Intuition

Forging a New Path

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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.

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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. 

The Allure of Sumac

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Staghorn Sumac is a tree that has intrigued me for many years, yet I knew relatively little about it. This year the brilliant display of its leaves triggered something in me that was very profound. I simply could not get enough of its brilliant reds and oranges as I walked my dogs along a local trail that I had recently been acquainting myself with. Since the trail runs east and west, along with some incredible sunsets, there has been such a brilliant display of reds, oranges and greens in recent weeks. The Staghorn Sumac has become a new friend amidst an already huge list of trees that I love.

I have two young trees that appeared a few years ago on my land as it has been slowly regenerating and enlivening. I have allowed them to grow in the middle of two gardens because I know I will love the eventual color they will bring in the fall to my landscape. In Europe, Staghorn Sumacs are highly regarded ornamental trees but here in the US, because they grow easily in the wild, they are considered invasive in some areas despite being a native species. I tend to believe that every plant and tree has a purpose and knows better than we do, what needs to be in a certain landscape. These trees provide food for songbirds and other animals as they anchor the soil and prevent degradation of the landscape while slowly revitalizing it, not to mention the sheer beauty that their color provides for the human eye. The brilliant red color is linked to the 1st chakra, the energy center that is primal to our sense of groundedness and foundation within our body, as well as our sense of safety and well being in the world.

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I felt this tree was calling to my heart so I decided to learn more about it and found out that the cluster of red fuzzy berries on the female trees, were actually edible and highly nutritious. I was pleasantly surprised to find out they are loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants. The tree has a long history of medicinal use by Native Americans in treating digestive and respiratory issues, as well as overcoming infections and healing wounds due to its antifungal properties. If I follow the doctrine of signatures and just look at the brilliant color of its leaves, I feel that this tree helps to restore balance to the heart and circulation, not just to humans, but also to the land it inhabits.

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Staghorn Sumac belongs to the family of trees and shrubs called Anacardiaceae which interestingly contains the word 'cardiac' meaning relating to the heart. I know these trees are helping the land breathe again, as they are often found in hedgerows alongside roads or where the land has been somehow disturbed. I also found references to its use in circulatory problems which didn't surprise me because I feel that this is the tree's purpose- to restore balance and flow of energy and to heal with its softness.

I love the soft, silkiness of the Staghorn Sumac's bark. That soothing feeling reflects a gentleness of the properties of this tree that decorates our wild landscapes. I trust that its medicinal properties also gently heal the heart and all the cells of our body as we ingest this gift from the Earth. There is something so vibrant and yet so primal about this tree, that I know I need to develop a deeper relationship with it. What better way than to create a drink from its berries? This week, for the first time I sampled the nectar of the soft, fuzzy berries after allowing them to seep for 24 hours in water. The drink is tart, yet refreshing and nutritious. After my test run, I decided to gather some more berries and made a large batch. I'm excited to get to know my new ally more intimately and reap the benefits of this medicinal tree. After drinking a full glass yesterday, I could feel the richness of my dreaming returning to me and I'm looking forward to my daily ritual of sipping this newfound nectar.

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 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 2017 Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison. All photos and content subject to written permission by author.

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.