Belonging To Berries

One of the ways to cultivate belonging of course, is to become friends with the local flora and fauna. Since it’s June that means it’s the beginning of berry season, and they’re out there awaiting our conversation!

Tongue, meet salmonberry, salmonberry, meet tongue.

In our neck of the woods (Humboldt County), we are blessed with many kinds of wild berries. Blackberries by the bushel will be everywhere in a couple months, but already Salmonberries are plumping nice.

We found a variety of berries among a a beautiful mixed shore pine/Sitka spruce forest with red alder, deer and bracken fern, elderberry & huckleberry bushes (later season). Thimbleberry flowers are blooming, with berries coming soon. Salal berries a little later. Also, the tendrils of wild cucumbers were looping through the other bushes–they look like some alien sea pod and are gorgeous, but don’t eat them! .

twinberry.jpgTwinberry honeysuckle (the dark ones) are not really edible, but have been used medicinally and for dying basketry, etc. We’re looking forward to experimenting with some wild dyes this season.

Sometimes you gotta head off trail into the bush to greet the first berries of the season.

All three of these berries are new to me, but getting to know them and the whole plant helps me sink into a deeper sense of belonging with the land and more-than-human world.

What are some wild berries in your area?



Over the next few weeks, I will be posting ways in which we can cultivate belonging—to Place (the land, watershed, & more-than-human world), to community, & to self (body/soul/calling)—and how these are all interrelated.

One of the ways to cultivate belonging to where you’re at (in time and space) is by learning about the original inhabitants of the land. Especially because I live & work on the land, I find it especially important and meaningful. This includes educating myself about the history of indigenous people where I am, their relationship with the ecosystem, their stories, the history of settler aggression, current culture & struggles.

Here on the ‘North Coast’, in the Humboldt Bay region, that is the Wiyot people (where I live). The Wiyot and adjacent people thrived here for 1000s of years prior to European settlement. Wiyot ancestral lands extend from Little River in the north, to Bear River Ridge to the south, and inland to Chalk Mountain & Berry Summit.

So the first step is recognizing that, & owning that I come here as a settler & part of a colonial thrust of history that disrupted & ALMOST eliminated that entire culture.

From Native Lands App

But Wiyot are still here & thriving, and just a few months ago Eureka City council voted unanimously to return Duluwat (Indian Island) in the Bay to the Wiyot tribe. In February 1860, Duluwat was the site of a horrendous massacre of women, children, &  elderly by Euro-Americans, when the men were away gathering supplies.

Wiyot today consider the island sacred ground, center of the world, & hold an annual renewal gathering there. I’ve read that this is the first time a municipality has voluntarily chosen to repatriate land to the original inhabitants. The Wiyot are in the process of reclamation, restoration, & cleanup from the erosion and industries.

The journey of learning the history and people is continually deepening. I’m eager to know more & also find ways to support the work of indigenous people.

Check out the app called ‘Native Land’ to find out more about indigenous in your area.

Next up in #CultivatingBelonging: Watershed

Sometimes You Have To Invent a New Role

Sometimes you have to invent a new role. In fact, the Great Turning we are in the midst of may depend on it.

Our task is not to shore up the current (insane) paradigm, our task is to become more fully who we uniquely are, to create new cultural delivery systems to share the essence of our gifts.

So dig deep and unfurl that image living inside/through you. If it doesn’t fit any categories currently dominant in this culture of forgetting, death, and distraction, you’re probably on the right path.

Perhaps the more outrageous, the more the world needs it, and the more fulfilled you’ll be.

That outrageous creation that is YOU, is the route to service AND deepest personal fulfillment and belonging.

What the world needs is more initiated adults, people who know themselves, who live with purpose and courage to make the world better, share their gifts, and to lead and mentor others from a heart-centered place.

There’s no time to indulge in self-doubt. Can you trust those whispers (or shouts) within?

So this is a photo of me, being Earth Poet & Inner/Outer Wilderness Guide.

What’s the image/purpose/passion/energy in you is trying to live into the world?

We need it!

And what are you waiting for?

In all the best and wild mysteries,


I love that line, “We’re all just walking each other home,” by Ram Dass & Paul Gorman in their book How Can I Help.

But what does it mean? I think in part it means we are here to help each other live into our wholeness and deep belonging.

That we all have some feeling of separation, and anxiety around not knowing what the #€^¥! we are doing, that we yearn for aliveness, for being challenged to be our best selves, for being seen for who we are, and for being accepted for that, the good, bad, ugly, and yes, the beautiful. And that when we offer a gentle heart and big ears to one another, we are walking one another home.

What does it mean to you?


“Having uncovered your soul image or story, you long to embody your soul in a way that engenders genuine and intimate communion between people, the land, the other-than-human beings. This is the way you’ll participate in the unfolding of the world’s soul. you know the world cannot flower into its full potential without each person, including you, playing the part each was born to play.” —Bill Plotkin

B9A84444-5E6E-41CE-AA54-2F0A8E25506E.jpegPlotkin’s work is an important tool in the Wild Nature Heart toolbox. The nature-based map of the psyche, the 8 stages of psycho-spiritual development (Wheel of Life), and a variety of soul-craft exercises are delightful & useful for excavating our unique treasures/soul gifts, leaning into our growing edge, & anchoring how we BELONG to the greater story.

Where are you at on your psych-spiritual journey? I locate myself as having been in the Apprentice at the Wellspring stage since I made a huge transition (Initiation) in my life in almost all ways two years ago. I became an ecotherapist, crossed the threshold in a Wilderness rite-of-passage. apprenticed myself to the land, to the craft of poetry, to deep listening, and to bringing people into wild nature to Re-Wild and reconnect to themselves. After founding Wild Nature Heart, and offering a variety of reconnection programs, after publishing two books of earth poetry (and material for several other books), after living intimately with Nature for two years, after Wilderness First Responder Training, I now recognize I have passed into the Artisan in the Wild Orchard stage, which is demanding something more and bigger.

This is the stage when we step more fully into our power by developing new cultural delivery systems to share the essence of our gift. It is the great Giveaway as art form.

That is why I find myself up-leveling my work & expanding Wild Nature Heart’s offerings & network, with a focus on earth-rooted teaching, 1-on-1 Mentoring, and Inner/Outer Wilderness Guiding—All with a goal of becoming more fully who we are, acting from wholeness, and embodying our soul gifts in the world.

This summer we are launching Wild Nature Heart Academy’s first class with a cohort of 8 people (see previous post), and the Say Yes to Your Wild Nature Heart Wilderness Backpacking Journey, both in August. If this work speaks to you, drop us a line,