Back in 2007 when I started this blog, I wasn’t all that concerned about design. I wanted to write about all these neat ideas I had, and so I opened an account with WordPress.com, picked a theme that had a tree on it, and got down to the important business of writing.
And I still get so distracted by the writing that I don’t spend as much time on general blog upkeep. So I finally took the time to do a pretty significant overhaul of the appearance, pages, and other such things. I changed the theme, and finally took the time to figure out how to upload a custom header image. The image itself isn’t anything really snazzy, just a few of my favorite photos I’ve taken stitched together into the proper 276 x 1015 pixel format. I made sure the pages were updated, especially since the new theme features them more prominently. Oh, and I pulled the search box further up the page to make it easier to access. Basically it was everything I could do without A) spending the better part of $200 porting the blog over to WordPress.org or B) learning CSS from scratch to tweak this one more fully.
Also, I updated the links on the sidebar. I admit I’ve been putting off editing the blogroll; even though I mainly just deleted blogs that hadn’t updated in a good long while, adding more blogs is a nerve-wracking experience. I’ve spent the past two hours (amid various tasks) thinking “What if I forget someone important and obvious? What if there are all sorts of people who have been kind enough to link to Therioshamanism all this time and I should probably link back to them but I don’t know who they are or I lost the email where they requested reciprocal links? What if a blog or site just isn’t really a good fit and I have to try to explain this to the person who’s been putting their blood, sweat, and tears into it? WHAT IF SOMEONE HATES ME FOREVER BECAUSE I DIDN’T LINK TO THEM?” Okay, it didn’t get quite that dire. But there are a lot of really good blogs out there, definitely more than what I have listed. So if you have suggestions for good blogs and sites along a nature paganism or related theme, let me know. I won’t promise I’ll add all of them, but the worst I’ll say is “no thanks”.
Finally, you may have noticed that the quote under the blog’s title has changed. From the beginning, I had had John Muir’s quote “In the silence of the wild, we find the home we lost in the city”. A long while back, I wrote about why I felt the quote needed to be changed for something more appropriate, but it wasn’t until recently that I found a suitable replacement:
All spiritual life begins with a sense of wonder, and nature is a window into that wonder. – Richard Louv
This is a much better fit for where my path is these days. Over time, as I’ve moved away from abstract symbols and more into direct contact with nature as the center of my practice, I’ve rediscovered the sense of wonder I have about the world–not just the wild parts, but the human-altered ones, too. My stock response to the complaint that the physical world is too mundane and boring is “Look at photosynthesis. That plant? It’s absorbing sunlight into its leaves, and making it into food, into measurable amounts of sugars. How is that not absolutely breathtaking, especially because we know more or less how it works?” But I feel that way about a lot of things; the amazing technology that launched rovers onto Mars so we could gather better data is nothing short of amazing to me. And my sense of wonder about these things and more presses me to know and learn and experience more; it drives me out into the world to explore it and my place within it, and entreats me to supplement with the observations of others through books and film and classes and more.
Note that Louv says that nature is a window, not the window. But for many of us, it’s not just a window but the door itself. For me, this wonder helped to bring me back to an entire home–whether in the city or the wilderness, I am home in the world.