Authentic Living

Honoring the Henslow Sparrow, Saving Ourselves


It’s almost autumn in Western New York and the bees and other pollinators are very busy nectaring and gathering pollen from my backyard. Today I walked around and began taking photos again of special moments admiring what I had created. I needed something to inspire me and lift my spirits. This summer has been extremely challenging mentally, physically and emotionally. A sign of the times I suppose, but also of choices I had made. All around the world there is chaos and the friends and acquaintances I once had, have been slowly drifting away year after year.

Everyone is busy with the challenges presenting in their own lives and they are many on a daily basis. I finally realized these relationships have also run their course within mine. The resonance is no longer there. What brought us once together has apparently come to completion. I am also no longer the person I once was. My perspective on life has changed immensely from what it once was, but perhaps more accurately— to what it had always been. My relationship with Nature had in fact deepened, as had my own inner knowing of my self. I could no longer pretend or lie to myself. It simply would not work. A myriad of things would fall in my path to remind me whether via my dreams, pain in my body or syncronicities within Nature or with humans.

My life has never been a straight trajectory nor has my career. I have been searching for greater meaning in my life for as long as I can remember, always curious and needing to learn and understand or challenge myself; endlessly searching for something. I know now it was greater intimacy with myself and all of Nature. I realize now that my path has been filled with a myriad of choices that always led me to my intended destination despite sometimes looking back and thinking how could I have chosen that? Years of insights, synchronicities and quiet reflection piecing together my choices has been the only way to make sense of it all— a pathway defined by my soul’s infinite wisdom yet never random. Of that, I am certain.


There is no going backward I found. We can only learn from the past, I realized after attempting to contact some people who had crossed my path years ago. I had been trying to gain some clarity once again, but the answers were not in the past but in the present. What did I want to create now and what did I want to attract into my life? Part of navigating our soul’s journey is becoming clear about our desires and yet paying attention to our heart and our body’s inner promptings. These are questions we are all facing during these times of uncertainty when each day presents something new to navigate. I’ve come to realize that forcing something to happen or denying your own feelings, is no longer allowed. It simply does not work when you’ve been on a spiritual path for as long as I have.

My home and my land have been one of my greatest challenges and I continue to reflect on my experiences, despite my absence from writing for quite some time. Today I knew I needed to write so here I am again, writing about what I have learned because it applies to the world at large and the immense environmental destruction and climate change that is currently taking place. It breaks my heart each and every day so much so, that some days I sit and weep and other days I immerse myself in the aliveness of my property to remind myself of what I have done and accomplished in a span of just over 9 years. It is my land that gives me solace each and every day now and reminds me not to give up or give in to the doom and gloom that currently pervades our society. These feelings of grief that some days are so heavily immersed in darkness and despair find a way through and out amidst the bees, wasps and hummingbirds upon my landscape.

Repeatedly in their present moment beingness, razor focus and love affair with the flowers, I am once again reminded that our beautiful planet and all things upon it can come back to their original state of aliveness, beauty and grace. Perhaps that is exactly our task in this century— to restore what once was to a pristine state of beauty and perfection upon this beloved planet we are privileged to call our home. In doing so, we also come back to ourselves and heal our own wounds often going back generations. That has been my personal journey upon this suburban landscape I have come to love and cherish despite the frustrations it has presented repeatedly.


Each time I have been asked to dig deeper into the depths of my own soul as I continued to learn and read the signs. Our Earth Mother is asking all of us to reconnect to her. To ignore her promptings, is to do so at your own peril for she is far more powerful than any human gathering or corporation seeking to rape and abuse her for profit, greed and power. I realize now it is only the insecure and abused who seek to control her, those who have lost their way— their connection to their ancestral roots, to the cosmos and this amazingly magical life sustaining blue green planet and the cycles of Nature inherent in all of us.

It was yesterday that I had a conversation with a friend regarding his concern over the recent development of land in my suburban neighborhood that happens to be down the street from me. It was a subject of concern for many years due to the existence of a threatened species, the Henslow sparrow that had been found nesting on the open meadows of surrounding wetland. The land had been slated for development of yet another housing project. After a moratorium on building for years due to concerns over this tiny songbird, sadly in 2019 ‘progress’ ultimately won. This spring a developer commenced with his plans and the project went forth. It would appear that somehow the town of Lancaster and the DEC gave in. I’m sure some form of reasoning was given in public and secret conversations.

