Inspiration

Honoring the Henslow Sparrow, Saving Ourselves

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

I am Willow: a Piece of Hope

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When I first thought to write this story I was full of anger and anguish. About 8 days have gone by and I feel somewhat differently about everything. So much had coincided with my experience this past week, that at times I felt overwhelmed, with little hope for the future of this planet. The recent tragic loss of so much life in the Greek village of Mati near Athens, accompanied by raging wildfires throughout California and other parts of the world grieved me immensely. All I could see was destruction, along with my own recent personal experience that left me in tears and triggered the onset of immense sadness and overwhelm at the state of the world. And yet, I'm sure there were miracles that occurred in Greece, like the story of this little dog that survived against incredible odds. This is my story about Willow.

I grew up alongside a tributary of Cayuga Creek where the waters sometimes reached the level of our home and occasionally flooded our basement. One summer we had left for Germany to visit my grandparents and other family, only to return to a basement flooded with water with many possessions lost. The tributary ran behind our house that had been built in the 1950's. My father had painstakingly planted most of the trees and shrubs that grew on our property. In the backyard was a Willow that I often climbed or played under with my cats. When my parents sold that house, the new owner eventually cut down all the trees and hedges that had given privacy, shade and beauty. At the time, I didn't realize the significance of Willow in my life nor all that tree had been doing to absorb water from a development that had likely been built way too close to wetland. Willow would continue to play a significant role in my life.

When I moved to my current home, the remnants of a Willow tree that had once stood tall lay in a heap next to a wooded area of the property. The tree had been struck by lightning during a storm and its stump later burnt to the ground. I wrote a story of my experiences in The Renewal of Willow. It wasn't until many years went by that I realized the immense need for this Willow tree and her water absorbing/purifying qualities due to the many problems I experienced with the land, which held an underground spring, if not several. I planted many trees to replace her like Sycamore, various smaller trees of the Willow family, as well as numerous gardens, while existing trees matured and meadows were allowed to develop. However, Willow's power and ability to transform were undeniable. The land was former wetland located in a town that had overdeveloped its floodplain areas and often allowed developments or redirected water where it should not have.

In this same town where I now live is a beautiful park that has been undergoing immense transition over the 8 years since we moved here. Many of the older Pines, Firs and other trees have been lost to insects and/or disease or are currently weak, yet many new trees continue to be planted year after year by the park's crew. Many of them most likely I will never see mature for various reasons. The park is full of wildlife. Last year an old Willow tree had fallen over due to strong winds and storm that have been becoming more and more frequent in our area. I was happy this spring when the Willow still lay where she had fallen. No doubt management of the park knew her ability to renew and had left most of her trunk intact with only the branches taken away. 

Last week while walking in the park with my dogs, a Red Tailed Hawk drew my attention. It seemed to have prey in its mouth and flew to where this Willow had fallen. It was an area I had not walked in a while. Much to my delight, the Willow had renewed herself and was now a fountain of bright green cascading branches. My heart swelled to see how beautiful she was though now just probably about 6' tall, a fraction of what she once was. The Hawk sat on her torn up roots, a perfect place to eat his mouse meal and survey his hunting territory. As he flew away, I walked up to the Willow to get a closer look and caress her shining, light-filled leaves. I was happy. She gave me hope that even though something terrible could happen amidst a natural disaster, the power of restoration is always there as long as Nature is allowed to be.

Willow has long been seen as a tree of healing due to  her inherent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties found in today's aspirin. She is also associated with magic, poetry, and music. The goddess Persephone, whose story is one of rebirth after descending into the darkness of the bowels of the Earth, is associated with Willow trees. As time goes on, I realize more and more why I relate so much to this tree and what she has taught me throughout my life, which has followed a path that was never straight and narrow, but ever winding in sinuous ways into the unknown.

