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Stories about nature's consciousness/intelligence?

 
pollinator
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I'd love to hear stories from people's gardens of nature's intelligence.  Maybe a time when something weird and unexpected happens that had you feel that you were not alone, or maybe just something that filled your soul with beauty.  Stories inspire me and help me keep focused. Thanks!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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I'll start.  My first garden I planted four tomatoes and some hyacinths, that ws about all I had.  I was using the Perelandra Garden Workbook, trying to cocreate with nature's intelligence, and had asked about the garden shape and placement of seeds and mulched up with some leaves and the help of my friend and mentor Jill.

There were four beefsteak tomatoes, and a few weeks in one of them keeled over and lay down dead.  It stayed that way for weeks, and I pretty much gave up on it and ignored it and kept tending the other three.

Then one day a storm came, a microburst or "straight-line wind event," like a tornado but in a straight line.  I had never heard of these before, and I certainly never thought there'd be one in Yonkers.  But it ripped our two huge, century-old trees apart, sent limbs through the windows of the porch and skylights, and dumped a pile of brush about 6 feet high—right on top of my garden.

I cleared off as much brush as I could.  We didn't have power, so the trains weren't running, and I had time to just be and observe.

The four tomato plants were now all equally flattened.  The little girl who lived in the house with us stood by the garden and pointed, and said, "The tomatoes are growing, the tomatoes are growing!"  I cried seeing that.

But weirdly, a few days later, the runty one that had keeled over first perked up. The other ones didn't.

Eventually, in Novemeber, that little runt plant made some fruits.  They were green, but big enough to hold in my hand and feel something solid.  It felt like being pregnant and giving birth to something.  All my life I had only created poems, things made from words, abstraction and air, but now I had something solid that I could hold, eat, put in my own body and have it become part of me.  It was a deeply moving experience.  It felt like such magic, that a solid piece of food could come from all this.  And the way that nature had somehow resurrected the one ugly duckling runt plant while the others were destroyed showed me things would not always go as I expected, and for me there are larger, invisible forces at work behind the garden and the weather.

Anyone else have stories to share?
 
gardener
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Location: Monticello Florida zone 8a
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Once we had a drought and one day a mushroom just popped up for the first time in a long while and sure enough it rained that night.
 
pollinator
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The book Totem Salmon has the intelligence of nature as a central theme. It beautifully portrays how each stream’s salmon population has a collection of problem solving abilities reflecting the challenges and opportunities of that given stream. One example I saw in person was on the Elwha in the Olympic Mountains, which produced the largest salmon ever recorded (137lbs!). If you go to Goblins Gate, which stands between the spawning fish and many miles of ideal  spawning grounds, you see why the fish had to get so big to run up an unimaginably powerful torrent that a pretty large river that gets channeled through into a shoot just a few yards wide. This way of looking at evolution and intelligence that each species reflects about the environment it evolved in has framed my perspective ever since reading that brilliant book.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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That's awesome! That made me smile!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Thanks Ben, that's amazing! tell us more.

I'll share another, doing a process with nature the other day, you could call it an energy process, to prepare the way for project.  In ten minutes I had so many images come to mind, and such clarity about childhood conditionings that don't serve.  The project is to create more community around some of my goals and perspectives, and I got a sense of how much community I already have with the plants in the yard here.  The reminder that it's my thoughts that have been getting in the way of really sensing the love and warmth of nature.  It's been this ongoing miasm of "I should be doing this" or "I don't know what to do about that" or "I should be getting more yield" or "what will people think of my level of capability?"  It was just so clear what's there without that thought-miasm, the green green of plants' leaves, the joy, the sense of community and connectedness.  Meditation alone is helpful, but doing it with the nature intelligences is just an order of magnitude better.  I was flying high, an 8 or 9 out of 10.

Books have also been transporting in this way, even if it's not my own experience of nature intelligences it's an experience of someone else's experience, and those live vividly in my memory.  

More stories please!

 
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Location: Vermont
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wow & whoa, this thread
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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Thanks Joel.

Someone just posted a photo of a Blue Heron on Nextdoor.com, and it reminded me of a story.

One time I was out for a walk and talking with a nature team for helping me move to a new place, to adjust to this new living situation.  There was a river by there, and I would walk down the side of it.  Sometimes I'd see blue herons there, but today although I looked everywhere for it, I couldn't see it and thought it must not be there anymore.