It’s the way it has continued to be in my town that has a history of overdevelopment of wetlands and creation of retention ponds which divert the underground water in an unhealthy and unsustainable way that inevitably creates more problems over time for the community. I am one of many residents with issues of wet land that becomes swampy after the winter snow starts to melt. The difference is, unlike many residents in my area, I have been concerned with environmental issues since the 90s when I began volunteering for a local wildlife center, so I began approaching things in a creative way listening to what the land needed bringing sacredness back to a wounded and stripped landscape.

So today when I searched the internet for that article about the Henslow sparrow controversy that appeared in The Buffalo News so many years ago around the time we first moved to this street, I was surprised to find that it had disappeared from the internet and the links to all references were broken. Luckily I still have a copy of the original newspaper article in my files. I hardly found the disappearance a coincidence, but I did find a reference to this entire topic of flight paths of birds, overdevelopment and the Lancaster Henslow sparrow issue written in a book which stated “The thought is if this field goes away, then they’re (Henslow sparrow) done in Lancaster; that’s it.” I’d like to believe that these rare songbirds just came down the street to my meadow gardens, but I have yet to identify them amidst the myriad of songbirds my revitalized property now supports. Perhaps one day soon I will. I will not give up hope and I now honor that tiny songbird in this writing for your story has not gone unnoticed.


Even though I maintain my license with the DEC to rehabilitate wildlife, I now focus more on establishing habitat for wildlife and supporting pollinators, rather than fixing broken animals or raising orphans. Nevertheless, the topic of diminishing habitat for all life forms remains dear to my heart. That is why I have done everything I can to support the honeybees and many other pollinators that now find sanctuary on my property. As I have rewilded my land and created a healthy, sustainable landscape to mitigate the problems that overdevelopment have created in my neighborhood, I have also gained greater clarity in my own life about my personal boundaries and what I will and will not accept from others. Wetland development is after all, a topic that we all should be concerned about now and in the coming years given the changes in climate that are being experienced all around the globe. Where will the development end and when will it be enough? In forthcoming writings I will discuss many of the things that I have experienced in an area that still hasn’t learned from past mistakes. It’s time to wake up and the time is now.

Clarissa Harison is an advocate for the natural world and has been writing since the 90s about her experiences with nature on behalf of those who have no voice. Her travels and observations healing her own land, as well as her diverse background in international studies, energy of space, the corporate world and consulting/teaching work have led her to develop an intimate understanding of the perfection existing in nature and our own individual journey of finding our way back to ourselves and ultimately restoring the well being of our planet.

2019 Copyright Awen Environments. All rights reserved.

Forging a New Path


It had been almost a week since I had walked my regular path through the woods with my dogs. Due to extreme fluctuations in temperature that had turned a frozen landscape into rain and melting snow, I stayed away from the trail alongside the creek knowing it would be too mucky for my dogs. Within days it had snowed again and the frigid temperatures had returned so I knew it would be too icy. We had been walking the roads and paved areas of nearby parks during our daily walks.

Yesterday when I anticipated the path would be pretty much better to walk on, we found an unusual surprise when suddenly the footprints in the snow veered off in a totally different direction and then I saw why. Huge blocks of ice the size of boulders were strewn all over the landscape. During the high temperature days, the frozen creek that had subsequently flooded, had broken off large blocks of ice and carried them great distances over the floodplain and the footpath we always followed. The sheer magnitude of what I saw was incredible and in that moment I began to understand what people around the country must have experienced as similar weather patterns had flooded their towns.

I was once again reminded of the awesome power of Nature to control and transform a landscape in a matter of days. I was mesmerized as we continued walking the newly created path viewing all the ice boulders. Eventually this new path lead us to a ravine area where I suddenly realized I had become totally disoriented and no longer knew where we were despite, having walked this woodland park area for 7 years. It was a very disconcerting feeling as we continued on and came upon a slightly frozen area of a tributary that flowed into the creek. I began to feel unsafe as the dogs' feet broke through the ice and I realized I did not feel comfortable nor like where this path was going.


