ecological restoration

One of the things I love about my new neighborhood is that it's not manicured. And an arroyo--a stream channel that is usually dry on the surface but channels water underground--runs along one edge of the neighborhood.

This waterway serves as a pathway for wildlife and humans alike (oh, the nighttime coyote chorus!). At this time of year, birdsong fills the air when I walk at dawn, from the trilling of spotted and canyon towhees to flocks of busy bushtits, hoarse chickadees, and the sweet whistles of western bluebirds. 

I'm writing this from my space at Mammoth Campground in Yellowstone National Park, with rain thrumming on Red's roof, and me drying out after a wet morning of digging invasive weeds. (The photo above is the partial rainbow that just appeared in a brief patch of sun between showers.) The good thing about a couple of days of wet weather is that it's easier to pry stubborn perennial weed plants out of the soil. The bad thing is that all of the plants are soaking wet, so I end up getting pretty wet too. 


I've been on the road since a few days after I wrote the last blog post, driving almost 4,000 miles in two and a half weeks. Which may prompt you to ask, "Didn't you just write about re-learning your limits?" 


Last week, I headed for Yellowstone National Park for my final invasive-weed-digging session of the summer. I left the day the first fall storm blasted the park, and because of snow and accidents on the mountain passes, I took the long way around, driving north to Interstate 90 at Laurel, Montana, then west to Livingston, and then south to Mammoth Hot Springs, where I'm based for my volunteer work.

If you're like me, you probably spent a lot of time in the past several weeks surfing the internet for news of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. I have friends and relatives in Houston (all were flooded out with varying severity, but all are okay) and friends in the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, and in Florida (all okay so far).  


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

-- Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches


I ended last week's blog post with a draft of a mission statement for my work. I've been trying to explain to myself for years what unites the varied passions that propel me through life.

I'm pretty sure that Red sighed with relief when I backed her into the garage late Thursday afternoon, home again after going 4,680 miles in the previous three weeks. (And five of those days we didn't drive anywhere. That's an average of 275 miles per driving day, which doesn't sound too bad until you add it all up!) 


Spreading phlox, Phlox multiflora, blooming in the clearing where I work in the morning.



I'm home after five days in soggy Austin, Texas, where I participated in "Stories From the Heart," the every-two-years national conference of Story Circle Network, an organization whose mission is to nurture women's voices in writing. 


After a string of windy and bitterly cold days that has turned most everyone cranky, today dawned still and fair. And although the air temperature was only 10 degrees F at dawn, once the sun came up, the air warmed quickly, rising to 60 degrees by early afternoon.


Eve was a radical. And how I love the word radical because it means going to the roots. --Eve Ensler, from her 2014 talk for the Bioneers Conference


I've been nurturing a radical notion for some time now, one that isn't quite clear yet. But I'm starting to see it take a kind of diaphonous form.