Monday, May 26, 2014

Dancing With Thoreau at the Clyde Theater! June 22


A new film by Chis Korrow, creator of Garden Insects


About the film
Dancing with Thoreau is a feature film that inspires a connection with nature. Journey with the filmmaker as he explores the benefits of a connection with nature, and how and why we, as a Western society, can and should reconnect with our environment.

How does a connection with our natural environment strengthen our spiritual, physical, creative, economic, and intellectual pursuits? How can the cultivation of a spiritual outlook and practice support a healthy and balanced natural environment?

Dancing with Thoreau weaves Chris's film footage and photography from dynamic natural environments across the country together with commentary from leading edge teachers, naturalists, farmers, scientists, spiritual leaders, and representatives of major religions as he explores these questions.

Climate scientists tell us we might be heading toward irreversible climate change, and so many of us do our best to “go green.” Through this film, we articulate a different kind of environmental activism, one where we are “optimized through our encounters with nature” and our lives become more compassionate, successful, balanced, and interesting as a result.

Some of the key subjects in the film are:
Perception and awareness.
The effects of nature on our mind and well being.
Laws of nature. (For example: sustainability and balance are not simply concepts, but actual laws that govern our existence.)
How color, sound, touch, and smell affect us.
Techniques to develop a deeper connection with nature.
Religious leaders who are embracing nature and its effect on our spirituality.
Gardening and agriculture as a way to reconnect with nature.
The importance of children spending time in nature.

From the filmmaker: “I’ve been helping people to connect with nature for over thirty years. This work is one of the main reasons I became a farmer, since the care of the soil and the raising of vegetables is one of the easiest pathways I’ve found by which we can all come into a closer connection to this beautiful world in which we live. Dancing With Thoreau is the culmination of my life's work thus far.”

Who appears in the film:

His Holiness The Dalai Lama
 Jon Young (Author of What the Robin Knows, Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, and founder of the Wilderness Awareness School.)
David Suzuki (Author, activist and host of Canadian public television’s The Nature of Things.)
Stephan Schwartz (Senior Samueli Fellow for Brain, Mind, and Healing of the Samueli Institute, and a research associate of the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory of the Laboratories for Fundamental Research and a columnist for the journal Explore.)
April Blair & Matthew Bibeau (Founders and teachers of Mother Earth School, a Waldorf-inspired all-outdoor preschool and kindergarten in Portland, Oregon.)
Denis Hayes (National coordinator of the first Earth Day when he was 25, one of  Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Planet,” and president of the Bullitt Foundation, founders of the Bullitt Center—the world’s greenest commercial building.)
Jeffrey Cramer (Notable Thoreau scholar and author of many books, including, The Portable Thoreau, Viking/Penguin, 2012.)
Richard Ryan, PhD (Professor of psychology, psychiatry, and education, University of Rochester. Lead author of “Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature,” Journal of Environmental Psychology.)
Elizabeth K. Nisbet, PhD
(Psychology Department, Trent University, Ontario. Researcher on individual differences in subjective connectedness with nature--nature relatedness--and the links with health, well-being/happiness, and environmentally sustainable behavior.)

Dennis Klocek (Founder of the Coros Institute, dedicated to dialogue between individuals in the sciences, the arts, and business with a commitment to spiritual values arising from the contemplative life; director, Consciousness Studies at Rudolf Steiner College, CA; international lecturer; author of many books including, Climate, The Soul of the Earth; The Seer's Handbook; Drawing from the Book of Nature and his most recent book, Sacred Agriculture.)
The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham (Rev. Bingham has brought widespread attention to the link between religious faith and the environment through her work on The Regeneration Project and the Interfaith Power & Light campaign. As one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize global warming as a core moral issue, she has mobilized thousands of religious people to put their faith into action through energy stewardship. She serves as Canon for the Environment in the Episcopal Diocese of California and is the lead author of Love God Heal Earth. In 2012, Rev. Bingham was awarded the Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award for her environmental leadership.)

So, how does nature connection benefit us in our everyday lives?
Here is some of what the film will explore:

Most of us look at our relationship with nature simply in terms of environmental issues. But our connection (or disconnection) with the natural world goes far beyond a material relationship.

Someone once said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Gaining a new and different point of view is where a nature connection can really benefit us.

