Blog #85 Art and Nature – Two Healers
Several years ago, Blog #14 addressed the role of art and creativity in healing. Today’s blog will re-visit that topic and add more. As some readers may know, I run a monthly Nature Writing Group (NWG)at the North Park Village Nature Center. We’ve been meeting for about 14 years. Members come and go, and each has made an interesting and valuable contribution to our NWG. One member was Dawn Paskowicz, a retired English As a Second Language (ESL) teacher who raised her four children, cultivated many friendships, embraced cooperative living, and loved the wilderness and the natural world in general. A generous idealist, she opened her large Chicago house to students and immigrants at a very affordable price and helped them share in a friendly, cooperative environment.
When she was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy put her into remission. In 2003, when she was cancer—free for well over five years, Dawn bought 70 acres of pristine wilderness in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and camped there for seven summers before moving to the UP. She shared with our Nature Writing Group the inspiration she found from living on this land. She wrote poetry and kept a journal about her experiences hoping to one day put them in a book to share with others. Dawn enjoyed many years living on the land and protecting a small portion of our environment. She formed a board of directors to oversee and protect the 70 acres of not-for-profit land, to keep it pristine wilderness for a while longer. She named the land “Children of Mother Earth”.
Eventually, the cancer returned, and she endured the last stages of her illness in her home in the UP. Dawn died last year, and her two living children helped put her things in order. Since I am on the board of directors, dealing with the land has fallen to me, and I am in the midst of keeping its not-for-profit status and other tasks. One of the tasks is finding people or an organization to take over the board-of-directorship. Perks for a new board would be access to the land, experiencing its peace, and enjoying its adventure, beauty and healing vibrations. Responsibilities would be doing paperwork, managing finances, and keeping the 70 acres pristine and wild.
So this month’s blog has three purposes: to relate how one woman embraced the natural world and artistic expression to help her enjoy her remaining years, to share a small portion of Dawn Pascowicz’s writing - one of her poems – and to extend the possibility of visits to the land and also the forming a new board to oversee this land.
Here is Dawn’s poem, likely written about the Duchess Iris flowers on her land, of which she was especially fond.
LOOK AT YOU
Look at you in your white lacy gown
Swaying in the wind
As hummingbirds and bees
Suckle in your blossoms,
Impregnating you a thousand times
While the wind blows your intoxicating fragrance,
Overcoming me under your arms
Where I can foresee your laden branches
Releasing your babies by the hundreds,
To nourish all the creatures
Who know of you
You beautiful, floral Duchess.
Just look at you.
Dawn Paskowicz, 2012
This month’s blog offer. Contact me about Children of Mother Earth if you are interested in helping it continue and if you would like to visit.