— by Susan Eirich, PhD — We had a high wind the other day - so high that a 65’ cottonwood cracked and then crashed directly in front of the bear enclosures. The bears dashed for their dens and were not to be seen. There was the dead silence of bear shock. After a while Teton Totem crept forward to investigate this change in his environment, a dawning gleam in his eyes. It had been cold, damp, dismal the past few days and here right in front of him was a gold mine - leaves! Masses of leaves! Bedding! He reached out and gathered them to him, bunch after bunch, gathered  them into his den and packed himself an early bed. He wasn’t really ready to hibernate for another month or two,...

Earthfire Journal
14 September 2017

Ragged Geese

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — When you look up into the sky and see ragged looking formations of geese (very ragged), you know it is late summer. The young ones are practicing for their long migration. In late summer, their haunting cries fill the air as they begin their sessions- a few geese here, a few there. I wonder how they find each other in the end, choosing companions for the long and dangerous flight. By now they have become more coordinated, individually and as a flock, and the flocks are larger, one goose after another taking turns at the helm. It is not an easy thing, making a perfect aerodynamic V formation. It takes work and leadership as well as instinct. I feel...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I took the day off for my birthday—the one day a year I refuse to work. Immediately the mice came out to play. The day before Sally,our office manager, had said in her inimitable Texas way, ”Houston, (meaning me), we have a problem.”  She showed me a mouse-chewed wire; I acknowledged the fact. But when I returned, Sally showed me a picture she had taken of a young mouse walking casually across the office and just sitting there completely relaxed in the middle of the floor. As if it owned the place....

This gorgeous lettuce was grown biodynamically, a method even better than organic, which produces vibrant vegetables. You can feel the life energy of them nourishing your own life. The moment I put it on the ground to photograph it, the chickens came racing over and gave no quarter. They recognized something good. It was impossible to take a good photograph and fend them off at the same time. They managed to steal some leaves despite my best efforts. At least it will be in my egg in the morning....

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — There are places in Yellowstone National Park where alternating grizzly bear footsteps are worn deep into the earth, forming trails that lead to very specific sites at geothermal vents. These footsteps are almost sculpted into the ground as each bear places its foot precisely into the tracks of its predecessor, rubbing its feet sideways in each track. Arriving at the site the bears begin to eat the soil, high in potassium and sulphur. One theory is that the sulphur helps rejuvenate their digestive system after the long inactivity of hibernation, and they may be low in potassium after their winter’s fast. How do they know to go there? Does each bear...

Every evening I sit at my desk writing. For the past several months, out of the desk drawer, through a neatly chewed hole, pops a little nose, whiskers and bright black eyes. A mouse has moved into the drawer. Its not really good to have a mouse in a house. I set a live trap for her. Night after night, week after week, month after month she ignored it. Peanut butter; cheese, it mattered not. She had this cozy home in my drawer filled with papers. She stayed warm through the bitter winter. The drawer seemed to suit her just fine. Over time I sort of looked forward to her popping out, looking at me - then quick as a ghostly shadow she was across my desk on a journey to somewhere in the nether...