Happy Halloween!






Trick or Treat?

 Native Americans enjoyed the fact(?) that the raven, crow, coyote and fox all display behavior that suggests that they appreciate a sense of humor. During a wonderful encounter with a fox pup, Loren Eiseley wrote, “Yet here was the thing in the midst of the bones, the wide-eyed innocent fox inviting me to play, with, with the innate courtesy of its two forepaws placed appealingly together, along with a mock shake of the head. The universe was swinging in some fantastic fashion around to show its face, and the face was so small that the universe itself was laughing.” The Innocent Fox: The Star Thrower.

 We have one or more foxes that visit our property on a nightly basis. Unlike our two cats that discretely bury their poop, the foxes proudly(?) deposit their waste as a highly visible “calling card.” There seems to be no end to their creative selection of deposit sites. We have a min-trail for each of 9 grandchildren and the foxes frequently make deposits at the respective trailheads as if they are claiming it as their own. We have many large boulders on the property and they seem to delight(?) in making a deposit on top of the rocks. The image of them balancing on top of a rock to do their business is hilarious. We frequently have “cards” dropped on our deck, along the trails and on the doormat at the entrance to my workshop. Today is Halloween and the fox seemed to be up for the celebration. Christie feeds her cats with tea saucers which she leaves on our back stoop. This morning, when she went for the daily newspaper, she discovered that a fox had left his/her calling card right in the middle of one of the saucers.


 Happy Halloween!


No Man Is An Island

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH  

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.          John Donne

Having Patti Rosellini discover BOFAW reminded me of Elton John’s “Golden Oldie,”  “Michelle’s Song.” A very, very long time ago (1975) I was not aware of the song until students used it in a slide-show to translate and communicate what they experienced on their trip to Yosemite. The current slide-show captures some of the joy and innocence that Biodesigners often experienced as they discovered the wonders of themselves, each other and Mother Nature. They were “casting pebbles in the water” that are still sending gentle ripples throughout the universe.

One of the most important themes of Biodesign out For A Walk is that The Class, and the book, were the result of a collaborative effort between students, parents, chaperones, scientists, sages and multiple mentors. Truly, the whole was greater than the sum of its parts and I was merely a “piece of the continent, a part of the main.”  It was truly an awesome privilege to be invited into the sacred realm of the teenage soul and I think it is important to share some of their insights.



Happy Anniversary Christie

Happy Anniversary Christie

Excerpt: BOFAW, “In Thanksgiving.”

And finally, the omega factor is often the most important in a
list. If readers are not able to see, or perhaps more importantly feel
between the lines, and sense that Christie was the guiding light for
The Biodesign Class and this book, I will have failed. Her quiet life
of prayer and contemplation provided the unseen spirit that hovered
over the hundreds of circles we formed each year to compare, communicate,
and contemplate. Without her, I would likely have been
like Ingrid (class of ’84) who suggested that, “I could have been born,
grown up, grown old, and died without knowing what life was really
all about.”

It is a bittersweet realization to know that most visitors to Yosemite Valley can easily grasp John Muir’s metaphorical reference to The Valley being a Temple, but not be able to grasp that they are really seeing a reflection of the “temple” within. St. Paul was well aware of this when he wrote:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.

This concept was beautifully illustrated to Christie and me, 15 years after we were married. We attended a “Marriage Encounter,” week-end which was conducted by 15 couples who had dynamic marriages and wanted to share their secrets of success. I came away with three powerful reflections.

1) Feelings are neither right nor wrong, but how you respond to them can be.
2) Each married couple is a “Little Church” and should be a center of worship.
3) In order to accomplish this, each couple should spend 20 minutes a day focusing on their strengths and areas that can be improved.

Neither Christie nor I like to have our pictures taken. We also do not appreciate the misguided idea that “we” were responsible for The Biodesign Class and BOFAW. We were convinced of this the last time we visited Yosemite and Mendocino. Although they were still beautiful, they were hauntingly empty without the laughter, pain, joy and sorrow that the students radiated as they were coming alive.
John Muir did not like being, “Propped up for the populace to gawk at,” and neither do we and so Linda Williamson’s “Foreword” to BOFAW is a little embarrassing.

I now realize that one of the great lessons of Biodesign was learning
how a strong marriage works. Christie was, and is, the strength
behind the scenes; the wind beneath Lowell Young’s wings.

However, I humbly agree with her assessment and hope that if one person (or couple) benefits from this blog, it will not have been written in vain.
After all, 49 years ago, I was minding my own business, in the girls dorm at SFSU, when she walked by, wearing a stunning pink sweater and pants that were discretely too tight.
June 20 marks our 48th wedding anniversary and she is more beautiful now than when we met and can still fit in her wedding dress. LOL We have four fantastic children, nine precious grandchildren and an assorted passel of God-children and “spiritual refugees,” all of who have enriched our lives beyond our wildest dreams.
It shouldn’t be a surprise if I describe our marriage as equivalent to climbing 1,000 Half Domes, hiking Grand Canyon 1,000 times and being lulled to sleep 1,000 times by the Pacific Ocean.

African story tellers often end their stories with this prayer;

“This is my story.
Take from it what speaks truth for you.
The rest, send back home to me with a blessing.”

From both of us.