Monthly Archives: June 2013


Some of my best times growing up were tooling around the countryside, or sitting under the tree by the water up at the cottage. Why is it so difficult to recreate that time? I remember one day a few years ago when I biked over to Kensington, took off my shoes, and sat in the park and wrote for an hour, just letting the crazy flow out of me.

There is something so delicious about taking your shoes off and feeling the grass tickling the bottom of your feet. Allowing yourself the unguarded moment where you feel truly safe, and where the constraints of the world don’t impinge.

I had this intuitive sense of the world, almost like I could see things happening or speaking to me, but it was submerged and overlaid with a reductionist left-brained world view and set of analysis tools.

What I didn’t realize was that this was a symptom of something far deeper.

Similar to searching for local minima in a protein folding landscape, or the fear of the unknown that stands between us and the next thing we know we need to do, I had put up barriers between what I saw as myself, and a much more fundamental part of me.

As I mentioned, I was sitting in the Faculty of Forestry’s garden when I first heard it.

“Can you hear us? Why do you tease us so?”
“Who said that?”

But I immediately looked around, unconsciously using my analytical overlay to try to determine who was saying it.

And I lost it.

A couple of weeks later, I was sitting in the park, it was summer, so I was enjoying ruffling my bare feet through the grass as I sat under one of the beautiful trees.

It was as I could feel the tension flowing out of me….

“So, you feel that?”
In my now relaxed state, I was able to reply “Yeah, I do. Is it not what I think it is?”
“What you feel as tension is really the blocked flow.”
“Blocked flow?”
“The flow of the power of nature.”
“The power of nature? Can I do things like make trees walk around?”
“No, nothing quite so flamboyant, at least not at first. And even when you can, it’s always much easier to do it the other way. Besides, I like where I’m standing right now, and I have important work to do right here.”
“So, what do you mean, Power?”
“Some people talk about it as being the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, but that’s really only a first approximation. When you open yourself up, you can feel what is going on around you.”
“But that’s basic knowledge, what everyone does. I’m guessing you’re talking about something different?”
“Yes. When you take off your foot coverings and connect with the earth, the energy, you might call it information, can flow up into you.”
“Energy/information? What do you mean? Does it flow out of you? What do you do with it?”
“Well, I take the information that flows up out of the ground, the information that comes to me along with little bits of the minerals that your people hold so dear, and farm it out to my leaves, where I combine it with the Sun, and process it. Most of what I give back is oxygen, but there’s a little bit of knowledge that goes along with it.”
“Wait, what?”
“Yes, it’s all part of the flow of information back and forth. It flows out of my leaves, you breathe it in in small bits, and then let it out through your hands, sometimes your face.”
“But where does putting my bare feet on the ground come into this?”
“So, you can breathe it in, but that’s really slow and cumbersome. Far better to establish a direct connection. If you could grow roots…”
“Not so far…”
“…then it would be even better. When you are more experienced, we should link, and I can give you a glimpse of all that I see.”
“Yes, a sharing of minds, if you will. But anyways, when you walk barefoot, it flows in, when you write or talk, it flows out. When you dance, it comes out in all directions.”
Sitting there in amazement, and somewhat stunned, I could only ask:
“So, what should I do know?”


When I first noticed it, I thought it was something else. I would go downtown, and then feel a push away from the most heavily and intensely built up areas in the downtown core. I next felt it around the engineering part of the University campus, a subtle force that I first ascribed to never feeling like I was able to prove myself to the people there.

It’s an odd feeling to feel like your unconscious body is nudging you away from a location. A vague unease, like you are not wanted there, or that you’re uncomfortable with something in some undefinable way.

It all started to come together when I realized that I was having the same reaction to a schoolyard for a school that I had never been to. I thought that it was just that the wind or sun was flowing through in a way that they wouldn’t through houses, or something about not being quite as mentally stimulating, but no, it was something deeper.

I didn’t mind sitting on the park bench by the field, but something about the organization or perhaps the institutional nature of the structure screamed NO! at me.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in the forestry gardens inside the university that I put it together. It was one of the places I was most comfortable on campus (modulo parks that followed ancient creeks), but it still spoke to me as something entirely too managed.

And that’s when one of them first spoke to me.