Tag Archives: trees

Public Rug: Sacred Space

Do you have a special and personal space? Do your children?

One thousand eight hundred and ninety miles of space traveled and another two hundred and fifty to go before I will be at my special space in the North Woods, the one I call Lonesome Pines. Apparently, and according t0 neighbors, at least one black bear also thinks it is special. Lesson One of Special Space etiquette starts tomorrow. Where did you learn your space etiquette?

What are we teaching children about personal and community space and place ownership? Is school a place?

I was actually taught to manage uncooperative students by invading their personal space. I didn’t like doing that because, well, is nothing really personal?

What space in a school belongs to an individual student? A peg on a wall? A desk? A locker? Hmmm.

How much space is one person entitled to claim as personal? I have 27 acres in the woods. If I had had more money, I wouldn’t have it anymore because I would have more land, at least another 40 acres on which I had an option. Touchy subject, though, owning space. There are rules.

I cannot grow certain crops on my land. If I do, I could be confined to a very small space with no personal entitlement. I cannot dump hazardous waste–not that I would. The point I’m making is that no space is really personal because what is done there can affect other people even in their own personal space.

It is all about the relationships. Again.

Yes, we teach our children that space is limited and scarce, that they don’t really have personal space to do anything they want, and that the community interest affects their personal space. But, my title is Sacred Space.

Is it appropriate for a teacher to touch a student? Is a pat on the back appropriate? Does a person have a right to declare any space so personal that touching of any kind is inappropriate? Yes, it depends upon the nature of the relationship. In particular, it depends on the mutual nature of the relationship and, if not mutual, upon the responsibility of the dominant person to maintain the personal space of the other.

Do not walk on my land without permission. My neighbors have permission–except during hunting. Then they have permission to follow a wounded animal if, and only if, they try to make contact with anyone hunting on my land.

Do not cut a tree on my land, do not put your hand on me without my permission, and stay out of my face. Do we grant such space to our children, students, friends, or strangers?

There is a smaller area in my woods, right along the logging road and overlooking my driveway, that is sacred to me. And that had better make it sacred to you if you want to be invited to sit there. What makes space sacred? That is your business, or in this case, mine. It is sacred because it feels sacred to me. Nancy calls it Healing Rock and, yes, there is a story there, but it is personal. With her permission, I may share it later.

Different opinions on what space is personal and what is community is the root of wars–many wars. I’m thinking we should teach our children, especially by our example, the importance of rules of relationship regarding sacred space. Why?

Because an animal without personal space, especially sacred space, is a dangerous animal, and that is true for lions, tigers, and bears, oh, my, and people, too. I need wild space to commune. Without it, I get dangerous. That’s why my wife keeps sending me back to Lonesome Pines.

The bear needs it, too, but I draw the line where I mow the grass. Stay our of my camp or it will get personal.

Mind Wind: Beating Time

Mind Wind: Beating Time

(Note: This was written a few weeks ago, while in the north woods. I wasn’t sure I would have time after I got back to Arizona.)

I always wonder what people do with all that time they (we) save by speeding, changing lanes, and passing in traffic. Do they save a few moments to cherish later?

Individual views of time are personal but grounded in culture and heritage. We learn both consciously and subconsciously, and we develop habits without even noticing.

When did you get out of bed today?

My morning was blessed with sunshine on tall trees in a deep blue sky. Time feels different in the north woods, even as I look out the bedroom window of our RV. Then, I hear the factory whistle and know it is 7:00 a.m. and I am still in bed. That’s late for me. I feel lazy. Oh, well. It’s only 5:00 at home in Arizona.

Sometimes it can be difficult to perceive our true attitudes and beliefs because they have become habituated. It takes conscious intention to observe the day. Am I feeling a sense of urgency? Why? What’s the rush?

The world is our mirror. A sentient look around our social environment reflects our own attitudes and beliefs about time. Walk with intention of observing and see yourself. Become a stranger in your neighborhood.

The garbage truck comes between 6:00 and 7:00. Mail, not until afternoon this time of year. Irrigation at 5:00, but that’s all in Arizona. In the north woods, loons go to work early in the morning and whippoorwills call before full dark. Owls are a little later. I am not familiar with the other rhythms. See? That tells me I am still not settled into north woods time. It can take awhile.

I’ll drive into town today, first the little unincorporated county seat in WI, then the VAH in the bigger “city” in MI. I want to be there for a meeting precisely at 7:00 p.m. I hate to be late. It draws so much attention to me, and I might not get a chair facing the doors. I’ll be there by 6:45.

Our neighbor in the woods said Nancy and I are the two most punctual people she knows. I wasn’t always that way. I don’t know about Nancy. I used to be late for most things until, well, I guess until the Army. It wasn’t that I had ever wanted to be late—I hadn’t—I just planned poorly.

Tardiness and punctuality can both be egocentric. Yes, tardiness is obvious because it seems to place more value on my time than others’, but punctuality can be a personal fear of being noticed or embarrassed. Anyway, I now have a fear of embarrassment at being late.

I used to blame my mother for my being late. I said I had been a ten month baby and was still trying to catch up. Actually, I was a surprise five and a half years after my siblings. My parents had recently purchased a farm on a special low down payment WWII plan when my mother found out she was pregnant. The other five children were ages 5 to 12 years. Yeah, I would say I was born late.

There is a speed limit of 15 mph on our shared private road. A stop sign welcomes me to the civilization of a state highway. The U.S. highway through town allows 30 mph with no stop. Speed is measured in time.

Distance is measured in time, too. How far is Yuma from San Diego? Less than 3 hours. It’s 36 hours from my Arizona home to the north woods and 5 hours from here downstate to my brother’s farm where we grew up.

The bank sign here gives us time and temperature. I was across and up the street at the hardware store when I heard the radio news on 9/11. Time stopped that day. I had heard on my car radio that a plane hit the World Trade Center, but I had visualized a small private model. The owner at the hardware store briefed me on the second plane and we listened together. She said she couldn’t stop listening. I went home and told my wife we were at war, but we just didn’t know with whom. We watched TV. That is the only time in memory that my wife chose to not go out to eat on her birthday. That family owned hardware store closed just before Memorial Day, 2011.

The smoke from the collapse of those twin towers hung above America for almost 10 years. Finally, it seems like only a shadow in our collective memory. America likes short wars.

I have 27 years and a few months to pay off my mortgage. Already on Medicare, it sometimes feels like a race. Hope it’s not a dead heat. Actually, I don’t much care.

Buying on time is a way of life for many of us—including the nation, itself. If we pay off the debt, who wins? If we don’t, who loses? Time will tell.

Wisconsin and Michigan clocks agree in my neck of the woods. East or north of here, it is one hour later on the clock. It’s two hours earlier in Arizona and California, but that all changes when Daylight Saving Time ends. Arizona stays on Standard time year round. I guess there is no reason to save sunshine there.

How does one save time? Does it earn interest? Can we borrow time? I perceive some strange social views on this subject. Oh, that’s right. Time = $. No, I don’t believe that. Money is a human invention. Time exists in nature.

High winds yesterday took down many of my trees. I heard and watched two of them crash. You were not here, but I can tell you they did make sound in your absence. My conclusion is that others this spring made sounds even though I was not here at the time.

I have to go clean up a fallen tree. At least one of us has run out of time.

P.S. The moon picture was taken with my new camera at our place in Northern Wisconsin. Now, can you determine approximate date and time?

P.P.S. The blog header photo was also taken with my new camera just south of Quartzite, AZ as I approached home after ~70 hours on the road.