Pre-Spring Updates from the Desk of Jade Blackwater

March 10, 2010

Contrary to what logic might suggest, my low-attendance at the Brainripples blog is in fact a sign of how busy I’ve been.

Here’s a little update from my desk:

Copywriting and Poetry

Concise language is important for both copywriting and poetry.  Since December I’ve enjoyed the dual tasks of copywriting for Kathi “george” Wheeler of Noise w/o Sound Graphic Design, and revising poetry from my 2009 journals to prepare for a round of submissions this spring.  Of all the writing I do, poetry revision is probably the most difficult.  It’s delicate work to revise small handfuls of words without losing the voice.

Festival of the Trees

Last November Dave Bonta and Pablo invited me to join their team in support of the Festival of the Trees blog carnival.  You all know how much I love this project, so you can imagine how stoked I am to lend a hand.  We’re looking for volunteers to host! Read an interview by The Nature Blog Network with the Festival of the Trees crew.  The Festival of the Trees is @treebloggers on Twitter and Identica.

Pennwriters 2010

All lovers of literature can find me this spring May 14-16, 2010 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the Pennwriters Annual Conference: The Writer’s Craft.  To learn more, read this Feature Artist Interview with Conference Coordinator Ayleen Stellhorn.  You can count on seeing me in PA next year too – I’m running for VP this term to support Carol Silvis; she and I are working hard in preparation for 2010-2012.

@JadeBlackwater on Twitter

You can now follow me @JadeBlackwater on Twitter where I tweet about writing and art, ecology and conservation, sustainability and gardening, and everything else that makes me think.  I never thought I’d be a tweep, but I’m already a nerd, so I shouldn’t be that surprised.  To help preserve my time, I typically schedule tweets in advance via HootSuite, and to help preserve my readership I shorten links via  (I also like to poke around #poettues hosted by @robertleebrewer.)

JLB Blogs on the Move

I’ve been tweeting away since January while my blogs Brainripples, AppleJade, and Arboreality appear to languish in neglect.  In fact, I’m preparing to relocate my blogging adventures under one roof at (including a much-needed new web design).  Since I’ve been blogging for five years, it seems like the right time to try on the big girl pants.  Prepare yourself for the next incarnation of my blogs as I shake off the old and don the new.  (Sheesh, how many more metaphors do you think I could have packed into this paragraph?)

Coming Up Next

Show and Tell Friday is beyond over due, and I’ve found so much cool stuff on my Twitter adventures.  I’ll put one together for you soon!  I was also invited for a fun phone interview with Perry Norton of PanRight Productions.  I’d like to share that with you all soon.  Finally, I’ll be selecting at least one poem from my drafts to share here, probably something I love but know I won’t submit.


Draw a Dinosaur Day: Stegosaurus in Melody Lake

January 30, 2010

Stegosaurus in Melody Lake by Jade Blackwater

I just learned about the fourth annual “Draw a Dinosaur Day”, thanks to the timely blog mention on behalf of the fine creators Heather and Jeremy at The Voltage Gate. According to Todd of the Draw a Dinosaur Day website:

Draw A Dinosaur Day is a holiday celebrated on January 30th. The goal is as simple as it’s title: Draw A Dinosaur! You don’t have to be a brilliant illustrator, just take a couple of minutes with a blank piece of paper, a post-it note or your computer and enjoy yourself.

I’m grateful for discovering this most excellent of holidays – I needed to have a little fun this weekend! As you can see, I did have fun. This is an illustration of Stegosaurus from The Perfect Present, a short story I wrote in August 2009 and never found time to illustrate. Shown here is Stegosaurus splashing and playing in her musical Melody Lake.

The truth is, I’m having such a blast that as soon as I publish this post, I’m heading back to my sketchbook to draw up my other idea.  If I finish it, I’ll be sure to share.

Now go: grab your crayons and paper, and sketch up some ‘saurus!

Friday Inspiration from Author Gerri George

January 15, 2010

Start your weekend with a little inspiration from author and fellow Pennwriters member Gerri George.  George’s short fiction piece “Henry Moore and the Bookstore Clerk” appears in the current issue of Wild River Review.

What I like most about this piece, beyond George’s talent for textural, present prose, are her reflections on art and its place in life.  I’m positively smitten by the main character, and I love George’s careful treatment of all people as observers, listeners, and participants in the greater conversation of art.  Take a few minutes to read, and listen.