After several moments of regaining my orientation within the park, I realized that the trail had taken us to a high point at the top of the ravine which looks down to the trail. I began to feel my confidence restored, but I also realized in that moment the symbolism of the obstacles that had been put on our path.  While obstacles can appear in our life at any time, in this instance, they had showed me how I easily I had been rerouted following someone else's footsteps. I also realized that I didn't like the path that I was on. Because I had followed someone else's choices and walked somewhat blindly into the wooded area off the trail I was familiar with, I eventually found myself in an area that could have become dangerous.

Had I forged my own path using my own inner guidance and knowledge of signposts and direction, I would have taken a different way. While the entire walk was relatively peaceful despite becoming temporarily disoriented, I was nevertheless reminded of how quickly we can follow someone else's lead when it is not necessarily the direction we need to take. A simple experience for me that proved to be an eye opening revelation through the forces of Nature.

Clarissa Harison is an advocate for the natural world and has been writing since the 90s about her experiences with nature on behalf of those who have no voice. Her travels and observations healing her own land, as well as her diverse background in international studies, energy of space, the corporate world and consulting/teaching work have led her to develop an intimate understanding of the perfection existing in nature and our own individual journey of finding our way back to ourselves and ultimately restoring the well being of our planet.

2018 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison. 

Natural, Sacred and Wild


Sometimes the state of the world seems overwhelming, but there is always inspiration to be found in our natural world. We are part of nature and nature is part of us. Many of us have forgotten that state of wonder and joy that we knew as children, that connection to the Earth and all things. but nature is always there for us ever renewing with the capacity to reawaken that which was lost.

Let the trees bathe your breath
Let the meadows embrace you
Let the mountains and bees remind you
Let the sky flood in and
Allow the clouds to guide you
Let your undoing be as total
As your becoming is beautiful
And when the living world
Has climbed inside enough
For you to feel
Four legs, scales and wings
May you finally know yourself
Alive as all things
Indivisible and responsible
Reborn into wholeness
Natural, sacred and wild.
— Clare Dubois, Founder of TreeSisters

The TreeSisters organization is doing amazing things to empower women (and men) to change their lives by becoming a restorer species through the revitalization of this planet. We all need to look beyond the chaos in this world and the needs of our everyday lives and begin envisioning a new future. How can we begin giving back to this planet which nurtures us and provides our every needs? How can we alter a future that seems bleak? If you seek inspiration and would like to get involved, visit or for more information on restoring what once was and creating a new relationship with our beautiful planet. It just may change your life.

Planting Seeds of Inspiration

This site has been long in birthing. First I had to get clear as to what I really wanted to focus on here and how it would be different from my Awen Environments site. After a great deal of frustration learning new technology, as well as dealing with the old narrative, gradually the new feeling for Reawakening the Spirit evolved. As with any creative project, it has been quite a process because the old was still releasing from my life while the new was developing inside my head.

I am extremely excited about Reawakening the Spirit because it has laid dormant like a seed for many years carefully germinating within the thoughts of my mind, carrying a blueprint for pursuing a more passionate way of living, the art of living more slowly, in alignment with all that is sacred while embracing my authentic self. Just as you need to dig up and clear the ground for a new garden before you plant your seeds, the old thought forms and patterns of your life must be taken away as well.

This new blog will be a source for my musings, my photography and the regular inspiration I receive from Spirit whether via my dreams, my gardens or my daily activities. Inspiration can be found anywhere. We just need to quiet our mind, stay in a place of gratitude, and pay attention. So as I contemplate the creation of a new spiral herb garden this spring with the sacred seeds a dear friend gifted me, I hope that I will plant seeds of inspiration within you..


Clarissa Harison is an advocate for the natural world and has been writing since the 90s about her experiences with nature on behalf of those who have no voice. Her travels and observations healing her own land, as well as her diverse background in international studies, energy of space, the corporate world and consulting/teaching work have led her to develop an intimate understanding of the perfection existing in nature and our own individual journey of finding our way back to ourselves and ultimately restoring the well being of our planet.

2017 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison. All rights reserved





All photos and information presented on this site is copyrighted by Clarissa Harison and Awen Environments, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted. Prices and information are subject to change without notice. Do not duplicate without express written permission of Clarissa Harison.