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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 certain, 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-overwhelmingly insistent life that oozes from everything. I've dealt enough mercy death to suffering deer, turtles, mice, beavers, snakes and racoons that I could tend to my own pet cemetary at this point. For real. 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 unfortunate to have stumbled across it. Luckily he'd died by the time I found him, and I didn't have to end its 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 as it tried to escape. I had to be quick and asked for forgiveness as I grabbed my hatchet.


I don't enjoy this part of living in the country. If you think I do, you'd be a maniac. I don't hunt, but my neighbors are constantly practicing with their guns. Shooting, almost every night. The riots this summer 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; I mean, is that really necessary in rounding up all 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 for not hunting them.


But back to the forest bathing coursework...I'm doing this, all of this side business, is because there has been no culutre on this earth that hasn't succeeded by the detriment of the environment, or of each other. Perhaps temporarily, but all things rise and fall. As I type on this computer, precious metals were mined from the earth by underpaid and abused workers in order to construct it. The electricity that powers it comes from a sytemmic failure to protect the natural resources of this earth. And here I am, using it tp type up this blog. It's more than ironic. 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. I've come to read over the years that this deep well of sadness is often referred to by mental health professionals and spiritual leaders as "the river of grief," a collective, unconscious well of knowledge that all humans share. One that all humans feel, but few act upon.


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, and I'm hoping to dive deeper into this well, knowing that it will be tough, but rewarding work, and that I'll be able to bring some of that back for whomever might be seeking its bits and pieces.

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