"Willows are water loving, and water is an archetypal symbol of the feminine energies of birth, creativity, intuition and the moon. Willow is a magical and healing tree."-- Ted Andrews, Nature-Speak

Three days after visiting Willow, I was walking late in the park. It was almost dark as I stopped to talk with one of the park caretakers that I have become friends with. I took this opportunity to tell him about my experience with the Willow and the Hawk. He hesitated with his response and asked "which Willow?" I replied "the one not too far from here." With sadness, he replied that the Willow had been cut up and grounded that very morning. He had not been there and his supervisor had given the orders to other workers. I could not believe his words. How could they? It was obvious this tree had survived and had still been very much alive. I had just seen its display of vitality the other day. What were the chances of all this happening in a matter of days?

His reply suggested that this tree may not have been part of the 'master plan' and yet he even added "a master plan is what you make it". It was clear this tree had not fit the criteria of ecology management in the park. The Willow's rebirth had not fit into that square box that so often is held by park management and institutions. Given the flooding problems the park had experienced during torrential downpours in recent years, it seemed a huge mistake to me to kill this Willow. Such a water loving tree was at home in this park when so many others were dying or struggling because they could not handle the land and water energies in the park where nearby Cayuga Creek had been dammed and partially redirected.

I thought in anger, how very typical of the male dominated world, where the feminine power is so often intentionally suppressed, controlled or destroyed. The power to heal is contained within all humans, but even more so in the feminine energy that gives birth to all life. Here had been a perfect example of this sacred tree's ability to heal and renew herself, and despite her obvious demonstration, her life had been snuffed out by men who were just following orders from another man without questioning their validity or appropriateness.

In the dark I walked over to where that green fountain of light had once sprung and that night I grieved immensely for that enduring tree that had just a few days ago given me such delight. I was so angry at the ignorance of man and a supervisor's decision to snuff out the light of this miraculous tree that is known for her regenerative abilities. The following day I took my dogs and walked over to where the Willow once was. There was no Hawk. There was only mulch where the green cascading branches once stood. I looked amidst the rubble for branches but there seemed to be none. Of all the times for workers to be meticulous! But there, amidst the ground up remains of Willow, was one tiny branch that had not been carried off. It had so little life left in it but I carried it off anyway and continued on my walk.

A mature Willow (not the ones in this story)

A mature Willow (not the ones in this story)

I had little hope of this branch sprouting, but I put the sprig in a glass of water to see if it would root. Willow is a tree that has the unique ability to sprout roots simply by placing a branch in the ground. The daughter of the Willow tree that once stood on my land, lives on a neighboring property now tall and grand. My neighbor a few doors down, once told me he loves trees and years ago had taken a small branch and placed it in the ground on his property. Now its grace and majestic branches provide shade and water absorption for his land memorializing the Willow that once stood here.

Today is Lammas or Lughnassadh, the day of celebration for the first grain harvest- a day of giving thanks for abundance, practiced for centuries by English-speaking and Celtic traditions. As I looked at my tiny Willow sprig in the jar this morning, I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than a miraculous display of enduring life in front of me. Much to my surprise, tiny nodules had appeared where new roots were growing and there were two new sprouts of leaves. The sight of this new growth gave me a moment of joy. A seemingly insignificant thing many would say, but Nature has always spoken to me in symbolism via tiny details or little things that happen on my path. I am grateful for this tiny message received today. Perhaps I will be a majestic tree once more, this surviving branch says to me. I am Willow...

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.

Copyright 2018 Clarissa Harison/Awen Environments. All rights reserved.

Persephone's Hive

A view of Hope's Garden, a naturalized garden filled with wildflowers that was once mowed lawn and former wetland where many trees were dying. In the distance, the former location of my hives behind my beekeeping gardening studio.

A view of Hope's Garden, a naturalized garden filled with wildflowers that was once mowed lawn and former wetland where many trees were dying. In the distance, the former location of my hives behind my beekeeping gardening studio.

My new hive of honeybees arrived in the middle of the night during the new moon in Libra. It had been a disappointing summer for me with my bees. The one hive that had remained from last year, after my stronger hive disappeared completely one day, had survived an unusually warm and wet winter. I was thrilled when I saw in the spring that they were still alive and active. However, as the warmer weather arrived and I opened the hive, I saw that it was all full of mold and that most of the bees had eventually died leaving only a a small group of loyal bees surrounding their Queen. I almost didn't see her as I opened the hive, but there she was having fallen to the ground. I named her Milagro, Spanish for miracle.

