10 things to look forward to in 2013

It’s a new year. I’m not much for resolutions, but I do like to set intentions for the year. What’s the difference? Resolutions feel like ways to set myself up for failure. This list contains things I can look forward to. So, here are ten things I am looking forward to seeing/doing/experiencing in western Washington in 2013.

Some of these are simple enough to do. Some require some serious family planning. Some will easily connect me to that sense of place I crave. With others I run the risk of being a white, spiritual tourist.

1. Get back to visiting Mclane Nature Trail regularly. This place is pure magic. It’s an easy walk. It speaks to me. I can take the kids. It’s only 15 minutes from house!

2. Go hiking at Mount Rainier. Mount Rainier is the largest mountain in Washington state. I can see it from my front door! Getting there is about a 2 hour drive. I’ve only been there once: hiking on a sunny spring day my sophomore year at college. (I believe I went hiking in my doc martins and jean shorts – 1994, baby.)

By Aaron Fulkerson (http://www.ninje.com) (en:Image:MountRainierEastTrail arf.JPG) [CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Visit Nisqually. It’s a watershed and a tribe. I would like to go walking there and I would like to learn more about the people. It is only a handful of exits north of Olympia on the freeway.

4. Wild harvest nettles and devil’s club. I have a love of these two plants. They are both complex plants – so beneficial and so hard to handle. I would like to learn to work with both of them. You can buy stinging nettle tea easily in the supermarket, but I’d like to learn to work with the plant myself. Devil’s club is even more cantankerous than stinging nettles, but the benefits, both medicinal and spiritual, of this plant seem well worth the challenges.

5. Visit Tsubaki Grand Shrine, the main Shinto shrine in North America. It’s a couple of hours north of Olympia, but I have heard that spirits are powerfully present here. This is a place that my entire family wants to go to. We have a love of Japanese culture and Shinto speaks to us.

By shigthenewt (shrine (8)Uploaded by Nesnad) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

6. Go clamming. My friend, Daniel, loves to go clamming. I plan to ask him to take me with him next time he goes! This part of Washington is known for oysters, geoducks and clams, particularly razor clams. I don’t think I’ve ever had a razor clam. I really, really love eating locally. You are what you eat, and there’s nothing more profound to me than connecting to the land by hunting or gathering food. Since I don’t hunt or know anyone with a boat, this seems like a good way to begin.

7. Visit the Longhouse at the Evergreen State College. I would like to take my kids to visit this. The longhouse is a type of structure that Native Americans built and this particular one serves as a center for education about area Indian tribes. I admit I haven’t done much in this area, but learning about area tribes is really important to me.

8. Visit Snoqualmie Falls. This is a beautiful and sacred falls in Washington. It’s also a huge tourist site. But as one of the major sacred in the state, I think it would be a good place to visit.

By Meher Anand Kasam (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

9. Visit Wolf Haven in Tenino. This place works for the conservation, rehabilitation, and education of wolves.

10. Go fishing. I just need to find some one with a boat…..


About Niki Whiting
  • http://summerisle.dreamwidth.org/ Ashley Yakeley

    Snoqualmie Falls is awesome, but the trail down to the base of the falls is closed until March. Time was you could go directly to the water, but then they build this boardwalk and tried to keep people off. Not sure what the situation will be when it reopens. The Falls are a big deal to the local Snoqualmie Tribe, who are about 650.

    I did misogi (mnemonic “me soggy”) at Kannagara Jinja/Tsubaki Grand Shrine about ten years ago in January. It involved going in up to my waist in the Pilchuck river while wearing only a headband and a fundoshi while chanting a lot. The priest does Shinto stuff at various events, such as the annual opening of the Seattle Japanese Garden.

    Nettles are evil and I hate them (did I tell you that? I told someone that), but props to you if you can make use of them.

    • Jocelyne Houghton

      Nettles aren’t evil! If you are stung, merely look around for a fern frond and apply the spore side to the afflicted area. I learned this as a Brownie. Ferns FTW!

      • jemand

        Or plantain, or jewelweed… jewelweed is the MOST effective in my experience, and often grows near nettle. Also useful if you have been exposed to poison ivy– rub the area with jewelweed immediately and you will be less likely to have a reaction later.

  • Jocelyne Houghton

    Excellent list! Check out Heidi Bohan’s book The People of Cascadia: Pacific Northwest Native American History: http://www.peopleofcascadia.com/ . You can order online, or find it at the Duwamish Tribe’s Longhouse & Cultural Center in Seattle: http://www.duwamishtribe.org/longhouse.html.

    • http://myownashram.com Niki Whiting

      I am embarrassed to say that I have that book on my shelf but I have yet to read it!

  • http://aediculaantinoi.wordpress.com/ P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    One of many enjoyable ceremonies at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America is tomorrow morning: the one which I call “Shinto Inferno” (“Burn, kami, burn!”), in which all of the ofuda, omamori, and other things from the previous year are thanked, purified, and burned. However, Setsubun, or “Soy Imbolc,” is just around the corner on Feb. 3rd, which would be a great one to take the kids to, since you get to throw soybeans at demons, and there’s actual people in oni costumes that you get to pelt mercilessly with soybeans as part of the ritual! And, there’s many others; plus, you can just go visit the Shrine whenever you want, or make an appointment for a ceremony there if you like, too.

  • http://www.pointsincase.com/columns/andrei-trostel/things-im-looking-forward-to-2013 chiangshih