A Surprise Guest

I just spent an hour working in the Greenbelt. Soon after I came back in the house I heard something drop onto the vinyl floor next to me. I looked down and this is what I saw.

The snail must have attached itself to my blue jeans. I snapped a photo of it, appreciated its beauty and took it back outside!

The Wonders of Nature

I love photographing decaying trees. This tree hasn’t fallen yet, but I suspect that will happen sometime this year.

Many years ago, I snapped a picture of a crow in this tree. I still remember how delighted I was when I saw how it turned out. I was even more fascinated, when I realized that I could see it as a photo of a crow, or as a photo of a person reaching for the sky, a person who has a crow perched on one hand.


The tree will continue to serve nature after it falls.  My friend Jayanand once told me:

Downed trees play an important role in maintaining the health and regeneration of forests. Not only do they provide nutrient pools for other plants during stand regeneration, they often even serve as “nurse logs” which support the germination and growth of other trees by providing substrate, moisture and nutrients to the seedlings and young saplings.  They also can act as carbon sinks by locking up carbon in the forest floor – instead of being released into the atmosphere by burning. Decaying wood provides habitat for a variety of plants and animals, adding to the diversity of life found in forested areas. Finally, downed woody material can also help prevent runoff and soil erosion.

I look forward to having this tree in my life for years to come.

Greenbelt Restoration Work Party: Tree Planting Day!

For many years, Amma has been encouraging us to plant trees as a way of healing the Earth. This year, devotees in the Pacific Northwest decided to honor Amma’s 64th birthday by planting trees. We asked everyone to let us know how many trees they would plant and to complete the planting by November 5th. We were hoping at least 64 trees would be pledged. At the time I am writing this post, the pledge count is up to 211!

Seattle Parks Department gave us 37 trees to plant in our Greenbelt site. That work party was held last Sunday, October 22nd. Thirty-two GreenFriends members participated. Many of them had never seen the site before and others hadn’t been there for a long time. I enjoyed seeing and hearing their reactions to the work we’ve done over the last year.

The work party began with an orientation to the site…

and then Pujarini Meera conducted a series of rituals asking Mother Earth for permission to plant the trees and to nurture and protect them after they are planted. I thought it was a beautiful ceremony. (Click on any of the galleries to enlarge the photos.)

After the rituals were over, Ananya and I gave planting instructions…

and then came the fun of planting the trees.

Amma’s birthday project will be over on November 5, but our work in the restoring this Greenbelt site will, of course, continue. We will finish preparing nine planting areas at a work party on November 11 and then will plant 360 shrubs in those areas on November 15!

Another Greenbelt Adventure

When I learned that today’s Word Press Daily Prompt was “Record,” nothing came to my mind. Hours later, it occurred to me that I am recording the work my friends and I are doing in Seattle’s Greenbelt, in part by taking photographs!

From time to time during the last few weeks, I have been digging out a carpet that has been buried in the Greenbelt for decades. I discovered the carpet on a day I was trying to remove blackberry root balls and couldn’t get a shovel to go into the ground.

At that time, I scraped away some dirt and saw this.

When I removed more of the dirt, I found what was keeping me from digging. It is hard to tell from this photo, but what you are seeing is a dirty carpet.

Earlier in the day I had noticed this:

I had uncovered a scrub brush in the Greenbelt the day before, so when I first saw this piece of plastic I thought it might be another brush. After finding the buried carpet though, I realized that what I had thought might turn out to be bristles was actually part of the unraveling carpet.

The carpet was big and heavy. In some places it was three layers thick, so I didn’t know if I would be able to move it enough to free it from the roots, blackberries and ivy but I kept at it.

Yesterday, I finally succeeded in freeing the carpet and rolling it up.

It is too heavy for me to move so that will have to wait until there is a group of people who can take it away. Hopefully that will be tomorrow when a city work team comes to cut down more of the blackberry vines.

Moments after rolling up the carpeting, this caught my eye.

That will have to be a project for a different day!

Daily Prompt: Scorched

Last February, I went to a retreat at Loon Lake in British Columbia. There was a big fire in the forest near the lake in 1868. Even though it has been 148 years since that event, it is still possible to find evidence of the scorching.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Dance

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Dance brought two set’s of photographs to mind.

I took the first set in February, when I went on a nature walk at Loon Lake in British Columbia.  The photos are of a downed tree.  It seemed to me that one of pictures made it look like the trunk was spinning, as in a whirling dervish.

The second set was from last December when I was in India watching a storm approaching.  It was “ready to rumble.”





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Making a Difference- Jadav Payeng

In May, I wrote a post called They Touched My Heart.  One of the videos in that post was the story of Jadav Payeng, who at 17 started planting trees on a barren sandbar in India.   Since that time a documentary about him was produced by Will McMaster.  It is both beautiful and inspiring.  To me, Jadav’s work is a good example of the difference one person can make. Continue reading “Making a Difference- Jadav Payeng”