I carefully placed the enduring Queen in a new hive box with the remaining bees. The box had to be located right where the other one had been because otherwise the bees would not find the hive. I knew that I had made a mistake in placing this hive behind my studio shed given all the wetness in the hive and the loss of so many bees. Despite being elevated and insulated from the wet land where there was an underground spring, the dampness had permeated all parts of the hive. I had to find a new location but I couldn't move this hive to a sunnier area on my property. I had to leave that up to them.

I decided to place an empty hive box in a sunny area right in the center of a six-sided mandala garden I had originally created when we first moved to the property. Interestingly the six sides correspond to the shape of the honeycomb, something I wasn't really thinking about when I originally created it. Little did I know at the time that this garden would eventually surround one of my bee hives. Much to my surprise, my bees did eventually swarm to this empty box. I even saw the magic of that day as all the bees swarmed round and round the gardens above their new home. It was an incredible moment. A few days later, I saw a new Queen outside the hive box, something she only does when she mates. I knew the old Queen had died. It was both sad to know the Queen that had survived beyond all odds had passed shortly after taking one last flight of freedom (she remains almost her entire life inside the hive laying eggs) to arrive in her new home and yet it was also exciting to know a new one had been born.

Sadly, this new Queen and her bees only stayed a few weeks before they swarmed once again. It was that kind of year. It seemed the bees were searching for something. What it was, I may never know, but it seemed to reflect the uncertainty within my own life and the swirling of activities around the world, whether they were natural disasters or human caused activities.  Somehow I sensed that they were telling me a phase of my own life was coming to an end. The next few days I felt the terrible silence in my gardens. It became very noticeable as there seemed to be no bees of any kind anywhere on my property, not even bumblebees. I began to question whether some aerial spraying had been done somewhere. The fear began to set in as I began to feel that all these years of creating a wildlife sanctuary had been for nothing and that possibly something awful was happening in my area to make all the bees disappear.. 

My fear prompted a conversation with one of my shamanic teachers who suggested I communicate with the Spirit of the Land to determine what was going on. As a result I journeyed and did a subsequent offering to the land of fruits and granola to honor the Insect Kingdom. Almost immediately the next day a new swarm made her home in my empty box once again and the same day, a friend told me that he had also caught a swarm for me. The arrival of these new bees coincided with major flooding in our area of a nearby creek. My joy was to be short-lived, however, when a few days later this new swarm disappeared also and eventually my friend's swarm did too. That's when I began to give careful consideration to whether I would continue beekeeping at all. Nevertheless, I could not ignore how quickly the Insect Kingdom had responded to my communication and offering. Our co-creative relationship had been profoundly renewed.

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Eventually bumblebees and other wild bees returned but I still missed having a hive of my own but I saw how quickly I could move into fear and think the worst. I knew in my heart that despite what I might see around me, I needed to maintain my focus and trust all the work that I had done. My land had become a sanctuary for all lifeforms, a haven where wild bees could nectar endlessly and even wasps were respected. Despite what I might see temporarily, I needed to have faith in the natural world around me.

Some time had passed when my friend told me his nephew had caught another swarm for me, but I had mixed emotions. It was very late in the summer and the bees would not have much time to build their hive and store their honey. He mentioned that his nephew could continue feeding the bees and keep them over winter. Somehow this idea didn't sit right with me. I felt that either they should remain with his nephew or I should have them. It was shortly before the Autumn Equinox that I decided this new swarm should be here. After all, I had loads of late blooming flowers on my property that would help them and also some empty frames that still had honey on them. I would do my best to strengthen them and take the chance.

After the bees arrived one night, I stood before the hive as they fanned themselves from the heat of the trip. Several bees flew onto my clothes as I held the flashlight. They were sensing me and their new home, but then I became a bit nervous. One bee eventually found her way inside my sweatshirt sleeve and stung me. The sting, however, never produced a reaction in me, as though our energies were already aligned. I found their energy to be very gentle yet strong and somehow I sensed this new Queen and hive were already in resonance with me. I felt hopeful once more that they had arrived for a reason.

