Once upon a dome

We’re approaching the new year, so I figure why not take a little time to reflect.

Griswold Family Vacation to Half Dome

It also doesn’t hurt that my mom just shared with me a ton of great photos from my parents’ visit with me out in Yosemite this past August. These to me represent the other half of my hope to connect myself and others with the world around: permaculture and sustainable farming/gardening skills are one half; the other is bringing people out into the wild to experience the raw power of nature.

Snow Creek Swimming Hole

Yosemite is a hell of a place for this, ’cause you really don’t have to work too hard as a wilderness leader for people to get it. It’s hard to walk out amidst those high granite walls and to not be filled with some feeling of humility, peace and connection. The rushing rivers, the white spume and gust of the tall falls, the silver and golden glow of the granite as the sun slips behind the canyon walls – phew, I’m getting myself all worked up just thinking about it.

When my parents told me that they wanted to come and visit me as part of their own trip across the country (wonderful how life works out like that sometimes, eh?), I was very blunt with them that the only way I could agree to such a visit was if they allowed me to share the Yosemite that I knew: that is, the Yosemite one finds miles in, away from the tents and cabins of the valley.

Dad and me, out there

My parents have never been camping before (maybe my dad, once upon a time, as a kid), and they agreed to join me on one condition. This condition:


After a summer hauling around supplies, food and first aid for groups of 10-12 campers, I was totally game.

Dad and me, enjoying dinner

The whole point of this is to say: something powerful happened out there. My parents came to understand me, and what I’m drawn to at this time in my life, more than they ever could by me telling them, or showing them pictures. Whether or not getting out into nature draws someone to change their life or change the way they look at the world doesn’t matter as much to me – because no matter what, there’s something about being out in nature that allows reality to settle back in; that allows for time to slow, sink and ultimately, disappear, and for genuine connections to form.

Me and dad, chatting

I’ve seen this happen time and time again as I’ve taken out bunks of campers from Camp Tawonga. Kids, adults, families – people come together out in the woods. It may be the allure of the camp fire, the laughter over burnt s’mores, or just the quiet moments when the breeze seems to say again, “I am still here, as I always have been” – something happens out there, and I carry those feelings with me wherever I go.

Mom in the tent

These feelings for me are the fuel that drive me to want to study permaculture, farming and gardening, that I myself might come into a healthy balance with nature, and perhaps help others to do the same, should they find such things important. I’ve really enjoyed reviewing these photos, because for me, they are a look back into why I’m here in the first place, doing what I’m doing. It’s for love, balance, connection, and the breeze.

Half Dome

With love like a gale rising up from the coast to kiss the cliffs,

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