Happy Birthday, Mary Oliver!

Ocean-Twilight_0960K Henry Domke

Photo by Henry Domke

Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets, and I learned this morning on The Writer’s Almanac that it’s her Birthday. So in her honor, here is one of her lovely poems, with an accompanying photo by the talented Henry Domke.


What is the good life now? Why,
look here and consider
the moon’s white crescent

rounding, slowly, over
the half month to still
another perfect circle–

the shining eye
that lightens the hills,
that lays down the shadows

of the branches of the trees,
that summons the flowers
to open their sleepy faces and look up

into the heavens.
I used to hurry everywhere,
and leaped over running creeks.

There wasn’t
time enough for all the wonderful things
I could think of to do

in a single day. Patience
comes to the bones
before it takes root in the heart

as another good idea.
I say this
as I stand in the woods

and study the patterns
of the moon shadows,
or stroll down to the waters

that now, late summer, have also
caught the fever, and hardly move
from one eternity to another.


From:  New and Selected Poems, Volume Two
Copyright ©:  Mary Oliver

If you want to learn more about Oliver beyond what Wikipedia might tell, I suggest this article, Mary Oliver and the Nature-esque.


Happy New Year!


I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life. — Bill Watterson


Calvin and Hobbes

Wishing all of our TLN members a healthy, joyous, green-kneed 2015!


“Ecoliteracy Under Our Feet” – Greening Cleveland Elementary School

Children and nature

For the last Therapeutic Landscapes Network Blog post of 2014, we want to share an inspiring story of one of many schools that that is “greening” its schoolyard. The six gardens and overall ecoliteracy program at Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland, CA were spurred by Mary Schriner, who interviewed for a position there. When they asked her why she wanted to work at Cleveland Elementary, she responded, “Because your school looks like a prison yard, and I’d like to change that.” And she has changed both the school and grounds, and the lives of those who learn and teach there. One of the first conversations with her students began with the question, “What is a weed?” The project has been a tremendous success. Says Schriner, “I’ve had many, many moments when I’ve almost wanted to cry because I can feel the community happening, not because of me, but because of the natural world that we’re trying to create conditions for at the school. There’s been so much magic around the garden that I just have a lot of gratitude.”

Click here to read the full article by The Center for Ecoliteracy‘s senior editor Michael Stone, “So Much Magic Around the Garden.”


“…the slow breathing of the earth.”

Photo by Henry Domke

Photo by Henry Domke

“Gravity is measured by the bottom of the foot; we trace the density and texture of the ground through our soles. Standing barefoot on a smooth glacial rock by the sea at sunset, and sensing the warmth of the sun-heated stone through one’s soles, is an extraordinarily healing experience, making one part of the eternal cycle of nature. One senses the slow breathing of the earth.” – Juhani Pallasmaa  The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses


Some weekend inspiration

Cloud tree

Photo is from the Facebook page, 1,000,000 pictures.

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

–Quoted in H. Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977).


(Almost) Wordless Wednesday, 7/16/14

Water lily photo by Henry Domke

Water lily photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

“Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
– Albert Einstein


Happy National Nurses Week!

Jacqueline Fiske Healing Garden, Jupiter Medical Center, Jupiter, FL. Photo courtesy of Studio Sprout

Jacqueline Fiske Healing Garden, Jupiter Medical Center, Jupiter, FL. Photo courtesy of Studio Sprout

“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.” – Florence Nightingale

Let’s hear it for nurses!

If anyone knew the value of fresh air and access to the outdoors, it was Florence Nightingale (1820-1910); her birthday is on May 12th, and National Nurses Week began on May 6th.

Therapeutic and restorative gardens in hospitals and other healthcare facilities are not just for patients and visitors. Staff can benefit just as much – and sometimes even more. The outdoors is a critical place of respite where people who deal with life-and-death situations can go, by themselves or with colleagues, to take a physical, mental, and/or emotional break. Whenever possible, healthcare facilities should provide separate garden spaces for staff. This separation of space for different users with different needs can be as important as the space itself. Even a view of the outdoors has been found to benefit staff, for example by reducing stress and improving alertness (which, of course, benefits the patients as well!). (more…)

Autumn and Albert Camus

Fall maple by Henry Domke, http://henrydomke.com

Fall maple photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
–  Albert Camus



Virgin tiger moth. Photo by Henry Domke, http://henrydomke.com

Virgin tiger moth. Photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

“Humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life.”

Edward O. Wilson, Biophilia

Nature as Healer

California poppy, Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, U.K. Photo by Naomi  Sachs

Photo by Naomi Sachs

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

~ John Burroughs

Path at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, U.K.

Path at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, U.K. - Photo by Naomi Sachs