I named this new hive after the goddess of the underworld, Persephone. These bees had arrived late in the year and in the dark of night. They would spend much of their time inside the darkness of their hive before they experienced their first spring on my land. Persephone is the daughter of Demeter who was fated to spend part of her life in the underworld but in the spring she brings forth the flowering of the meadows. The archetype of this goddess is one I resonate with and somehow I felt these new bees represented the energy of rebirth on my land and in my life.

Several months have passed since Queen Persephone arrived. I have continued learning from these bees particularly about how to let go and just go with the flow. She has taught me about my own inner shadow and how quickly my thoughts can move to fear and worry. Several times this fear would creep up quickly as I became angry about mistakes I had made which occasionally caused the loss of some of my worker bees. Usually this coincided with other things that troubled my mind. I also worried the bees would have enough honey stores built up for the winter and whether they would survive.

So far we have had a very warm autumn and the bees have been out periodically. I have occasionally fed them raw honey and comb that I had left from my other hive. Feeding sugared water, as is commonly done, was not an option for me. The bees have always been grateful for the honey I have given them and as time went on, I realized that I had no control over whether they would survive. It was all up to them. I could only do my best. Those times where I made mistakes were learning lessons for me about the bees and working with my own emotions that surfaced. I know that all is well. Queen Persephone is yet another teacher and grace has fallen upon my land.

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.

 

 

Little Things

I have always collected little things. I guess because I knew at some level that "God is in the details" as a teacher once told me. Science has shown us that we live in an amazing universe where even the tiniest of beings are comprised of incredible complexities of sacred geometry. The patterns that we see around us are reflections of the patterns in our brain and within all the tiny cells that make up our bodies. We also know that all things including inanimate objects are essentially alive with energy.

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
~Camille Pisarro

A few years ago I made a purchase at the store of a beautiful cathedral in Buffalo, NY called the Our Lady of Victory Basilica. I periodically go there to light a candle and say prayers when I'm feeling called to ask for help beyond the daily guidance I receive. It was my first time in the lower level shop. That day I found a beautiful metal dog tag which invoked the blessings and protection of St. Francis, the protector of all creatures. I kept it for years, but it wasn't until our pit bull Dawson arrived, that I felt he was the dog it was meant for. I attached it to his collar shortly after his arrival from the Buffalo Animal Shelter.

A few weeks ago I suddenly noticed that Dawson was only wearing two tags. The third one of St. Francis was missing. I was so disappointed. Of all the ones to lose, it had to be this one. I knew I had seen it on him the previous day. I thought perhaps we had lost it during our last walk in the nearby park. So that day I took the very same route and began looking on the ground everywhere for it, but to no avail. It was nowhere to be found.

Somehow I just felt intuitively that tag would return to us because of the significance it held. That night I told my higher self that I would like the tag returned to us, wherever it might be. The very next morning as I took Dawson outside to do his business, having forgotten all about the previous day, I suddenly looked down on the ground of our expansive backyard and there gleaming in the grass was the St. Francis metal. I was astounded to say the least. What are the chances of recovering an item the size of a quarter on 3/4 acre of land?

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.

Angels in the Clouds

Sometimes it is difficult to find inspiration in a chaotic and changing world when systems are collapsing and Pandora's Box of darkness has been spilled open unto the world. And yet, there is always inspiration to find in Nature and sometimes just when you need it, Angels or representatives of the Spirit World will make themselves known. A recent walk provided me with exactly that inspiration. I was filled with a deep sense of knowing that this material world and what we see before us, is not all there is nor what can be.

I was walking with my dog Dawson through a nearby park on a crisp, sunny day that made me feel that spring was just around the corner despite the cold and bleak days that were repeatedly interspersed amidst the occasional warmth. As I focused on the glorious sun that was shining, I could feel a sense of the Spirit World reminding me that I am not alone and that there is always Divine Grace. Sometimes you really do need a reminder when all you hear is news of chaos and uncertainty and nothing really seems to be optimistic.