Sleight of Hand: Tricks for Success in the Writing-Life Balancing Act

November 10, 2009

This article first appeared in the September-October 2009 issue of The Penn Writer, a bi-monthly newsletter published by Pennwriters, Inc.

Observe, the writer’s magic wand: with one wave, you will be bestowed with days upon days of perfect, uninterrupted writing time.  All your other responsibilities will float away like mist from a lake, leaving you with clarity, vision, and creative depths.

Sound too good to be true?  That’s because it is: for writers, freelancers, artists, and other independent business people, there is no magic wand with which to clear the path of life and add hours to the clock.  Unless you write purely for pleasure on passing whims, you must face the challenge of balancing writing endeavors and the rest of life in order to succeed with your craft.

For some of us, “the rest of life” might include jobs, partners, families, and commitments to community, friends, or personal health.  Some writers experience a natural ebb and flow of creative inspiration.  Other writers might operate at 100% capacity most days, but are no less susceptible than the rest of us to the arrival of a big, heavy-duty monkey wrench thrown keenly into the center of our creative works.

If the challenge is a constant writing-life balancing act, then how do we tip the scales?  In lieu of a magic wand, would you accept a little prestidigitation?  As creative professionals, we have a unique opportunity to leverage our struggle for time and energy into strong, successful writing.

First, let’s consider ourselves (also known as a self-evaluation):

To start with, grab a journal (or a whiteboard, a new word processing document, or a big slice of butcher paper).  Take your time and carefully list what’s important in your life.  Be as specific as you want – the point is to get your brain thinking actively about your priorities, motivations, and goals.  Revisit this process whenever you’re feeling stuck or powerless.

Review your self-evaluation, and consider where the specifics you’ve listed fall into broad categories.  You’re likely to find a handful of items which are all equally mission-critical, while others are less essential.  Some things may seem less important (like the daily dishwashing duty), but unless you’re already independently wealthy and pay someone else to do your dirty dishes, that’s going to be a daily priority.

Now that you’ve considered the layout of your world, it’s time to get crafty.  Remember, you are a creative professional so you don’t need a magic wand for this part – just a little ingenuity, and a willingness to suspend your disbelief long enough to change your reality.

Our solution is neither a matter of exorcizing the unattainable, nor of sacrificing the precious.  Rather, the deceptively simple acts of compromise, integration, and acceptance are going to be the secret ingredients behind our writing-life formula for balance and growth:


At the August 2009 Pennwriters Presents, Guest Speaker Janice Gable Bashman was asked for a few words of wisdom culled during her author interviews.  Her reply includes the following as quoted from an interview in Wild River Review with author/journalist Bill Kent:

“[…] don’t see your writing as a special thing that you can do only when you’ve put the rest of your life on hold; see it as a thing you do regularly, with as little fanfare or expectations as possible.”

Kent goes on to explain that the integration of writing and life results in benefits to both.  Sure, that sentiment looks great in print, but how do we make it work in our lives?  If we strive for balance in order to grow as writers, we must regularly consider our priorities, our motivations, and our goals.  Kent’s methodology suggests that we embrace both life and art as one.

Just as in medicine, not all solutions are right for all people.  Some of us like schedules, some of us prefer to go with the flow.  Some of us live with families or friends, some of us live alone.  Listed below are five tipping points which can be used to adjust the balance of life and writing.  These are not mantras, incantations, or affirmations  (but if you like those, grab hold of Eric Maisel’s Affirmations for Artists, or just keep repeating: “I will make time for life.  I will make time to write.”)  These are simple, common sense methods for transforming dreams into realities.

Honoring Commitments: Communicate Your Needs

In her article “Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear” published this summer in The New York Times, writer Laura A. Munson discusses the challenges of love and partnership.  When her partner drops the bomb “I’m moving out,” Munson gets calm and creative.  Her response: “What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

Whether it’s your partner, your colleagues, or your congregation, it’s up to you to communicate your needs so that the people in your life can help you.  To skip this step might result in tearing apart some of the relationships which keep you healthy, happy, and sane enough to be a good writer.

Hand-in-hand with this step is its corollary: “Here is where I will uphold my commitments to you [family, partner, team, etc.]”  Be prepared to offer as much as you ask: if you expect understanding from your friends and family, you must return this gift by setting aside some of your writing aspirations in order to support the people around you.

