COMCAST interview about Ecotherapy

23 08 2012

On Friday, August 24 at 7pm the local access channel 15 will broadcast an interview with ecotherapist Beth lapin. If you’ve wanted to know what it’s all about, take a listen to the 30 minute production.

In addition, Beth will be offering a labyrinth walk at 7pm on Friday, August 31 (Haddam, CT)  and a four-week session on ecotherapy at Middlesex Community College (Middletown, CT) starting mid-September. See details on the NEWS & EVENTS page of this site.

Menunkatuck Trail

1 08 2012

Eagle Scout project

Cherry and I continued our exploration of the Menunkatuck Trail, by starting at the parking lot on Route 80 and hiking north to where we had left my car near Race Hill Road. The entrance was well designed and inviting, although I steered Cherry away from the information board that showed this trail, the Mattabasett and the rest of the blue trails connecting northerly through various states to Canada. “Oh, don’t look at that,” I joked. “Don’t want you to get any ideas. But this trail, when it’s completed will go south to Long Island Sound.”

“I’d like that,” Cherry gave back to me, with a grin.

Today’s section was only 1.8 miles, with an additional half-mile to the car at Race Hill Road, and we covered it easily and quickly. Turns were well marked and the walk was quite pleasant. So was our conversation. Cherry and I talked initially about the challenge of ending a relationship when it wasn’t working. Whether a romantic situation or a work connection, we both tended to stay longer than necessary, at least in hindsight. Cherry thought it was because we were hopeful—optimistically looking for positive change. I wondered if it was our efforts to be gentle and develop a graceful exit.

This stretch of the trail was almost completely in Cockaponset State Forest, our confusing friend from previous weeks. But this was obvious, mostly level, and enjoyable. We crossed a lovely constructed bridge, although there was little water in the stream below. Cherry talked about ending a potential relationship that never really quite got off the ground and I shared that our writing group, that I’d been in for three years, had hit a bump and I was taking a break. I also shared frustration with my ecotherapy certification efforts with two different venues, some other avenues that were opening, and an experience with a tree whisperer.

Before we could finish our topics, we were back at the car. Later, over refreshments, we explored concepts that would support a tree whisperer’s connection with trees. All interesting material and we parted, ready to meet again for the next section of trail and our lives.

Nature is Neutral

7 07 2012

I make my way to my tree shelter and stand amidst the low-hanging branches. I lean my head against one of them and close my eyes. I hear birds, a car, more birds. I feel the wind as it moves over my skin. I sense the water between my toes, as I’ve worn flipflops, which is cooler than the rest of me.

Little raspberry seeds, from berries I picked on my way to this place, are wedged between my teeth and I pry them loose with my tongue and gently crunch them to release their tangy tart sweetness.

The wind shifts and I catch an odor that makes me wonder if I am near the final resting place of my nineteen-year old cat who went missing two weeks ago. I feel something land on my hand and my eyes open. I swat away the mosquito.

I see greens of many shades surrounding me. I see tick foil seeds almost ready to stick to anything that passes by, with their bristly small hairs. I see one bright red leaf on the ground.

I am aware that I can chose my feelings about the mosquito, the smell of death, the cool, smooth bark of the tree branch I lean on. It is clear to me that it’s not objective but more subjective. I am the one to bring my response to these sensory experiences. They themselves are neutral. My interest in a plant or feeling is inherently based on what I bring to the situation. If I fear cats, I will feel fear when I see one, regardless of its intentions.

Speaking of which, I am now typing with my black cat lying here on my desk with me. As soon as I touch him, he begins to purr loudly. In and out with each breath, the sound  changes. It connects us, his rhythmic purring. Why do cats purr? Why do we enjoy it? Ah, but many don’t enjoy it. It reminds them of allergies, experiences of getting scratched or bitten. It is only my positive association with cats and their rumbles echoing through my body that brings the pleasure.

What an Ecotherapist Does on their Birthday

14 06 2012

On the night before your birthday, you should sleep out under the raspberries.


 Fireflies. Bullfrogs. Occasional glimpses of stars in the cloudy sky. Dark pine silhouetted across an open sky. Two cars, a few dogs, mostly quiet. Quiet. Quiet.

Awakened during the night only by logistical issues. Where is the pillow? I’ve edged off the therma-rest. Where’s my extra blanket? My head is cold.

And then they start. Robins. Blue jays.

My first image: pine silhouette, open sky, and the thinnest, most stunning sliver of the moon hanging with a few wispy scattered clouds that almost immediately hide its glory.

Happy birthday to me from Mother Earth.