That day I could see the orbs of light emanating from the sun and suddenly a rainbow of light appeared amidst the clouds. Initially I had been drawn to the billowy nature of the clouds that swept across the air like the wings of a bird caressing the blue sky. It was such a feeling of the Divine in that moment and I knew I was being watched over. I knew that something beyond this landscape of barrenness and sadness, was also hope and guidance from the realm of Spirit. I knew that I was not alone. My heart swelled with love and joy in that moment.

As I continued to focus on the rays of the sun streaming down and the multicolored orbs of light that cascaded toward me, they seemed to dance in a language of light that I wished that I could understand. It was a silent communication emanating from the highest realms. It was a language I could only understand with my heart. It was a language I wished I could interpret in words, but I could not. I could only feel. And in that moment, it was enough. Enough to fill me with hope. Enough to let me know that we are dreaming a new world into being and there are those who have a vested interest in the success of our creations.

It has happened to me before on my walks, this seeing of light language dancing in the rays of the sun. The best I can explain it is that it looks like the Arabic or Persian language. Today the modern Persian language is called Farsi and what I have seen strikingly resembles both of these alphabets. Unfortunately I experience this dancing light so quickly, it is difficult to write anything down and I generally don't have a notebook with me on my walks, however I doubt a photo would capture what I see.

The very first time I saw this light language was on Easter Day, March 27th, 2016. Now as I write, I recognize the synchronicity of my inspiration to write today, one year and 4 days later about another experience.  I remember vividly feeling that I was receiving healing frequencies from the sun at that time that were affecting my entire body and spirit. I could see the rays oscillating in waves to form designs similar to these ancient languages and I wanted to understand what they were telling me.

A need to know more caused me to speak to an Iranian woman I know about my experience. Although she is very spiritual and spoke Farsi having grown up in Iran, she had never experienced anything similar. We did have an interesting conversation though about symbols at the time. She said that in her culture and many other ancient civilizations, symbols were placed in architecture, rugs and poetry because of their association with the Divine and the world of Spirit. She said that "the ancients accessed the inner worlds through symbolism and Arabic was considered the language of God, as were most of the ancient languages, perhaps originating as symbols of communication of the inner world and the outer world." She also told me that somewhere in my soul, I understood the language that was spoken to me that day. She mentioned that the ancient Persian ceremonies were filled with symbolism, all meant to connect and draw certain energies from the inner world. In her words, "You know the soulful qualities of the inner world cannot be expressed in words or mentally. They have to be expressed through symbolism."

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There is so much to be learned from the ancient civilizations, information that will help us to restore the sacred to our lives and help this transforming world we now live in. I love that just when I least expect it, a piece of the puzzle is thrown my way and I am once again filled with a renewed sense of inspiration and hope.

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. Duplication of photos or writing not permitted without express written permission.

Orchid Equinox Blessing

My Orchid opened its first bloom the day of the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. I could not have been more thrilled. I had been wondering when it would unfurl its first petals and as spring drew near and the buds grew bigger, I had a feeling there would be a beautiful sign of beauty, love and renewal. I cannot think of a more appropriate sign from the Plant Kingdom. 

I purchased my Orchid last fall and it remained in bloom for many months well beyond what I had remembered from previous plants. This Orchid sat on my nightstand in the southwest corner of my bedroom which receives light, but not so much in the fall due to the heavy foliage of a maple tree outside. Despite the low light, this plant flourished largely I believe because I paid so much attention to it, more than I had to any previous Orchid. I had learned so much about energy and focused attention since the last one had been in my care many years ago. Each day I would tell this plant that I loved her. I really did because she made me happy. The flowers were just so beautiful and the perfect shade of magenta that I adore. Eventually the last flower fell and I was sad not to see its beauty anymore, but I knew I would keep this special plant even if it never bloomed again because it had graced me with so much beauty for so many months.

You can imagine my surprise when suddenly one day weeks later I found a new shoot which promised another bloom of Orchids. I was so thrilled because this had never happened before. I had not even known they could bloom again in the home until a friend mentioned she had a nursery for throwaways from family and friends. Most certainly they can bloom again given the right conditions. So despite the low lighting in my bedroom, I would receive this Orchid's blessings on the Spring Equinox, the time of equal light and darkness and symbolizing regeneration and renewal.