Working From Home: Close the Door

In his book On Writing, Stephen King tells us that we have to be prepared to close the door and write.  Unless you live alone, there’s more to this than just slamming the door shut.  If you still want a friendly face in your home, you need to communicate with your fellow residents so they understand why the door is closed – and when it’s scheduled to reopen.

This practice isn’t about shutting yourself off from the world, alone in your writer’s paradise.  It’s about creating a space – physical and mental – in which to create.  When you’re a home-based professional, it’s important to establish a known workspace wherein you can practice productive habits, and get the actual writing work done.

Getting Serious: Discipline Yourself

“Someday, when you’re older, you’ll think back and remember ‘gosh, now I know why Mr. Sage kept talking about self-discipline!’ ”

I heard those words regularly in my elementary school years when Mr. Sage, provoked by the careless or lazy efforts of his students, would descend into lengthy lectures on the virtues of self-discipline.  I couldn’t tell you everything he said, only that my memory involves the clock face, the image of Mr. Sage astride his stool, and the echoing phrases above.

As it turns out, Mr. Sage was right.  In my youth, I thought he was pedantic, condescending, and probably wrong.  In my adulthood, I can see how easy it is to skip this step, and how instrumental self-discipline can be in achieving my goals.  Take my friend and Co-Chair of the Pacific Northwest Pennwriters Chapter Anita Marie Moscoso as an example:

Moscoso works multiple jobs and supports kids, household, pups, and partner.  She’s politically active.  She’s always ready to lend a word of advice and insight to her fellow writers.  Moscoso also sets aside 4-5 hours every night to write.  The result: she churns out stories and is making significant progress on her first novel-length manuscript.  In short, she gets it done.

Getting Real: Accept Change

Go back to that list you created with all that’s important in your life.  Now take a look and consider: what’s not critical?  When you decide that you’re serious about writing, some things are going to be sacrificed for the greater good (good writing, that is).

Accept that some things in your life aren’t going to get done, or aren’t going to be completed at the time or to the degree of perfection you might have planned.  Accept that the ideal, uninterrupted writer’s paradise about which so many of us dream is an illusion.

The more you review and rewrite your master list, the more likely it is that you will discover some priorities that are not as important as you once thought.  Be prepared to adjust to the inevitable upheavals in your life.  Dr. Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese? provides a clear, easy-to-read discussion on anticipating (and embracing) the one constant common to all of us: change.

Finding Peace of Mind: Embrace Your Experiences

In the autumn of 2008 I was invited for a short radio interview with Robert Krulwich of NPR to discuss Dr. Nalini Nadkarni’s newest book Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees, which I helped to produce.  At the time, I had just moved from Philadelphia to Seattle, only to find myself on the way to southern California to help care for a family member.  It seemed like my life had become the perfect storm in which all my writing goals would be funneled up from the earth and then dropped splat-flat.

While traveling through the gorgeous California redwoods via Carmel en route to Santa Barbara, I spoke with Krulwich by phone to make arrangements.  I had searched frantically online using Wi-Fi access to find a recording studio along the way where I could complete the interview.  Krulwich solved my problem with a simple statement: “You’re traveling through the redwoods, and Carmel is beautiful!  You should enjoy all that, and I’ll find us a studio in Santa Barbara.  We’ll talk when you arrive.”

It makes perfect sense: we can’t rush past the pleasures of life, nor can we skip the rough roads.  As Bill Kent reminds us, putting life on hold in exchange for writing is a non-option.  It is our experience which provides the personal resources we need in order to create.  In Ann Charters’ The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction, we are told that Stephen Crane “believe[d] – as did Ernest Hemingway after him – that ‘the nearer a writer gets to life, the greater he becomes as an artist.’ ”  Every task, event, chore, and chance meeting can be a resource for your writing.  Don’t waste a single experience.

These are just a few ideas for learning to accept, integrate, and compromise in order to achieve the writing-life balance.  When considered in the context of our secret formula (priorities, motivations, and goals), we create opportunities for growth as writers and people.

I cannot guarantee that these methods will solve all your problems, but I believe that attempting them might lead you to the solution that is right for you.  At the very least, these tricks may distract you for a while, and sometimes that’s all we need – a distraction to take our eye off the pea so that the shell game of life can reformulate into new possibilities.