I stopped and stood by the water's edge for a while, and then at some point the nature team nudged me to look at the water over to the right.  There i saw the refection of the heron clearly, because of the angle the heron's reflection was exposed against blue sky, although the heron itself was almost invisible because of a background of gray brush behind it.  And I got that the nature was telling me to trust my inner senses and not just rely on the outer ones.  

Another time my girlfriend got the message from E. B. White "This earth is so full of beauty for humans--especially where you're not looking."  Indeed.
 
Ben Zumeta
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Another lesson from Olympic National Park: In late summer 2018 I went backpacking up one of my favorite rivers on the west side of the mountains, through epic old growth coastal rainforest (it’s where I go to get away from crowds, so you’ll have to discover it for yourself;). It was smokier than I’d ever seen western Washington (where I grew up), and especially so for the Olympic peninsula where I was a backcountry ranger for several years. Abnormally high temps made the fires inland more extreme, thus creating a blanket of smog. This held the in the respiration of the rainforest, making it more humid than I’d ever felt there in the summer, when it’s normally idyllically dry and comfortable when “warm” (80f +is rare).  The rainforest had its own preventative fire defense! This could only work with absolutely massive and very extensive in tact old growth, which on the northwest coast was once the most fire resistant ecosystem on earth. I think on of the hurdles in humanity’s attempt to overcome Fermi’s paradox and evolve into the future will be comprehending on a societal and civilization scale that the only way to reduce wildfire devastation in pyrophyllic places like the American west is to have both more forests and more frequent fire.
 
Posts: 85
Location: Franklinton, NC
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My friend Ray told me, as he was burning plastic pallets on his bonfire one night, that the air comes down at night, that's the way he could get away with it. He had been in the Navy, and had been to Jamaica on shore leave. Him and a buddy knew where the pot was growing, and wanted to get up there and get some. Locals warned them not to go at night, because the air comes down. Night comes, gasses drop. Ray told me about people so high that they stared at the sun until they went blind. Pot protects itself. All life protects itself.
On another tack, I've been told on good authority that walking barefoot on land will cause beneficial to you plants to sprout over time. Symbiosis.
Last tack: Heard that the outer banks, when they were first discovered by western man, were old forests intertwined with wild grape vines. Western man cleared the wild vines. Next storm that came, trees came down. Man is arrogant when he enters into the forest. He should enter as a student, in my humble opinion.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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"I talk to trees." Sepp Holzer. He tells a lot of stories about communicating with nature in Desert or Paradise.  How he goes to a tree when he's stuck or angry and talks it out, and then solutions come. Or he dreams solutions to problems. He's true purple and true brown, that one!
 
pioneer
Posts: 340
Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 5a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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What about the Gaia hypotheses? There was a whaling ship, the Essex, that was sunk by a whale, (an extremely uncommon occurrence, and this specific whale was not known previously or afterwards to attack ships.) less than a month after burning the ecosystem of one of the galapagos islands to ash. This makes a lot of sense to me in terms of the Gaia hypotheses. One question is: by what mechanism does Gaia (not a god or anything, just an emergent intelligence) collect and process information? I think the answer is the water cycle. The rivers flowing into the sea are nerves, that carry information. There doesn't even have to be particulate in the water for the information to be retained. It is proven science that water receives and holds an enormous amount of information about it's environment through it's structure. There is no reason to think that the ocean doesn't function like a giant brain. Weather is effected by the ocean. Trees collaborate with the ocean to spread rain. Winds are likely the information dissemination system of Gaia.
 
gardener
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Long ago, I lived on Lake Superior and had spent a beautiful summer day kayaking around the "neighbourhood". I stopped at an island to let my dog stretch her legs and for me to pee, and when I was preparing to leave a storm blew in with rain and surf battering me. My favourite kayaking hat left my head and ventured out to sea. It took me hours to get back home due to the wind and waves. The next day, while I was still mourning the loss of my hat, I was down at the beach and noticed something half buried in the newly-shifted beach sand. I dug it out and rinsed it off to find a perfect replacement hat. The embroidered logo on it said "Island Supply". I thought that was fortuitous.

Another story: Years later, I was on my way to visit a piece of property that I owned a few hours away with the intention of collecting a few soil samples for mason jar testing. I had my shovel in the car but halfway there I realized I'd forgotten my work gloves. It wasn't a big deal but I still regretted it and wished I had remembered them. Less than a minute later, I rounded a curve and spotted something in the middle of the highway. There was no traffic so I slowed down and was able to coast slowly by and open my door to retrieve a pair of gloves nearly identical to the ones I'd left at home.
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