I have found in my life that my plants and flowers really respond to my attention and my own energy. When I am struggling, they seem to be struggling and dropping their leaves. When I am sending out love to them, they are emanating their vibrant beauty back to me. I know that this Orchid blessed me with her greatest gift of beauty on a day that was so meaningful to me. The Spring Equinox brings the promise of new life, new beauty and new opportunities for joy. I cannot think of a more beautiful sign from the Nature Spirits and the Divine. The next day I also realized the deeper meaning of this flower and the message she was bringing forth to me, to love myself and know that I have value even when I don't feel beautiful.

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.

 

 

The Broken Winged One

During the 90's I volunteered for a wildlife rehabilitation center that focused on birds of prey in their environmental education programs. It wasn't long before I had the privilege of working directly with these amazing birds of prey by taking them out of their enclosures and walking around the wildlife sanctuary to give them stimulation and to become comfortable with human handling and interaction.

During those hours I conversed with various types of owls, falcons, hawks and a turkey vulture, to name a few of the permanent residents there that also included mammals. I had to overcome my fear of working with these incredible wild animals. I also know that's when my shamanic path really began.

While many of these animals were injured and could no longer fly or be released into the wild due to their injuries, but some were just imprinted. They had grown accustomed to living with humans or had been captive bred so they also could not survive on their own in the wild. Nevertheless, they were still extremely dangerous and had to be handled with care. I also had to be grounded when I worked with them. I had to connect to their spirit, their true essence, as I knew they were my teachers.

While it excited me immensely to work with these wild animals and I always looked forward to our sessions together, a part of me always remained sad for them. I wondered what it would be like to know the glorious exhilaration of flight and freedom and have it taken away by an accident. Or what about never having known freedom at all, but yet being a bird that could fly over 200 mph in a dive like a peregrine falcon? My feelings about these birds has changed over time, as well as the meaning of the lessons that they taught me. Some continue to be my allies.

One of my favorite birds became a turkey vulture named Retch. I never agreed with the name because I feel names are very important and despite the fact turkey vultures are known to regurgitate when fearful, the name did not do this bird justice. Retch happened to share an enclosure with a beautiful barn owl and so usually he would watch Artemis be taken out by the volunteers but he remained inside. Most were afraid of being vomited on so he was largely left alone except for cleaning duties.

One day I could take Retch's sad, dejected looks no more and decided to overcome my fear. It was a beautiful day as I attached him to my falconer's glove and brought Retch outside. Of course, as expected he vomited immediately on me out of fear due to lack of regular human contact, but immediately thereafter he spread his winds in a glorious way to catch the rays of sunlight that were streaming that day. He looked magnificent and I could feel how happy he was. We shared a moment of deep heart connection.

Thereafter Retch and I became the best of friends for the time I remained at the center and I believe he looked forward to our visits as he rarely regurgitated. He also taught me a huge lesson. While I was educating people about the wild creatures of our world, I still had prejudices of my own about what was beautiful. What is beautiful is seeing a turkey vulture spread its wings in all its glory basking in the sunlight whether on the hand of a human or in flight riding thermals. Since that time I have always looked up to the skies to see them in flight and honor their presence.

I will never forget those days with Retch and all those glorious birds of prey. They will always live on in my heart. I believe I now understand somewhat what it feels like to know freedom and have it taken away from you. For many years I have stayed in a region that has challenged me immensely. Yet moving back to my hometown from Washington, DC, I found myself pursuing passions that I loved such as working with wildlife, educating people about the environment and writing on behalf of the animals and this planet. I kept staying for my parents and later because of my son. Now I am still here because I'm attached to my land and all that I've created. Yet there was a time when I felt freedom that was not bound by responsibilities nor financial decisions.

Note: All photos shown were originally taken by photographer David Lawrence Reade www.dlrimagery.com.

 

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.

Wizard, a Barred Owl that was blinded when she collided with a vehicle and could not be released to the wild after recovery.

