I love special little posts that come my way, especially from a friend. And this one delighted me as an Earth Day participant.

I have met Marilyn and asked permission to use this post. It’s those like herself that inspire me to explore more. Enjoy her joy!

On this Earth Day, I want to tell you about Marilyn.

One spring morning, I was out hiking in the Forest of Issaquah, Washington collecting moss to look at under my microscope. I took a moment to sit with a tree and pondering my relationship with Nature. Asking myself how I could live in a way that heals this Earth more than harms her. I cried softly, a muddled mixture of gratitude and grief.

I walked back to the trail, wiping my eyes, and stumbled across an older woman hiking by herself. I didn’t want to give her the wrong idea with my Kritter Keeper full of moss (that I was another greedy human exploiting Mother Nature’s gifts) so I said hello and explained myself. I told her how I only collect moss that has already fallen from trees and that I would return everything to the Forest after my microscope investigation. We struck up conversation and I learned that she was on the hunt for a particular species of moss, just for fun. I told her about my art and asked if I could photograph her hands holding lichen. We exchanged information and I left the interaction feeling hopeful and healed.

I later reached out and asked if she would participate in a photography project I was working on. After thinking it over, she agreed. We met in the same Forest and spent the morning searching for critters to capture her with. I learned that she was 84 years old, a lifetime mountaineer, and that she goes hiking (mostly alone) as much as possible. She told me how she loves to search for faces in Nature, and showed me a photo of one of her favorites. The end of a cut-tree with ferns growing on top of it, giving the appearance of hair. She named him ‘Shag’ and had photos of him in every season.

As we walked between shooting locations, she would stop every few feet to closely examine a patch of moss or a mushroom. Her childlike fascination and joy were moving. Her camera roll is full of images of different plants, insects, animals, fungi. A true naturalist, she is always on the hunt for more information about the local ecology. Because she has a particular love for moss, I brought her a local moss field guide as a gift. Of course, she already had it!

Marilyn has been visiting the same Forests for many years, yet she enters each day with fresh eyes eager to unlock new secrets and uncover hidden beauty. She is keenly attuned to the magic of the Natural World, and her familiarity with the Forest only increases her fascination and her familiarity only increases her fascination. Jacques Cousteau said we protect what we love, so I want to remind you that finding joy in Mother Nature is a form of activism. Sharing that joy with others is invaluable work.

This beautiful planet will be much better off if we all live a little more like Marilyn.

Instagram.com/mymossyheart

mymossyheart.com

#earthday

Fairy Witch Cottagecore Vibes
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