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Jason C. VennerJun 30, 2020 6:03pm

The Middle of All Things

I've done something sort of crazy, but sort of right up my alley. I've registered to become a Forest Bathing Guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. I simply can't hide it from people any longer. I talk to trees and animals, and I want to further understand this phenomena and deepen my relationship with nature. I start my coursework October 9th.

I'm doing this because I feel it can help me with Whisper Shifter in walking and helping people dig into their work. But I'm also doing it becasue you and I are in constant motion, like the planets and the stars of which we somehow feel are "fixed" within the sky. One thing is for certian having moved out to the county: there is constant change. There are epic beginnings and inevitable endings. The sky is so beautiful without the hindrance of a city's lights, but in a way it reminds me that I'm small, and nothing really. My body is sort of like this tube walking around, housing an animus that is restless and searching for its route back home, and this learning has to be done, or else I feel I'll end up in ruin. Yup.

Also because there is death here where I live and I need to come to grips with this. I've seen so much of it in four short years, along with the ever-overwhelimignly insistent life that oozes from everything. I've dealt enough mercy death to suffering deer, turtles, mice, snakes and racoons that I could pastor my own congregation at this point. Just the other day, I happened to catch a mouse in a glue trap. It was intended for the snakes in the basement, but he was the unfortunate one. Luckily he'd died by the time I found him, and I didn't have to end the suffering, at least directly by my hands. I took the trap outside and set it down so that I could open the trash can. Without any notice, a sparrow flew smack into the trap, like a moth to the flame, and it was stuck right next to the mouse. It was frantic having been stuck, and it ripped its wing bones out of its skin tyring to escape. I had to be quick and grabbed my hatchet. I smudged it and asked for it to forgive me when it becomes my time.

I don't enjoy this part of living in the country. If you think I do, you'd be a maniac. I know people who are. I don't hunt, but my neighbors are constantly practicing with their guns. Shooting, almost every night. The riots saw an uptick of activity from my surrounding neighbors - just the sense of fear eeking through the woods was enough to make me feel phsycially ill as gunfire rattled from all sides. Some idiot has a semi-automatic rifle, so I hope that's necessary to corrall those cows. Jeez. And so, my woods is full of deer right now, seemingly thanking me when they pass by the bedroom window in the early morning hours.

But back to the forest bathing coursework...I'm doing this, all of this idea, because there has been no culutre on this earth that hasn't succeeded by the detriment of the environment or of each other. As I type on this computer, precious metals were mined from the earth by underpaid and abused workers to construct it, and the electricity that powers it comes from a sytemmic failure to protect the natural resources of this earth. We have seriously messed with our only home, and my heart is heavy with this knowledge that we may not have enough time to heal it and ourselves. There has to be a better way, and I feel I must be a part of that change, how ever loudly or quietly I choose to do so. Again, all this against that constant backdrop of natural change, inevitably occuring all around us. We can't see it, and I'm sickened by our blindness. I physically am.

Call me crazy, that's fine. Tell me I need a doctor and meds. That's fine too because I already do that. But regardless, I start my training in October. Don't worry, I'll still continue to bathe and I'll be better for it.

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