Wizard, a Barred Owl that was blinded when she collided with a vehicle and could not be released to the wild after recovery.

Artemis, a Barn Owl that was part of a barn owl breeding project and kept by the wildlife center for educational purposes.

Artemis, a Barn Owl that was part of a barn owl breeding project and kept by the wildlife center for educational purposes.

Retch, the Turkey Vulture who damaged his wing in a vehicle collision and was not releasable to the wild.

Retch, the Turkey Vulture who damaged his wing in a vehicle collision and was not releasable to the wild.

Yoda, a Great Horned Owl that was imprinted by a well meaning person and eventually became too much to handle. He was later transferred to a wildlife center.

Yoda, a Great Horned Owl that was imprinted by a well meaning person and eventually became too much to handle. He was later transferred to a wildlife center.

Sometimes we are put exactly where we are meant to be to remember who we truly are. No doubt we are also here to affect the lives of others, as well as the land that we live upon. In so doing, we come full circle with our path in life.

I know that the captivity of those birds of prey in some ways was cruel and yet in other ways they had a profound impact on my life as well as the lives of so many volunteers and audiences that had the privilege to see and work with them. So perhaps, God does work in mysterious ways and sometimes clips our wings so that we remain exactly where we are meant to be. I'd like to believe those magnificent birds also chose their path...

“She is often the broken-winged one, who does everything all wrong until people realize she’s been doing it...pretty right all along.
~Clarissa Pinkola Estes
— Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

I Need Only Remember...

We are the agents, the channels, the beings
through which Love manifests in this world.
In this remembering lies our destiny.

What if all the things that seemed unfair
turned out to make sense after all?
What if every life drama we needed
for the growth of our soul was provided for us?

I am the soul of the world
and the Song of Songs.
My life is a wonder and a blessing.

I need only remember.
~Joan Borysenko

Saving Goliath

For many years now I have been wanting a Staffordshire Terrier for some reason. I think because they have such a bad reputation and are so misunderstood. And for years I would see pictures of rescue pit bulls and read their stories and in my mind I kept seeing a grey one that I knew I would have some day. In the mean time, I rescued and adopted several of the wrong dogs for us, but in the end I knew they were meant to be saved and eventually ended up in wonderful homes.

About a month ago my niece contacted me about a Shiba Inu named Max that was at the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter. Being familiar with the breed and intrigued because he had the same name as my son, we went to see Max, but he was adopted that day. Somehow I felt we were meant to be at the shelter and look around to see what other dogs were looking for homes. After two separate visits that week, we couldn't agree between two completely different dogs- a female pit bull and an adorable Chihuahua mix that looked like a tiny fox. I decided to look one more time. There happened to be a handsome grey and white pit bull that drew my attention initially but did not seem to want to come out, so we went to look at him again.

The day of Goliath's arrival with sadness and fear of his past still lingering in his eyes..

The day of Goliath's arrival with sadness and fear of his past still lingering in his eyes..

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

Goliath was caged between two other dogs that were huge and very loud. I could tell that he was stressed but we tried one more time and no sooner was he outside in the fresh air, he affectionately jumped on us and gave us all his attention. This had not happened with the other two dogs in question. They had seemed to be more interested in everyone and everything else. Goliath chose us despite his fearful surroundings and in that moment we immediately felt a heart connection to him. He was the dog I had envisioned so many years ago and he immediately fit in when we got him home. It felt like he had been with us forever.

No sooner did Goliath arrive than the right home opened up for our other dog that I had been trying to place for 5 years due to her anxiety issues of being in a suburban environment. Her new home on 55 acres was ideal for her. Everything seemed to be falling into place unexpectedly just because of another dog named Max.

It took several days, but we decided to name Goliath "Dawson". It was my son's choice. Later I found out that Dawson means "son of David, the beloved". I couldn't think of a more appropriate name. He is a sweetheart and filled with love. He is so grateful to be part of our family.

May the Sun...

May the sun
bring you new energy by day,
may the moon
softly restore you by night,
may the rain
wash away your worries,
may the breeze
blow new strength into your being.

May you walk
gently through the world and know
its beauty all the days of your life.
~Apache Blessings