Intimately woven within community relationship
The relationship of people and their place. Where they call home
The relationship of people and forests, people and salmon, people and soil
Conceptual cacophony conjuring up myriad images, memories
Intertwined implication embodied by cycles of regeneration and reciprocity
Interactive ecological mandate based more on responsibilities than presumed rights
This idea of place,
Let us locate ourselves on this watery planet
On this tectonic Turtle Island
Welcome to the eruptive Shasta Bioregion
Sinuous, crenelated Russian River Watershed
Undulatory Western Sonoma County
Here in the generous headwaters of Dutch Bill Creek
On this land, a simple east facing coastal mountain ridge
Where forested slopes percolate the ephemeral bounty of falling water
Bestowing gifts of new quail coveys and western pond turtles basking on logs
Swallowtail butterflies and aeolian turkey vultures riding thermals
Naming your watershed, filling it with stories and clear running creeks
Realizing that without exception, everyone lives in a watershed
Our inseparable watery bond we have with place
that so elegantly defines the ecological boundaries
of our enmeshed relations with landscape
Each home basin a flowing, whispering, respiring being
upon which we are all primarily dependent
and dedicate our lives in observant service
Take a moment, appreciative of the many wonders
which surround our lives and bear forth such inspiration
We give thanks for:
Pacific Steelhead and Coho Salmon
Tree frogs and immense Chain Ferns
Queen Boletes and Agaric Princes
Resident Pileated Woodpeckers and Neo-tropical Western Tanagers
Bay laurel nuts and Pacific Giant Salamanders
Old growth forests and old growth soils
Spotted Owls, Red Tree Voles and Gray Squirrels
these dancing arboreal makers of magic
Uplifted, folded melange mountains with youthful soils,
lichen riddled blue schist rock outcrops
Valley heat derived coastal fog inhalation
Redwoods dendritic precipitation structures
Hardwood forests, perennial bunch grass prairies, soft chaparral
Wet, Wet winters and dry, dry summers
and poison oak and yellow jackets galore
Such teachers of patience and observation,
coyote spirits that remind us to slow down and take time to watch
Welcome to this land so accustomed to abundance
Acorn meal and deer hides; calochortus bulbs and salmon flesh,
hazel nuts and Yampah roots
Buoyant with interactive diversity
sculpted through intergenerational successionary caregiving
A land expectant of mutual respect
It is with intention that we live together
It is with gratitude and honor that we welcome you here
to celebrate with us
and hope you find joy and intrigue
and carry with you
blessings from this land and its family

photo by Jim Coleman

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