move to a non-balcony space in July, we planted radishes, broccoli, strawberries and lettuce. and the little sprouts make me SO happy.

  7. oops!
    @RaspberrySteth- how could you forget Fern Gully?? (lol.... although I think you were probably pretty little when it came out).

  8. Awe, you are just stopping to smell the roses. I love that. :) I find it easy to appreciate the spring beauty when winter feels like it is 8 months long. It's hard to appreciate the beauty when you are stuck in traffic on your way to work, with hundreds of other cars that are stuck in traffic, on their way to work. It's pretty amazing how things magically grow out of trees and out of the soil and out of cracks in the pavement! We planted our first garden and like magic, everything is sprouting! I water it and watch it's changes every day. I was hoping something would sprout, and I ended up with having everything sprout. It's exciting. :)

  9. Hey Lisa, on our way frenchying today, I was looking at all the color's of green, there was on trees. Thinking how pretty it was. Yes every was wet and beautiful today. It looked so rich with color.

    Love this time of the year.
    Marcia :)

  10. I can identify with you on this one. I feel very connected to trees, more than any other plant or thing outside. I feel an immense sadness when I see trees that have been cut down.

  11. Loved this blog, Eco.

    Funny you should mention trees. My blogs often start with daydreaming. The other day I was daydreaming about a blog about trees that went something like this:

    As you are walking
    Around town
    Focus on nothing
    But each tree you see
    Along the way.

    Look at each tree
    With Yogic concentration
    Without judgment
    Absorbing its shape
    Its color, its bark
    Its history, its future.

    Think of nothing else
    But each tree you encounter
    Tree after unique tree
    Wondrous story
    After wondrous story,

    And see how quickly
    You are utterly
    And speechlessly

    Bob Weisenberg

  12. You and I need to hang out. Two peas in a pod. Two strips of dark wet bark on a glorious tree. :)

  13. Hi EcoYogini! I really agree with you! Also if I live at the opposit pole of the world (in Italy), I enjoy the beautiful spring awakening of the nature :-)
    And also, like you, everytime I look the wonders of the nature I'll become sad for the incredible human stupidity (and I'm included in the human gender, as a car user) that increase more and more the environment pollution.
    I really enjoy to ride a bike and also if I work far from home (and i live in mountain, so come back is quite weary ;-D )I'll try to go to work by bike... (with good weather at least).
    Thankyou for all your eco-suggestions and your love for nature and life, that is very contagious!!

  14. I know, Im the same, I think I will learn to keep my mouth shut, and yet I never do!

    I love seeing how the seasons change and how the earth responds each time.

    I don't ever want to stop noticing

  15. @T: Yay! Congrats on the new seedlings!!! you should post pictures on facebook... :)

    @Mom (Marcia): Hehe, Maybe YOU also are an eco-warrior at heart!!! and it was less about doing it for me, but pointing out Nature cuz YOU love it :)
    Love you mom!

    @Jamie: yes, there is something about trees... they're even becoming a sort of "theme" for our wedding... :)

    @Bob: what a beautiful poem! thank you very much for sharing, it is lovely.

    @Carlotta: Thank you very much for stopping by! Italian mountains must be so beautiful and the bike ride, although exhausting, must be fantastic. I really admire you for riding your bike so far!! maybe someday I'll feel such a level of comfort on a bike. :)

    @YisforYogini: haha, yoga ninjaaas! sigh- wish our bloggy group wasn't so far apart.

    @Jen: haha, good I am not alone about blurting stuff like this out.
    i agree 100%, i never want to stop noticing... :)

  16. Don't keep it to yourself! Even if you get a weird look now and then, please keep sharing! People like you make the world a kinder, more enthusiastic place. Why is it more "interesting" to talk about Dancing with the Stars (or whatever TV show your coworkers obsess over) than it is to talk about budding trees? Give me budding trees any day. :)

    Also, I think it's important to keep talking about the Earth so that is becomes more and more normal. (How insane that it's not normal now.)

  17. I've always stopped to admire the beauty of nature and other than the odd muttering of 'tree hugger' from my father have never been made to feel odd for it. I'm so sad that you've been made to feel that way. Admiring the beauty around us is what keeps us grounded and often seems to be our only connection to Mother Earth these days. Maybe I'm just spoiled living on the West Coast and working at a University that is lush and green and populated with bunnies. No one is immune to the baby bunnies!! Keep on proudly and loudly loving our Mother!

  18. Thanks for this lovely post. I live in the desert, and so often it just looks dead. But in the springtime, the green cacti are greener, the wildflowers bloom, and the cacti start to bloom. It is so incredibly beautiful. I find it even more beautiful than when I lived in California. There, you expect beauty. In the desert, you expect death and no water. So when it does appear, it is that much more amazing. I see it as life existing even when all rational thought makes you think it should not. With all the craziness in the world today, this gives me a lot of hope.

  19. I am totally with you! When I announced in class to 25 twenty-ish students about noticing the flowers popping up in early spring, they gave me a blank look. Some even rolled their eyes... I was actually saddened that they were in an Ecology class and no one else was watching the buds swell on the one noticed the smell of the spring phytoplankton bloom on the air...I too felt a little odd but at peace with myself. I am ok with being in love with Nature, way better then movies stars! :)

    PS. I have never seen fern gully! I will march right out and rent it this weekend!

  20. I love the colors in spring, and just like you, when it's wet, I get so excited! All the colors are so much more saturated!

  21. paying it forward to ya sista...

