A seasonal cornucopia of Austintatious delights
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A seasonal cornucopia of Austintatious delights
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Very nice to be welcomed back to the Wildflower Center by this chill cottontail, who also said goodbye when I left.
June in Texas brings waves of yellow and purple wildflowers, a followup to the blues and reds of April and May. Pink is always in season.
Grateful for this beautiful, sunny day after the vernal equinox. From blooming Huisache trees, turtles and egrets to baby blue-eyes and columbine flowers, the hike and bike trail remains the heart and soul of Austin for me.
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The orchid pavilion at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina displayed so much resonance and rhythm in the beautiful colors and floral patterns I forgot it was a cold and cloudy day. Spring will bring even more color and fragrance to the gardens, perfect for a mindful saunter.
If it’s holiday enchantment you’re seeking, look no further than Luminations. Beginning with an ethereal performance by the Blue Lapis Dancers, thousands of luminarias and colorful mood lights illuminate the garden paths at the Wildflower Center. Dancers performing Oneness of Being.
Festive food and drinks are available for children of all ages at stations sprinkled throughout the gardens, including build your own s’mores. It was misty when I went, but that only added to the magic, evoking memories of snowy street scenes and hearth fires to warm the cockles of anyone’s heart.
One more chance to see this Winter Wonderland tonight and to support the good work of the Wildflower Center.
I described the 5 benefits of mindful walking in my prior post, which were: 1) a settled mind, 2) an appreciation of nature, 3) a chance to breathe deeply, 4) problem solving moments and 5) gratitude. Mindful walking unfurls the senses and allows the imagination to roam. Sauntering embraces nature with respect, love and joy. Respect is both the requirement and the outcome of a caring practice.
When I resonate with the life around me and begin to feel gratitude, sauntering begins. My body falls into rhythm, flowing with the energy of the earth. Resonating with light and shadow, warm and cool, the scent of grass and trees and vibrant textures of sound and color. Connecting with the “flowering earth,” as Lady Bird Johnson liked to say, helped me discover the 3 R’s of sauntering .
Resonance is generally defined as 1) the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating and 2) the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighboring object. In sauntering, resonance occurs by realizing our mutuality and connection with life. It reveals beauty in humble and unexpected places, like these unassuming wood sorrel flowers. The way the light, shadows and color resonate illuminates their modest beauty.
Rhythm invites the body to join in the dance, as we sway with the movement of the trees and grasses, the flitting birds and butterflies. It helps the mind drop its concerns and open into being. Connecting with the rhythms of nature brings the world alive. Feeling the energy of the earth through the swing of your hips, tapping into the flow of life is joyful. Rhythm can complement resonance in composition, creating vibrant, dynamic impressions.
Rejuvenation arises by grounding resonance and rhythm in Nature. The many benefits of being in nature include building brain plasticity and reducing stress. Releasing your body mind from accumulated toxins, inactivity and too much indoor time is an act of self-care. Sauntering tells children of all ages that it’s okay to play.
Sauntering walks at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center integrate nature, art and health, mindfully. Being in nature and experiencing the body as an antennae for the energy of the earth is to be well, a part of life rather than apart.
Green Mind Theory: How Brain-Body-Behaviour Links into Natural and Social Environments for Healthy Habits is an interesting, far reaching research study in the UK detailing the ways in which the body mind flourishes in connection with nature, which could produce a more empathetic, integrated and environmentally healthy culture. Go green!
After a year of retirement I have – a different relationship with time, a few projects that are bearing fruit, and the realization that building a new social network requires more patience and finesse than I anticipated.
Having my time back feels good, really good. It shapes itself to me in new ways, rhythmically, like a long, slow wave. Synchronicity has been peaking my imagination and leading to new people and opportunities. This is probably the most liberating aspect of having so much time on my hands
I miss the great conversations with my university colleagues, one of the things I treasured most about my job. Fortunately, there are new projects to develop, another favorite pastime from my years as a program coordinator. Completing my training as a docent at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center put me on track to create and implement a sauntering tour and workshop. It was time for me to define what I mean by sauntering and to share it with others.
The program’s architecture, its design emerged intuitively, as I asked myself what I really meant by sauntering. It was the first time I set about describing the act of walking mindfully, aesthetically. As I sauntered the lovingly cultivated trails at the Wildflower Center, the process became clearer. I discovered three principals of sauntering: resonance, rhythm and rejuvenation.
They build on the 5 Benefits of Walking Mindfully (Lynn Korbel)
I’ve developed several sauntering guided tours for the Wildflower Center, which I will describe in my next post. Lady Bird Johnson remains my inspiration and a guiding star for everyone who visits our oasis of native plants and habitats. Her spirit infuses the gardens and their caretakers with a deep love of nature, a premier destination for naturalists and saunterers everywhere.
“Some may wonder why I chose wildflowers when there are hunger and unemployment and the big bomb in the world. Well, I, for one, think we will survive, and I hope that along the way we can keep alive our experience with the flowering earth. For the bounty of nature is also one of the deep needs of man.” Lady Bird Johnson
Sauntering the new Fortlandia exhibit at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center brought back memories of all the trees I spent my childhood in. Take your inner child out for a play date, the exhibit will be up through February. Opening Saturday, September 29th through February, 2019.
Walking into the Blanton, walls alive with Australian Aboriginal art, one enters into a multidimensional conscious, dreaming and ancestral energy landscape. The images compel the body to enter into the dreamtime. It’s one of the most vibrant collections I’ve seen, showing through September 9th. If you go to one art exhibit this year, see this one!
From the Blanton
“The word landscape, derived from the Dutch landschap (region or tract of land) and first recorded in 1598, describes a way of depicting the natural world developed by European artists. Australian Aboriginal artists offer an entirely different vision, in which they forgo Western conventions of horizon lines and figure-ground distinctions. Instead, they give form to their mental maps of sites. The new version of landscape painting was most famously practiced by artists in Papunya, a government settle for displaced Aboriginal groups. In 1971, artists there began painting walls boards, and canvases to educate outsiders about their land and the obligation of “caring for country.” This defiance of government policies that forced people into artificial communities and taught children to ignore their ancestors sent shock waves through Australia.
Papunya artists painted swiftly and retained a commitment to secrets embedded in their system of learning. Their innovation helped spawn a modern art movement in Austraila. The resulting paintings “represent” the desert in ways that maintain the artists’ control over what is seen and what can never be revealed. While many of the sacred symbols and stories in the paintings may be explained to audiences outside the community, some remain accessible only to the individual, kinship groups, or peoples who share a particular Dreaming, an ancestral realm comprising spiritual beings, governing laws, and their narratives.”