Desdra Dawning
Olympia, WA

Story Info

Story & Experience

My original plan for this year’s Earth Exchange was to go to the Capitol Lake here in Olympia,
which was created to form a reflection pond for the capitol building on the hill above. And it was
created by damming the Deschutes river, erasing the natural estuary where the river meets the
Salish Sea (Puget Sound). Many here are working to remove the dam and restore the estuary.
However, I am recovering from a head-on car collision and a fractured rib, so have not been able to get about. So
the landscape I focused on for the Earth Exchange will be visited as soon as I am able, and a
new bird will find its way to the banks of the lake (or on the dam!).

Instead, I am offering my body as the hurting landscape this year. I am acknowledging that this
body temple that has been so graciously carrying me around all these 77 years comes from my
dear Mother Gaia and will soon enough return to Her. The pain and inability to move about the
past almost 2 months has been a spiritual journey in finding my joy. My Radical Joy.

So I was able to go to my backyard, with its honeysuckle and hummers, its meadow lawn of
buttercups and morning glory, its nasturtiums, and its collected seashells from our Salish Sea, to
create my bird offering for the Earth Exchange. As I did, I sat with my bare feet on Our Mother
and Earthed, watched the hummers suck up sweet nectar and splash in the bird bath, felt the
sun’s warmth on my skin, and basked in gratitude that my body is healing. Joy comes in many
packages. Creating this soaring bird as an offering to the day, and to my own healing was

Olympia, WA


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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.