  22. I say that's called mindfulness girl!! And it sounds like you probably enjoy life a lot more than the people around you.

    I love the world. I love nature. I love trees, bark, flowers, dew on grass, the whole lot. There is nothing weird about it - in fact, I think it's weird that people can walk by so much beauty and not even appreciate it.

  23. did you like Avatar then? (it's been likened to a modern-day Fern Gully!)

    I finally got to try out the Divacup! First go was a bit... awkward. Second time seemed better! I'll get the hang of it in no time, I'll have to review your posts for some tips!!

  24. The great thing is that I bet your comments however make others take a moment to pause and try to see the world through your eyes or maybe, just maybe notice something on their own. Don't feel strange, feel unique. ;) Applaud ya!

  25. Beautiful post! And no, you're not the only one. I walk to my office and back every (working day), which gives me the chance to notice this kind of things also. I do sometimes stop on my way to take (lame) pictures with my phone... My way of saying "ooooh look at the trees lit by sunshine" (when you're on your own, I guess taking a picture is better than speaking to yourself).

    Cherish this, and never let anything blind you :-)

  26. it gives me chills to know that there are others... more like me! (i recently told my husband that i was switched at birth... he didn't laugh... but agreed!) i know what it feels like to feel "different" and know that you are (clearly) in good company here!

    the end of this post is so compelling and it seems like we all need to acknowledge that sense of urgency and responsibility - coupled with the softness of kindness and compassion and non-attachment... which is where i get really hung up. i'm either one end or the other.

    thanks so much for this. by sharing it, you make the rest of us feel less alone!

  27. holy- i'm currently at my inlaws for the weekend and have been taking a few moments to check here and there.

    i am so flabbergasted by the number of comments- we are SO much more numerous than I thought!!

    It's heartwarming to see how many of you feel as I do.

    Together, we can make a difference!

  28. Thank you for the beautiful post. I'm in love with nature too. That's why I live in Utah. Mountain wilderness is 30 minutes away, and desert silence is 3-5 hours away, depending on whether I go southeast or southwest.

    A few years ago, my partner and I were emerging from a walk through Zion Narrows and heard someone who had obviously scouted ahead for his hiking group walk out and tell them, "It's just more of the same as you go further up—cliffs and red rocks. We might as well turn around." I thought, well, isn't that the point, to be with the cliffs and red rock?

  29. So glad to find this blog! I only have a moment to comment but I'll be back. I loved this post. (It sounds like it, but this isn't just a "come look at my blog" comment - I promise! :)

    P.S. Tool is one of my favorite bands and while I'm not a huge Star Trek fan, I read SF and I was obsessed with BSG. :)

  30. I can relate to this! I used to get into arguments in school about the enironment (when green was just another color and not a way to be).

    I also try to point out the things in nature to others, too. With the hubby, I'm very demanding in the garden--"Look at it, look at it!" I say, Or "Go over there and smell that flower. You have to smell it." I don't think he got as much enjoyment out of the smell of that purple flower as I did:( He does appreicate wild mushrooms, though.

  31. Okay, I remembered what else I wanted to say.

    When I read this it reminded me of an experience I had a few months ago. I was visiting friends in Berkeley and we had a picnic lunch in the park. I looked over and saw a chipmunk staring at us from under a tree, and I exclaimed about it and pointed and just generally got geekily excited. My friends gave me the funniest look and then actually laughed at me. "Silly city girl! Those things are everywhere!" I laughed at myself, too, but I felt a bit stung. Yes, I grew up in suburban sprawl in the desert and seeing wild animals or wild anything, really, except maybe a coyote, is pretty amazing. Even though I live quite rurally now, I feel everything very intensely, all the wildness and beauty of the place where I live, and that passion never seems to wear off. Maybe it's specifically because of my suburban upbringing that it all strikes me so acutely, but if so, then hallelujah for it. I feel sorry for anyone who isn't inspired by the sight of a cute little animal munching nuts.

    Okay, one more story and then I'll stop monopolizing the comment box. While my parents were visiting this winter, we took them up to see the redwoods. We stopped at some tourist trap and my dad was looking at one of the trees that had been chopped down and turned into something completely worthless. He said, in a voice of awe, something about how amazing it was that a tree like that had been felled, and what must it feel like to take down something so mighty. I was already having dark thoughts, but when he said that, I just snapped. I said that I considered it a crime to chop down a tree like that, and even worse if it's for the sport of it. He said, "There's a million of 'em," and then accused me of hypocrisy because my kids play with wooden toys instead of plastic. I just walked away at that point because of course I don't feel good about wooden toys but damn, is that comparable to devastating an ancient forest?

    That's why I usually keep those thoughts to myself.

    Anyway, what I'm saying in this incredibly long-winded way is, I dig you.

  32. This is beautiful!! And I'm so glad you shared it & continue to talk about your love of the numinous-ness of nature, judging from the comments LOTS of people are glad you share it! Keep it up :) I rented Fern Gully last year for the first time in... well, maybe since it came out... and LOVED it all over again :)

  33. I totally get the "weird" thing... and my husband and I seem to feed each other's super naturey bend. I think every time we step outside we stop everything to watch a bug or point out the lichens on steps.

    When we lived in the city we felt like the only people on earth that appreciated nature. He had coworkers that said things like - "we should kill everything and pave the world" and "pandas are useless we should just let them die already". We were regularly appalled.

    So glad to hear there are piles of other people that appreciate it instead of wish it dead.


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