9 | Connection

A walk. 

A lost connection.

And as I embark on a study of nature immersion and 
design, I am reminded of how removed I may be and 
that the first steps need to be a retracing of a 

I begin to walk.

I speak of my design practice as one that embarks on
connection with nature, in advocacy for children, 
yet I am feeling the loss of connection with others,
and have strayed from my inner child in the 
responsibilities of the everyday. 

I went on a walk and I came upon a tree. 

She was beautiful. An arbutus with her bark smooth
and hard, and the warmth of orange against the 
greens and browns of the forest. At first I stood in
front of her, taking in how she had fallen once, her
trunk parallel with the earth and soil beneath her. 
From this trunk, saplings now grew, children that 
rose to the sky in small towers of bud, leaf and 

I sat beside her. 

And taking in the words of Louise St. Pierre in her
writings from Design and Nature: A Partnership, in 
the guidance of an elder before her, 

I spoke to the tree.

At first shy and awkward, as if I was sitting
beside someone waiting for the first word to be 

Who will break the silence?

And then I realized that the conversation had 
already begun. That though our pulses may differ,
the space had been made to communicate together. 
She had already starting listening to my thoughts
and we spoke back and forth.  

I began to notice things about her.
That there were marks upon her trunk, pockets where 
branches had begun and left long ago. That another 
arbutus has risen and dropped behind her and their 
leaves had met and now rustled in the wind. That her
red bark fell off like ribbons.

I lay down beside her. 

And took this moment to appreciate how in this time
and space, I can be laying down safe beside a tree 
in a woods, in a country I know, living and 
breathing in this world. 

I began to notice other sounds around me. 

A crackling of a twig in the distance made my eyes 
sharp for a moment. Birds above and a plane hidden 
in the clouds all contributed to the sounds of the 
forest. She heard them too.

I knelt before her. 

Thanking her for the time we spent together. 
The connection shared. My knees damp against the 
moss. I knelt there until I began to feel the 
vibrations of the earth below me, charging my 
ankles, my shins and passing up and through my body.

As I rose to leave, I noticed that a branch on one
of her young saplings had been snapped and left 
dangling, its green heartwood hanging on by a strip
of bark. She told me I could take it and so I did,
spending a moment of contemplation in this task. 

I walked in the forest today. 

At first empty handed and alone, I left the forest 
with a branch of arbutus in my hand and a new 
connection. I sit here now looking at the branch in 
a glass jar full of water. I am a foster parent that
does not know how to raise a tree. 

I begin to research:

how to grow an arbutus tree from a branch and have
learned that the arbutus are dying on these islands
and that they are notoriously difficult to raise 
from seed or sapling. 

I need guidance,

and start by emailing the Botanical Garden at UBC in
the Faculty of Science. More connection.

And so it continues; 

this ‘action’, this ‘practice’, whatever word that 
may be attached to a person exploring something that
makes their heart and mind latch onto the 
possibilities of something bigger than themselves. 
To be continued.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.