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Kathy Donchak

I write about nature, family, creativity, and wellbeing.

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Rooted in Harmony

I have come to terms with the future. From this day onward I will walk easy on the earth. Plant trees. Kill no living things. Live in harmony with all creatures. I will restore the earth where I am. Use no more of its resources than I need. And listen, listen to what it is telling me. ~ M.J. Slim Hooey, Earth Prayers: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations from Around the World Our new home sits atop of a former cow pasture. The rolling hills and boggy bottoms, scattered native dogwoods, clover...

“Take them outside, you will all feel better.” ~ my mom’s advice when our twins were infants We all need time and space to become aware of the essential nature of our being and discover ways to bring that expression into culture. This awareness of self is, I believe, the seed of well-being that is often elusive in our adult culture, but visible in childhood. It is the place where our imagination and creativity meet in flashes of inspiration and connection. It is the part of us our children...

One must work with the creative powers - for not to work with is to work against; in art as in spiritual life there is no neutral place.” ~ Mary Oliver, Blue Pastures Our garden is taking shape. Inspired by one of my favorite gardening books by Rebcca Cole, I am dreaming and choosing plants to create a small garden of evergreens and deciduous trees, espalier fruit trees, and flowers. My husband is working through plans for raised vegetable and herb beds to feed the body while I work to feed...

And here I build my platform, and live upon it, and think my thoughts and am high. To rise, I must have a field to rise from. To deepen, I must have a bedrock from which to descend. ~ Mary Oliver, Long Life I can hear the birds again. The rainy mornings have been flooded with sounds of so many frogs, you are sure you left a window open, but today, thanks to the early morning urging of our cat at the window, I began to hear them again. The geese honking overhead, woodland songbirds, even an...

green plants beside brown wooden door

Threshold You want a door you can be on both sides of at once. You want to be on both sides of here and there, now and then, together and—(what did we call the life we would wish back? The old life? The before?) alone. But any open space may be a threshold, an arch of entering and leaving. Crossing a field, wading through nothing but timothy grass, imagine yourself passing from and into. Passing through doorway after doorway after doorway. ~ Maggie Smith Walking our new neighborhood each...

One Notebook

The more I journal, the more people in my life show up in its pages. This morning, Chris Brogan wrote about what happens when I tell them about it. I started writing in a journal years ago, but it wasn’t in one book. It was all over the place. My journal became so cluttered with to-do lists and work projects, I grew frustrated that I couldn’t keep my thoughts organized. During the pandemic, I tried something new. I gave myself permission to let all of my thinking show up in my pages, with...

I am learning Telugu. /ˈtel.ə.ɡuː/. I met a beautiful, bright, and curious seven-year-old girl that lives across the street, who was bursting at the seams to tell me all the words she knows from her native language. She shared how hard it was to move away from friends, and why she cannot write in Telugu yet, by swirling her finger through the air. I asked her how to say neighbor in Telugu, but she didn’t know that word yet, so I looked it up when I came inside. Hopefully one of my readers can...

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. ~ John Muir We moved to the woods, while our house in town is being built. Surrounded by forested wetlands, it feels as though we are living in a treehouse in this feast for the senses. Limbs and trunks blanketed by thick mosses capture your attention in a way few other things can. The ambient sounds of rain, sleet, and snow falling on the skylight replace the birdsong of Texas. The first weeks in this soft, lush forest,...

When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on any man, it will exercise his mind with suffering, subject his sinews and bones to hard work, expose his body to hunger, put him to poverty, place obstacles in the paths of his deeds, so as to stimulate his mind, harden his nature, and improve wherever he is incompetent. ~MENG TZU (MENCIUS), fourth century BCE1, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg...

Let us begin by clearing up the old confusion between the man who loves learning and the man who loves reading, and point out that there is no connexion whatever between the two. A learned man is a sedentary, concentrated, solitary enthusiast, who searches through books to discover some particular grain of truth upon which he has set his heart. If the passion for reading conquers him, his gains dwindle and vanish between his fingers. A reader, on the other hand, must check the desire for...