Monthly Archives: February 2014


Day 158

“Give me your tired, your poor,

your huddling masses yearning to breathe free.

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

And I will show them where the rabbits run and where the deer lay down to bed at the end of the day.

I will teach them how to make traps, how to grow potatoes and squashes, nutritious corn

that waves in strong winds.

I will guide their hands so they might build homes,

small, warm and water tight,

safe and comfortable for children to rest their heads at night,

surrounded by the open arms of forest.

“Send these, the tempest-tossed to me.”

And I will show them the ways of the wild,

where the fresh water runs and how fire can

be gently coaxed from solid wood with patient hands.

“I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Bear fat torches reflecting off the beech tree leaves

a beacon shining home.

Join me.

We, the motherless children,


from a killer culture.

Come away with me.

We will find our way,


will let the wilds

be our guide.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen


light and dark and light again

Day 157

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

I went swimming today,

in a small, heated, indoor pool.

Very tame.

But it reminded me of summer,

hot sun and skin slick with sweat.

Something funny happens to me this time of year,

a kind of wistful longing.

So that even as I dream of forests thick and green soon to come,

I grieve for the silent calm of falling snow,

the sharp snap of branches coated with ice,

and the howling wind,

rattling the windows

of our tiny house.

And even though I’m happy for longer days

and shorter nights,

I’m already missing

the dark, cold,

quiet, hibernation

of winter.



and tossed in the sea of change.

But the soft cycles of life are like that I guess.

A slow turning on a scale much grander

than us.

And there is comfort there.


The gift of life.




and dark




Thank you for listening,



photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez


Shell. This piece is so beautiful, and rings so true. I think many people will agree, and feel it in their hearts, the truth of it. I could not do this project without you, your beautiful words and images just light up the world. You are amazing. I love you. Thank you.

The following piece and photos are by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

the rising pulsing sun, the roaming roaring waters, every green thing, every petal, those are sacred to me.

i have faith in them, sing joy to them.

i come to them with worries, give thanks, ask only for forgiveness, love.

i believe.

i spread the word.

is this not my religion?

is this not to be protected, respected by law, its holy things held sacred across the world, never spoiled if it can be helped?

you know who spoils sacred things?


oppressors defile treasures and customs, they kill if they have to.

same as coal miners, gas frackers, oil drillers, monsanto execs

defile my treasured planet with their hateful consumption,

mock my earthly mass with their destruction.

each sunrise my stained glass window,

each flower my saint, each berry my communion,

each birdsong my hymn,

each river my homily.

separation of earth and hate.

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

You never forget a bird call

Day 156

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

You never forget a bird call once you’ve watched it make the sound,

small beak parted in song.

And so you sit, waiting,

breathing slowed.

Listening to the distant water, and the whoosh of passing cars,

to the spiders in the underbrush and the wind, whispered through the trees.

And with vision soft like while dreaming, movement catches the corner of your eye,

the flash of red feathers, or blue,

or yellow perhaps, or black.

And you marvel at the quick movements and sure feet

of such a small creature.

And you watch as it breathes deeply, small breast filling with air,

and notes, clear and pure like crystal springs spill out

over all the rocks, and trees, and water, and ground,

so that even the deer stops her quiet wandering and looks up to see,

ears cupped and pointed.


And the notes remind you of a time

long, long ago,

when the world was whole.

And you want that again,

So each day you sit,


until you are part of things again,

and everything starts to make sense.

And you know the song by heart.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

250 square feet, a baby, 2 dogs, and a cat. and a husband. And extended family right next door.

Day 155

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

Some days I curse the day Wil and I came up with this idea.

Rue the day I saw this tiny building and thought it cute.

When I’ve seperated the dogs and the kids for the 10th time,

When I’ve cleaned up for the 20th time and there’s a huge mess again, and there’s nowhere to go with anything,

When I’ve cooked dinner and the whole house is humid from pasta and scented with onions,

When my mom and sister and I have argued for the fifteenth time today,

When my temper is cranky and all I want is


I hate myself for loving tiny houses, for believing in what they stand for and being crazy enough to live in one.

I’m furious with myself for wanting to be near extended family, angry that we ever came back to our hometown, fed up with dealing with a bunch of other people’s


And then


I go into my mom’s house, and my nephew gives me a hug, and says “I love Loo”,

and my mom puts on a big pot of coffee and tells me a funny story,

and my sister and I laugh over something dumb

and I am reminded

why I made this decision.

And I am happy.

250 square feet, a baby, 2 dogs, and a cat. and a husband. And extended family right next door.

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

 I am writing this sitting on the bed and if I look up I’m staring at the kitchen. And if I turn my head I’m looking at the couch, and straight ahead I gaze at my handsome husband’s back, working hard at his desk.

That’s it. Grand tour over.

Yes it is small in here.

Yes, sometimes it is annoying. So much so I want to scream.

We’ve been here for over three years. The rent is very low. All our bills are included. And that’s amazing.

