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This Fall, NWEI’s Curriculum Director Lacy Cagle facilitated the Danforth Associates Northwest Conference as their resource person. Lacy brought NWEI’s Reconnecting with Earth course as key content for the weekend. Lacy says, “It’s a tradition at the Danforth Associates Northwest conference that the attendees write limericks about their experiences for the weekend. I was delighted by these and wanted to share them with you all — I hope you enjoy.”

The below limericks are credited to Danforth Associates Northwest. The limericks were all written during the September 30-October 2nd, 2012 annual conference.

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Northwest Earth Institute! Enjoy.

From the universe to deep ecology

(We) took them on without apology.

Earth Institute led the way

Our members joined the fray

With bursts of ecopsychology.

-Ernie Karlstrom


I am striving to live with nature’s flow.

To respect the heavens and

the earth below.

To reverence this mortal probation,

This moment which is our duration.

But darn it, I’ll miss my Pontiac GTO.

-Gary Huxford


In school I be learnin’ some countin’

Which I practice at the water fountain.

But then I came here

Talking ‘bout flowers and deer

Now I be thinkin’ like a mountain.

-Bob Soule


By Susan Wulfekuhler

Spring weekends often find me indulging in one of my favorite pastimes, stalking the wild nettle.  Stinging nettle thrives in the lush, moist forests of the Pacific Northwest where I love to hike as spring unfolds.  Looking for nettles on the greening forest floor sharpens my attention.  Picking and eating nettles, I feel my slow winter energy begin to stir with nettle’s signature spring “wake-up” call.  Nettle brings a quickening in body and soul.

As the years have gone by, I’ve noticed more patches of my blue-green medicinal ally being taken over by Himalayan blackberry, an invasive non-native introduced as a food plant in the 1800s.  The blackberry thrives in the same disturbed, moist soil favored by nettle.  Over time, I’ve noticed that left to its own devices, blackberry always wins.  It is a master of abundance, a model of resilience.

A few years ago, growing tired of unsuccessfully ripping the blackberry out of my special nettle patches and struggling through a difficult time personally, I decided this plant had much to teach me about creating abundance.  I spent a summer “apprenticing” myself to blackberry, listening to it and observing it through the growing season.  This is what I learned from blackberry about developing resilience and thriving in times of change:

  1. Spread your seeds by providing food for others.
  2. Provide delicious food for a diversity of beings.
  3. Use more than one pathway to create abundance.
  4. Look for a vacuum (niche) and fill it.
  5. Go for the light.
  6. Be tough.
  7. Persevere.
  8. Stay firmly rooted in the earth.
  9. Adapt to changing conditions.
  10. Protect your creations–be thorny when you need to.

If you’d like an opportunity to connect more deeply with Earth and the Universe, check out the Northwest Earth Institute’s Reconnecting with Earth course and create a group in your community.

Susan Wulfekuhler lives in Corvallis, Oregon.

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