New Years Eve Reflections

A lovely midwinter day, blue sky broken by high clouds. Cold, with the temperature hovering around -1 F and the wind chill far below zero. The deep snow cover enhances radiational cooling while protecting plants and underground infrastructure. Still, new pot holes appear in road surfaces daily.

It is New Years Eve. Now ten days have passed since the solstice and the light is noticeably stronger and the days longer. New Years acknowledges and celebrates these visible, and felt, changes. This year the cold has settled in with renewed fierceness, giving emphasis to the adage, “The days lengthen and the cold strengthens.” Continue reading



This post is in fond memory of two men who greatly contributed to my life: my father, and Ipu (Dr. Bernardo Peixoto).

I’ve come down with a cold, one of those sinus filling, lethargy generating viruses that linger. I try not to be too judgmental of myself or the virus, after all, we share this life; maybe we even need each other.

This appreciation for our shared desire to live is a fundamental tenet of the Jain way of life.  The Jains seek to do as little harm to all beings as humanly possible. As you might imagine, their diet is somewhat restrictive, allowing only foods that can be harvested without killing plants or animals. Yet, it is truly delicious, and when we are in India we go out of our way to find local Jain restaurants.

Traditionally, Native America has taken a different approach to the problem of eating. I was taught we share Mother Earth with innumerable other beings, all of whom need to live and eat. There is simply no way to move through the world without harming other beings, so the next best thing is to be grateful to, and respectful of, those who die so we may continue to live. Continue reading

Spring, Song, Gratitude

TrilliumSpring has arrived and the world is green again. The sun has moved brightly to the north, and days and nights are warmer, some almost balmy.  The garden seeds are sprouting and many of the perennials are flourishing, some in bloom. There are finally fresh greens and flowers at the farmers’ market. Sadly, our favorite baker has closed, at least for this year.

This is a good time to be grateful. Without spring and summer we would have no food; the Earth is generous with us, even as we harm her. It is good to pray with gratitude to the Creator and the Earth, to drum and sing. It is good to place food and flowers on the altar in recognition of the spirits and Ancestors, to remember and acknowledge the generosity of all of those who make our lives possible. Continue reading