We share the bathtub with my parents, and it’s in my parent’s house. Their house is dubbed “the big house.” But we do have a bathroom in our house. It has a toilet and is also jammed with a million books, the brooms and a basket of air potatoes harvested last fall and waiting to be planted in the spring. It is tiny.

Our house is a converted garage behind the big house. It’s white stucco with 2 windows and Ivy crawling up the front. It is one, open, room.

It’s about 15 steps away, give or take, from my parent’s house.

My sister lives about 5 minuted down the road. She spends most of her time here too. She hangs around for the company, and for help with her son, who’s the sweetest child ever born (in my opinion!) and is somewhere on the autism spectrum. He and Revel are best friends, but sometimes they fight, and run away in tears. They’re 1 and a half, and almost three.

What’s it like living in such close proximity to my family?


It’s wonderful, mostly. We often share food and meals. Big pots of pasta and meat, baked chickens, meatloaf, chili. Sometimes we bake. Brownies, and cookies, breads and muffins. The boys like to help, very seriously standing on chairs beside the counter. They’re good at it.

The boys are growing up close to their grandparents, which is amazing. It means there’s always a hand to hold, an ear to hear, even if mommy is tired, even if daddy is sick, or at work. Grandma has infinite patience. She plays games 1000 times, and reads the same books over and over, on demand. She gives the boys too many cookies and spoils them rotten, and mostly we look the other way. Grandpa, my step dad, is also patient, and extremely kind. He fixes toys when they’re broken and gives great high fives.

Zander, my nephew, is in love with Wil. Even when he’s having the hardest of days, “Unc” can get through to him, is there to help and give hugs.

My sister always makes Revie laugh. She’s silly, and he squeals when he sees her.

I give Zander big hugs, and teach him about the birds outside, and the bugs.

The boys run around crazy together, cry when the other one leaves. They think they’re brothers, but also cousins, and we don’t try to explain it. My favorite thing in the whole world is when they laugh together. There is no other sound on this planet so sweet, I swear.

We have two dogs that hate to be left alone. So they go back and forth between the houses as well. But they’re not great with kids so there’s a lot of shuffling around and sectioning off, which is annoying, but it seems there’s no other choice. They’re as much a part of the family as anyone else, and were here long before the kiddos showed up. When we used to travel, Buck would start to cry when we turned onto my mom’s street. He’s her grandkid too.

There’s also a ton of drama and a good bit of fighting, or at least complaining.

The kids are little, and wild, and everyone is tired some days.

Money is mostly tight, and that causes stress.

Having a child on the autism spectrum causes stress. And he requires various therapies, so his aids are always coming in and out.

If one person is in a bad mood, it rubs off on everyone.

There is very little quiet time, or peace, and that can wear you down after awhile.

But when a day goes by and I haven’t seen anyone,

I miss them,

and by evening Wil, and Revie and I will wander over

to say Hi,

take a bath,

watch some TV,

and sit and chat.

And that’s just so nice.

The Best Parts

We have a big garden outside, right next to our house,

and a slide and sandbox, bikes and shovels, and  toys.

We have a community. A true community that is helpful, and annoying, and loving, and fighting, and real.

It is challenging to get along with everyone. My shortcomings are constantly thrown in my face. But it makes me better. More empathetic, more loving, less selfish. More alive.

Will we live here forever? Probably not. And we don’t have to. Eventually there will be other adventures, different small spaces to occupy.

But the memories made in these short years while the kids are small will last forever.

And the boys are growing up secure in the knowledge that there are many people who love them.

And I have the greatest gift of being mothered while mothering my own child,

sharing the joy of my son with my own mom. And Dad, and sister, and husband, and nephew.

The way that it’s supposed to be.

The way it always has been. Forever, and ever and ever.

The way it was before civilization came and made everyone sick, and sad, and seperate,

and lonely.

And I think it’s time to get it back.

I’m just trying to say

I didn’t write this to

convince you to live the way I do. I’m not telling you to move in with your mother, or father, or sister, or brother, or friend,

or have them move in with you.

I’m not telling you to move into a tiny house, or sell your house, or rent your house out and move into the garage, or live in a tent.

I’m just trying to say

that we can’t expect to keep living the same way on this planet, and hope that things will change.

We have to make the changes,

come up with new ideas and new ways to live.

Find a way that works for you.

And if that doesn’t work, try something else.

Challenge the status quo, think outside the box.

There is power, and excitement, and love, and joy

that comes with joining together in small family groups and little communities,

figuring out how to work together, to make it, to get by.

It is rebellious, and it is regenerative, and it is real.

And it is the future.

Good luck.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

The song of a thousand small things

Day 154

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

Such a strange world, this,

where we live out our lives under a bright and brilliant sun so powerful

we may

never stare directly

but instead must look for it’s clues.

Warm rays on arms and face

Vines, slow growing and green, stretching up to sky

and the great maples and oaks reaching upwards

impossibly tall.

If I traveled here through space

over vast distance at light speed

I would wonder

at the lightening storms and volcanoes

the tidal waves and earthquakes,

such ferocious violence here,

the undulations of creation.

