Photo from Forest Listening, by Russell Horning.
The Forest Listening Project is a program of Center For Knowing Home, launched in Legacy Forest by Whidbey Institute founders Fritz & Vivienne Hull.
You are invited into the forest — to listen!
We understand—the earth’s atmosphere is warming with alarming seriousness. Global warming is definitely here. At the same time, is it possible that this period could be a time of a powerful cultural renewal and regeneration as some are now suggesting? What is needed to make this possible?
We believe that, above all, it is time to draw closer to the natural world and really pay attention . . . to ask our deepest questions of each other and of the earth itself. As we do this, what are we hearing?
As we “listen” to the forest, are we capable of tuning into something more than ourselves? Many use the word “sacred” to describe the forest. How about entering the forest ready for a conversation, ready to listen and understand the other? There are so many ways we might do this, with no one right way to hear the forest. We use our imaginations. Let’s listen for the big picture regarding humankind’s relationship with the natural world and our common future.
What if our forest experience becomes one where “everything becomes a you, and nothing is an it”? (W. H. Auden). What if some radical idea overtakes us and demands our response? What if it becomes undeniably apparent to us that we don’t have any time to lose in summoning our energy—and making a creative response?
This invitation is to all who will enter the forest, whether at the Whidbey Institute or somewhere else, and ask for understanding, guidance, and power.
Let’s do this for the period of now through the end of December. Go once, or often. You might invite a small group of friends and do it together. See what mysteries are all around! Then, let’s each summarize what we feel we are hearing from the forest—the trees, plants, animals, birds, and myriad life forms on and beneath the forest floor. Can you give them voice at this critical time in history as we face global warming including loss of habitat, species extinction, fire, massive dislocation, flooding and all that lies ahead? Write it down, and be ready to share it.
As you enter the forest, consider wandering mostly in Legacy Forest and away from people, programs, and buildings in the Whidbey Institute’s Heartland. Study the map. The Whidbey Institute’s 106 acres is a large and diverse area. Go exploring. Maybe find a “sit spot.”
Here’s how you get started: walk to the new information kiosk at the Hilltop Retreat cabin (Hull cabin), now becoming the Center for Knowing Home. It is located not far from Storyhouse in Legacy Forest. You can find it by walking the new road that begins just past the Legacy Forest kiosk near the ropes course shelter, or by finding the old road just across the meadow from Storyhouse.
At the new kiosk behind the cabin you will find a box, and in that box is a packet for you with instructions for the listening experience we—maybe a hundred of us—are doing together. You can see that the whole thing begins as a sort of treasure hunt as you have to find your packet deep in the woods.
Thank you for considering this invitation. I hope you do it! It is really important right now that we hear from many people.
Questions? Just email me.
Love to all!
Fall Equinox 2021 ––– and the beginning of the Center for Knowing Home.