PHOTO ESSAY, Griffy Lake, March 16, Part I: Walking the hill trail


On this blustery March morning, Shadow and I decided to return to Griffy Lake, to see if other signs of spring had sprung, especially since yesterday, when the temp reached 79°!

On his way, ahead up the hill, can you see the little guy whose furry self is the color of tree bark? Hint: he’s to the left of the big tree; hmmm — his back is bent — probably pooping.


Shadow! Come here!


Wow! Wish my own shadow, the one that furtively hides, deep inside my unconscious — the one that lets me know I’m still and will always be, full of self-serving ego, no matter how mightily I try to eradicate it — would so easily come when I call it.

Sunday afternoon last, I participated in an hour-long “Jewish” program in Indianapolis. I wanted to honor my recently discovered herstory as a Jew.


Shortly before she died, in 2014, we eight siblings discovered that our mother Renee Rosenberger was Jewish! Which makes sense of the fact that we knew that Nana, her mother and our maternal grandmother, never even met her grandparents, even though they also lived in Saint Cloud Minnesota! Furthermore, as an adult, Mom held what I thought to be a strong, and peculiar bias against Jews.

Yes, another hidden aspect of my own shadow is ancestral!

One of things that came up during Sunday’s sweet ceremony was the idea that if a supposedly guru (or authentic rabbi) tells you that he knows how to get rid of the ego, he’s lying, and so not a real guru! That the ego is always with us; that all we can do is keep calling ourselves on it. That struck home.

Paula Saffire, who officiated on Sunday, also made a comment that made us all laugh: “Jews are schizophrenic; their history has been so full of suffering that they have to be ready to rejoice on a dime!”

Rejoice on a dime. Love that phrase.

So Shadow and I continued along the Griffy hill path, noticing stuff, as is my wont. Everything I notice is, of course, something that I am primed — by my own awareness, herstory, perceptions, and conscious and unconscious pattern seeking — to notice. Of the infinite zillions of things that I could notice, and the infinite zillions of things that are so weird or wild that I would never, ever even imagine noticing them, only certain things pop out. Like, for example, signs of spring, which is, of course, the excuse I offered myself in the first place for once again heading for Griffy Lake! My last post from there was on February 26, and I assumed much has changed! If that was Winter’s End, then this is Spring’s beginning!

Or as Hildegard of Bingen put it, it’s the “greening” time.

Hildegard of Bingen, writes Matthew Fox, was one of the “great creation-centered mystics of the West.” This multitalented and prolific abbess of a Benedictine abbey was an influential preacher, healer, scientist, composer, theologian, artist, and poet. She coined the term viriditas, or greening power, connecting it closely with creativity.

But wait! Where are the signs of spring? As we head up the hill, I don’t see much change from three weeks ago, except for this bush, now pushing its leaves from the bud.



Oh wow, and as we start down the hill, notice: that bush seems to be everywhere!


Wait a minute. What are those pink flags? Instantly, my latent paranoid tendencies pop up, and of course, I then notice the flags everywhere:

I don’t even want to let my imagination get going on this one. . . Okay, then, don’t!. Breathe! BE! Or at least distract your attention with something else. Okay. Hey, look at these hobbit homes! Sure wish my perception would open to the little people. . .


Okay, enough wishing. Better to stay with what IS, eh? Like these downed trees, fallen on each other, rotting back into earth, scenes of slow motion cac0phony . . .


Geez Ann! Why do you focus on decay and destruction? What’s up with you? Well, there you have it again. Maybe it’s the “suffering Jewish” part of me. My late husband Jeff Joel, who knew he was Jewish, despite his father’s refusal to let him learn Hebrew as a child, very much exemplified that Jewish trait. I’d say to him: “Enough with your culture of complaint; I want a culture of creativity!” Over and over again, I’d intone those words, ones he barely heard, so deeply interior was his depressed, soulful self.

I just realized: I was inadvertently maintaining Hildegard’s discovery: veriditas forever!

So maybe with Jeff gone the Jeff part of me is surfacing? So that I can turn schizophrenic, part soulful, part rejoicing?

Oh wow, look at that! Ferns?!


Oh wow! This one section of the forest is blooming ferny thingies!


What are ferns, exactly? I know that they are very very ancient, that they “dominated the botanical world for millions upon millions of years,” and that’s all. The ones I used to see on trails up mountain valleys in Jackson Hole (where I lived for 18 years), actually spiralled out at their growing tips. Indeed, according to something I just read, where?, everything, at whatever scale, spirals. So if we humans are fascinated by the spiral,


— there’s good reason. We are part of nature, remember? We participate in nature’s templates no matter what we think and do.

For example, check out this vine, forming what we call a “sine wave.”


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“. . . and in many other fields.” And in nature, nitwit!

Speaking of which. Notice the original camouflage coloration of beech tree bark:


Let’s face it. Everything we’ve ever learned or imagined has been part of nature’s lexicon forever.


And the now trendy term “biomimicry” doesn’t begin to fathom Nature’s “buzzing blooming confusion,” that greets the new born child, her endless mysteries that confound even the most knowledgeable adult. As Socrates supposedly said, “wisdom is knowing how little we know.”

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Okay, that’s enough. I’ll keep the rest for Part II, our walk once we got down off the hill, the stream’s spring flow, and the new greening along the bottomlands.










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