And I would marvel at the sweet details,

the sky blue of the robin’s egg and the meowing call of the catbird,

the brightness of the fireflies

and the soft lips of a kiss.

There is great hunger here,

a powerful need to connect.

Listen for the song of a thousand small things

calling us

home again.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

I promised myself

Day 153

I promised myself that Revel would come first.

That if we were bringing a baby into this world, he would never want for attention or love,

knowing he would want for many other things

we, his parents, have very little control over.

Like clean air, water, soil, and food.

So on a night like tonight,

when he has a fever, and is tossing and turning in his sleep,

I can give myself wholeheartedly to holding him in my arms

until the sun comes up,

His dad right there on the other side.

So that he grows up knowing he’s not alone,

no matter what happens

in these uncertain times.

We love you Revie. You have captured our hearts.

No matter what happens,

just know we’re trying our best.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen


Our guest post tonight is from fellow earth lover, Heather. She sent me this beautiful and powerful post to share with everyone. Thank you Heather! Love to you!


Intrinsic and Inspired

by Heather Heilman Loercher 2.5.14

photo by Heather Heilman Loercher

photo by Heather Heilman Loercher


Sitting quiet

in the dark before dawn,

with the breath of my own spirit

and flickering images in my mind’s eye.

I come to realize a glimpse of meaning within my inclination

to center my focus on the women in my world –

whether they are within my life’s circle, on the periphery or far in the distance.

As are many, always, I am

experiencing a time of growth and change,

both intentional and organic,

within myself and within my environment.

As children, we look to models of behavior

and characteristics that attract us,

suiting our inherent natures in some way.

I believe this continues to occur throughout life,

in ways both in both positive and challenging.

However, as adults, as we grow into

distinct versions of ourselves,

I feel that we – that I continue to seek

models in the women in my life.

I feel a keen awareness to observe

the characteristics I long to absorb

into my composition – to compliment

the ever-evolving, constantly refining version

of who I am naturally and who I hope to ultimately become

before my spirit leaves its shell.


This does not mean to say

that we are not already

strong in character,

but that the strength that most serves us

is in the acknowledgement that we are never truly complete.

Though we may exist in a place

of peace, gratitude and contentment,

there is always more to learn, become and do…

we are constant growth,

constant unfolding and layering,

constant evolution.

I look to the women –

The Artists, the Mothers, the Nurses, the Farmers

The Rebels, the Mystics, the Activists and the Hippies

The Sisters, the Staffers, the Leaders and the Followers

The Dreamers, the Do-ers, the Yogis and the Athletes

The Meek and the Brazen, the Elders and the Youth

photo by Heather Heilman Loercher

photo by Heather Heilman Loercher

For we are all Explorers,

whether we are amidst

feelings of loss or discovery.

We are exploring ourselves

as we are and as we wish to be.

So even though I am grown

and strive to honor my own light,

I still carry the spark of my child self –

Looking to the women of my world,

for models and examples,

connection and inspiration.

For we are all the same women –

Explorers, Warriors, Creators –

We travel with the gifts

of those we wish to acknowledge

and choose to accept

within ourselves

Both Intrinsic and Inspired.


photo by Heather Heilman Loercher

photo by Heather Heilman Loercher

Is it worth it?

Day 152

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

Take your money out of your wallet.

Look at it.

Lay it in front of you, hold it in your hand.

Depending on where you live, it’s most likely made of paper, or fabric.

Or coins, shiny bits of metal, imprinted with designs.

Beautiful really,

The colorful drawings, the portraits, the shimmer of the copper, brass, and nickel, jingling and catching the light.

How much are you holding?

25 cents, $3, $10?

$100? $100,000? $100,000,000?

What did you do to get that money?

Did you work at a desk all day typing, and filling out papers? Did you teach children the alphabet, put out fires, or help people cross the street?

Did you tell people what to do, or cut down trees, or plant flowers?

Did you scrub floors all day until your back ached, until your hands were rough from working, until you fell exhausted into your bed at night only to wake up and do it all again?

Look at the money in your hand. Run your finger over the creases, the smooth surface.

What do you use it for?

Buying food, buying clothes, driving your car, feeding your kids?

Paying bills, paying rent, paying mortgage, paying daycare?

Buying books, buying gadgets buying entertainment, buying fun?

Is it worth it?

The things you have to do to get that money.

Are they worth it to you?

Would you do them anyways, even if you didn’t get  paid?

Is it your life’s work, the thing that make’s your heart most happy?

Or do you go through each day waiting for your real life to begin?

Is it worth it?

Do you need the things you use that money for? Or could you live without them? Could you borrow and make, grow and harvest, hunt and gather instead?

Look at that money in your hand.

Can it feed you, clothe you, house you, love you?

What would you do for that money?

Would you destroy the world for it? Gobble up precious resources and burn up pristine forests?

Would you poison the oceans? Poison our food, and water, and soil, and air just to make a buck?

Look at that money in your hand. Feel it. Smell it. The soft weight of it, the tang of copper, the heavy scent of toil.

And ask yourself,

Is it worth it?

Thank you for listening,