Autotrophs create complex forms from ephemeral energy – weaving sunshine into molecules. Plants, algae, cyanobacteria are the ultimate alchemists. As lichens, they form symbioses with the heterotrophic fungi and together become crystalline beingnesses.

East: 2018-current

The forest is your teacher. Sabbatical from lichens. Painting. Forest mandalas. Spring offerings each full and new moon. Hiking. Wandering. Exploring. Creative writing. Stories. Compassionate communication practice circles. Air pollution data analyses. Work for earth skills school, Firefly Gathering. More strong women standing near me. Gardens actually grow this time. Soil building. Winter garden. Food from beneath the snow.

West: 2006-2018

Limbo and near paralysis. Friends too, its not just me. Freight train escape. Southern Appalachians. Forage wild plants. Dumpster food. Banned from a National Forest for living in one place for too long. Go west. Northern Rockies. No electricity, no plumbing, tall forest, abundance. Thin soil. Plants not growing. Run out of money. Back to school. Integrate into world, can’t escape. Study lichens. Channeled Scablands. Argentina. Sub-Antarctic. Great Basin Desert. Alpine. Emotional and physical and mental bodies out of alignment. Illness. Alternative healing. Contemporary Mysticism. Tibetan Buddhism. Animism. Painting. Block printing. Drawing. Strong women standing near me.

Back before I my journey as a lichenologist, I lived in a primitive 1-room cabin in the Northern Rockies. No plumbing, no electricity, no chain saws (just an axe and maul!), lots of books, lots of walks, a couple puppies, a hilarious friend, and my own intensive studies on fungal physiology and taxonomy and cellular biology. And we also planted alot of fruit and nut trees (84 to be exact) and tried our hand at building soil and gardens. What were the winters like? Well, we were snowed in for up to three months, and when there wasn’t snow, getting water was challenging. How often do you have to use a pick-axe to get drinking water? Those were damn good years. Among the best.

North: early years

Put your hand down, no more about paradigms, says the highschool history teacher. Here’s a sculpture to show what I mean. Some get it then. Cognitive Science for university. Something is missing in our consciousness. I will help find it. Year 2000 elections. Protests. 1st political science class. Not boring. Politicized. Its the stories that are missing in our cognition – its not our brains. Its the input, not the processes. Become a journalist. Do the school. Study political science instead of writing. Anyone can write. Its the context that’s most important. And the context is big. Its heavy. Its rickety. Its thousands of years old. Its blowback blowing back and back again. Its too much. Draw it. Exploitation everywhere. Draw it. Its within me, I can’t stop it. Draw it. Drop out of university. Limbo. Lost. And then the magic begins.

A short film from 2005, where I ask people around Chicago what they would do if they were Time… its quite lovely. And I ask the question to you, if you were time, what would you do?