Indigenous Principles

The ways of harmony with nature and other human beings Until they were overpowered by warfare, ancient cultures developed worldviews, philosophies and lifestyles that were largely Earth-oriented and sustainable. While language, rituals and lifestyles differed across cultures, there was consistency in many of their beliefs. That these principles survive in places today is a testament […]

Meaningful Human Connection

An antidote to polarization and violence A birthday celebration (Birthday girl not shown) I enjoyed Susan Vreeland’s novel Luncheon of the Boating Party so much I seriously considered a visit to The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.  to see Renoir’s painting by the same name. I didn’t go, but in visiting Vreeland’s website I found […]

What To Do When Your House Is On Fire

Responding appropriately to climate change First—Be Aware Of What’s Happening And Take Action Immediately From a whole-systems perspective, the key to managing complex living systems is to manage the parts in right functional relationship to each other. When this happens, the whole takes care of itself. With regard to climate, Earth is the whole and individual […]

Birch Tree: Symbol Of Adaptability

Renaissance Oasis Paper Birch Birch trees belong to the Betulaceae family, found wherever the climate is temperate. There are about 60 different species that can be white, yellow, silver and black, recognizable by their bark which peels off in strips. Having shallow roots, they thrive in moist soil with full sunlight. The typical lifespan of […]

The Poppy Flower: Symbol Of Abundance And Sharing

There are more than 70 species of poppy (Papaver) in the family Papaveraceae. Found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the Arctic Circle and in southern Africa they’re mostly cultivated as garden ornamentals. Notably, the Papaver somniferum species is the source of opium, a narcotic that contains alkaloids used in the production of morphine, heroin and codeine. […]

Dogwood: Symbol Of Equanimity

The dogwood tree belongs to the genus family Cornus, a French and Latin word for “horn,” which includes 30-60 hardwood trees and shrubs of both deciduous and evergreen varieties. The trees are native throughout the world and gained the name “dogwood” because dogs were unable to consume their fruits. Native Americans began planting crops, corn […]

The Ceiba Tree: Symbol Of Transformation

The Ceiba (“SAY-ba”) grows in the wet tropics of Mexico, Central and South America and West Africa, reaching heights of up to 230 ft. Growing thirteen feet a year, it’s the tallest tree in the Amazon rainforest. The buttresses that give it stability can be ten feet tall and extend ten feet from the trunk.  […]

The Majestic Oak: A Model of Endurance and Wisdom

This is a “Bur” oak, a massive tree that grows upward of 100 ft. tall and just as wide. Oaks can live more than 300 years. The name derives from “Burr,” the cup of the acorn which resembles the spiny bur of a chestnut. The species extends farther north than any of the other oaks. […]

The Tolerant American Beech Tree

Trees provide the very necessities of life itself. They clean our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy communities and feed the human soul.                                                        Arbor Day Foundation The […]

XV. Proportion

As an aesthetic dimension, proportion expresses the relationship of elements within a frame—to each other and to the whole image. Traditionally, paintings and photographs displayed logical proportion where everything within the frame conformed to observation. The part-whole relations made sense, so little to no interpretation was necessary.  Then in the early ‘20s, Picasso and Salvador […]