Balance Restores

On the last day of celestial, and earthly, equilibrium for 2012, Fern and I went to Lobos Creek Trail in the Presidio.

Less than one meandering mile, the boardwalk twines through coastal dune and oak scrub that has been replanted and restored. The area went from utter industrial devastation, to thriving oasis. Far below the trail, Lobos Creek, the last free flowing (at least for now, since more creeks will be daylighted soon) offers life giving waters. Ansel Adams, who grew up near by, used to explore the Lobos valley area as a child.

In the Spring, the area is rampant with wildflowers and butterflies, but now in Fall there is only the rattly hush of dried seeds and falling leaves. Like Moonshine Heather’s recent posts about September’s Saving Graces, I find equal beauty in the late life cycle of plants. The landscape is not full of the usual cacophony of voices, but there is a satisfied lull, reminiscent of the relaxed pause after the last crash of cymbals, or the last coat of paint on a craft project. 😉


Coyote Bush…the female plants get these tufts of fuzzy seeds, looking for all the world like the shed undercoat of a passing canine, and it makes me laugh in delight.


Coastal Buckwheat, with edible seeds.

I pointed out the fuzzy tops of these dried grasses to Fern, and she began collecting a bouquet. I don’t know what they are, but we dubbed them “Rabbit Tails” and I’m satisfied with that.


Notice the duck? More about that in a minute.

We completed our walk through the low desert, and then climbed up into the trees.


I see spiraling twists in nature and I am reminded of the goodness in the way life just works, if supported and yet left alone.


Fall and Winter are a time to notice the small qualities that make up a whole…less razzle dazzle of growth and flowers, and more slow and steady like an everpresent lichen adding a splash of color.

We found a secret meeting place, obviously used previously by a council of Elves, or perhaps Dryads.

We played Goldilocks and tried out each seat.

Ducky did too.

Fern has many cute stuffies, hand picked by Mama and Papa and relatives, all creatively inspiring and adorable. So which one does she attach to? The .99 cent duck that we randomly handed her at the goodwill.

Ducky is the depository for all her love…and also an incredible amount of aggression. Exhibit A.


Yes, she IS spanking her duck with a stick. I don’t know folks, enlighten me on this one?

We left the arena and wandered back into the woods. I found another spot for council…

But Fern said, They’re not seats, they’re drums!


We played for a long while, and began singing too. I sang her some of my favorite old-timey tunes, and then we began “channeling” the songs of the trees, picking a specific Ent and giving voice to its tune.

She began frolicking and I rested.

I feel so hopeful whenever I visit (or work in) a natural area that is undergoing care and revitalization. There are many factions of those in power who want us to think that restoring our wilderness is too costly, too hard, too problematic. We’ve already destroyed that forest, that wetland, that mountainside, so let’s just give it over to capital interests and let it go. Yet I’ve seen time and again how, with even just minimal care and support, the life system of any being, be it person, animal, garden or ecosystem, bounces back with renewed energy in its quest for wholeness.

For that is what we all are doing, even in our darkest hours or most misguided ways…our systems are trying to right themselves, like a bug flipped onto its back. Our psyches do this when we infuriate ourselves by “repeating patterns”, trying something again and again to complete an interrupted cycle, hoping to finally get it right. Give an ecosystem a nudge in the right direction, and even the most abused landscape can return to ecological wholeness. Perhaps most of all, it requires trust in basic goodness. We can cut ourselves a break and realize that, although perhaps the actions we are choosing are not helpful or kind, they still are the movements of a child’s heart, attempting to navigate out of the forest. For the forest, it is about inviting that basic goodness to re-emerge, to offer seeds a foothold in eroding soil.

Thank you for your kind and loving-hearted responses to my last post! I was so blown out by the time we finished it, that I couldn’t even quite “see” it anymore. I was like I think this is really cool, but I also can no longer tell. So your feedback was uplifting and regenerating. Thank you friends.

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11 thoughts on “Balance Restores

  1. I am still awed by how beautiful Fern’s early days are. I feel peceful having read this, hopeful and peaceful about things as they are, and working themselves out. I began the day with the words, Today has peace in it!!! and am finishing the day with that. Thank you so much Lovely Mary xx

  2. Beautiful place and photos – the boardwalk reminds me of an estuary we have here in Napier (NZ)..we call them bunny tails 🙂

  3. my sister had a duck. in fact when i saw that duck i was all, hey! that looks like our duck! we called her Pata, which means duck in Portugese. she was very beloved, and even managed to become beloved by me, who was a too cool for everything 12-15 year old during Pata’s heyday. when she was lost for a month once, i found myself very upset, and when i discovered her under a bush in our yard, i jumped for joy. just once, before anyone else saw me. now Pata lives at our house, my sister generously gifted him to my oldest son, who is obsessed with stuffed animals. very sweet little memory. love that coyote bush.

  4. these pictures are so good, mary. the coastal buckwheat and coyote bush are so pretty. the rabbit tails are awesome and little ducky, i hope fern and little ducky have many more days out foraging in the outdoors together. all the more special that he came from the goodwill, too. i adore the goodwill, as well. 🙂

  5. What a magical place. How much fun playing on those drums must have been! On a great coast trip (that since went down in family folk lore) with my aunt, my mum and myself those ‘rabbit tails’ were everywhere. I would have been 10 at the time, and we were all reading Harry Potter. I was rereading the forth book (it had recently come out), while my mum and aunt battled for the third. Because the dim and horrible character Peter Pettigrew was disguising himself as a rat, called Scabbers we would pretend that ‘Scabbers’ was coming to get you and stroke each others faces with them, then run away! Haha! We call them ‘rats tails’ because of this, but I guess that’s rather an awful name really! We had lots of fun running up and down the sand dunes though. 🙂

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