Concerns we face in society revolve largely around money, time, scheduling, reputation, and fulfilling a myriad of material desires, whereas what matters in nature is balance, living life in the moment, understanding one’s place in the surrounding environment, and finding satisfaction and fulfillment with what already exists.

April Blair of the Mother Earth School in Portland explains how, when a child climbs a tree, there is nothing uniform in the tree. Branches are at different angels, strength, and distances, so a child's brain-body connection has to deal with this in a much more creative way than when he or she is on a playground, where the jungle gym is uniform and of consistent strengths. Nature connection triggers a different creative process, which is why so many of the great thinkers spent time in nature for inspiration.

By increasing our relationship with nature, we double our ability to problem solve. We already have access to the knowledge and wisdom that our society has to offer, and as we increase our connection with our natural environment, we add to that the vast amount of knowledge and wisdom available in nature.

The scientific community is discovering that spending time in nature reduces stress and aggression, improves self esteem and creativity, and strengthens community.

Nature transcends religion and politics—nature is nondenominational and has no ties to a political affiliation. As Jon Young stated when he was interviewed for the film, “It’s purely a matter of ergonomics, this body was meant for it, a connection with nature optimizes us.”

About the filmmaker:
Chris Korrow is a farmer, naturalist, photographer, filmmaker, and author. His film Garden Insects won three film festival awards and premiered nationwide on PBSFrost Flowers has aired on PBS Kentucky for several years. Most recently, he has collaborated on a series of short films on food and local economy for the Whidbey Institute’s Thriving Communities effort, a series of conferences on community resiliency.

He has a new children’s book called The Organic Bug Book (SteinerBooks 2013), and is based on his award-winning film, Garden Insects. He is the author of The 30 Square-Foot GardenA Guide for Observing Nature and Awakening to Nature.

For over 20 years, Chris and his family lived on a rural Kentucky farm in a solar-powered home and ran an organic/biodynamic vegetable business. They lived a sustainable lifestyle, growing most of their own food, with no phone, no electricity, and no hot running water. They are now based on Whidbey Island, Washington, living right in town. He grows vegetables on a one-third acre market garden inside the city limits of Langley, within walking distance of home, and the produce is for sale through an honor system farm stand.

Chris and his wife Christy have embarked on a new project to create an affordable, green, co-housing neighborhood on 10 acres of woods and meadow in their hometown of Langley.

He explores the intersections between nature, agriculture, community, and spirituality through his media company, Breathe Deep Productions. 

Several Supper Suggestions to Savor Spring Spinach OR Why we're having frozen pizza with black olives and spinach for dinner

Most weeks, I make tentative dinner menu for each night of the week. It's not an elaborate process, I just jot down four - six entrees. Most nights I cook dinner, and so it simplifies my life to plan ahead in this way. One less thing to think about! I am married to a farmer, so dinner always centers around what's coming out of the garden. If there is one thing coming on strong, then we are happy to eat ridiculous amounts that vegetable night after night. It's just what we do.

As springtime yields to summer, variety arrives. But right now, it's all about the spinach. The spinach is not only happening, the patch is--dare I say--opulent with oversized leathery leaves, which means we are devouring big bags of spinach everyday until it sends up its seed stalks. 

This week's list of dinner menu items looked something like:
--spinach soufflé (made this, it's a family favorite--I use the Joy of Cooking recipe but I double it),
--spinach quiche (another egg recipe, we're egg customers of neighbors Rebecca and Barb, but this got axed from thus week's menu--I've been too busy/lazy to do the crust),
--steamed spinach with orzo browned in toasted garlic and kale tops (added plenty of Parmesan to this--yum),
--spinach with lamb sausage over rice (haven't made this yet, but we buy artisan LinkLab sausage, made in Seattle, from 2nd Street Wine Shop),
--Rockwell beans with spinach (Chris froze more quarts of this local heirloom as shelly beans than I could count), and last but not least,
--ramen soup with, yes, you guessed it, lots of spinach.

But this evening, I am tired! I'm training for a half marathon so started my Sunday with a six-mile run. I headed up to our property and spent about four hours with our land partners staking out the lot sites in what will become Upper Langley Affordable Housing Community. Chris has been working like crazy getting the gardens going and finishing his movie, Dancing with Thoreau, while also overseeing the heavy equipment operators working on our housing project.

So tonight, we bought a frozen cheese pizza from The Goose, our community grocer, which we will lovingly adulterate with sliced black olives and the spinach Chris brought in, still dripping wet with rainfall.