Feature Artist Interview – Linda Lovisa

October 28, 2009

Linda Lovisa, West Coast Trail, Copyright © 2009 Natural Transitions Art StudioIn October 2008 I featured the forest-inspired paintings of Linda Lovisa as a part of The Festival of the Trees 28 – Art and Arboreality.  This year it is my pleasure to present this Feature Artist Interview with Linda Lovisa just a few short weeks after her recent trek on the West Coast Trail.  You can learn more about Linda’s work at the Natural Transitions Art Studio website.

JB: Greetings Linda!  Thanks for joining us for an interview at Brainripples.  I’m a tremendous fan of your artwork.  I understand you are a self-taught artist.  To start us off, could you provide a glimpse into what first put the paintbrush in your hand, and how you’ve approached your artistic self-education?


LL: Thank you Jade for the opportunity to share…..I have been exploring from a young age. I used to draw all the time, for as long as I can remember. The first time I painted with oils I was ten years old. It all started with paint by number set that I had received as a Christmas gift. I remember it was horses. I loved drawing horses so I decided to do my own on the backside of the board. Much to the dismay of my mother who thought I should have done the paint by numbers! I kept asking her to buy the sets so I could have the paint then one day in the mail I received from my grandfather my first real oil paints in the primary colors. I have to say I was a bit disappointed that I only got 5 colors! Where were the purple, brown and green and some of the other blues I liked! Then my grandfather explained that I could mix all those colors with the ones he gave me. It was then I embarked on a journey exploring color! I’ve been hooked ever since……

My artistic education has been one of exploration and admiring other artist’s work that I’ve been exposed to. I had to do a lot of reading about painting because I did not live near galleries growing up so this was my only way of learning. I had a great art teacher named Mr. Leger who used to let me stay inside at lunch to draw. My grandfather was a huge influence as well. He always challenged me to explore different media. The Group of Seven and the Impressionists are present in my work, sometimes they are all there in one painting!

Linda Lovisa, Roots and Trees, Copyright © 2009 Natural Transitions Art StudioJB: I know that you work with watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastel, and mixed media, to name a few.  What other media do you like, or use, or would like to try in the future?

LL: I have done some soapstone carving. I’ve carved 6 pieces to date and I’d love to find more time to do some more. I’ve also been planning a show that will have three dimensional sculptures reflecting 12 paintings. It will be some time before I can get to this venture but when I do it will come together quickly as I’ve done it so many times in my dreams! There are some days I wake up exhausted because I’ve worked all night! There may be nothing to show for it in the morning but the process is all there in my head!

JB: You’ve lived and painted in many parts of Canada.  Could you tell us about the different landscapes/environments that have fed and inspired your craft?

LL: My father was in the Canadian air force so that explains the many places I’ve lived. Everywhere I have lived it’s always been the light on landscape that’s drawn me to my subject. The Canadian Shield, the prairies, the valleys and mountains with forests, grasses, rivers and lakes, they’ve all been there challenging me to paint them.

JB: What places/ecosystems would you like to visit (and paint)?

LL: I’d like to go up north into the tundra. The autumn colors would be incredible to paint. It would be an ecosystem I haven’t explored yet. I’d like to experience the northern lights up there. I’ve seen pictures and they look spectacular!

JB: For me, one of the most engaging aspects of your art is its focus on trees and forests.  I like to imagine the places you’ve seen when I gaze at your paintings.  If you’ll indulge us, tell us a little about your process: do you scout out trails and make notes of the spots you want to paint?  Do you just hike on in with your easel and set up shop when something catches your eye?  Do you take photographs and sketches and paint from memory after you explore?

LL: The forest is my favorite place to be so the answer is Yes I scout out trails. I do a lot of thinking things through when I’m there. When I don’t get there for a while I feel something is missing so I make a point of hiking often. Even if it’s not a long trail it fills that void till I can go for a longer hike. I take photographs and my sketch book along. In the past there have been numerous outings for plein-air painting and I love it! I don’t seem to do as much of it these days. I must change that!

JB: I often feel shade and cloud when I view your paintings (this may be a personal bias since I like shade and overcast skies… and rain…).  What are your favorite “lights” to work with when creating images?  Sunrise, mid-winter, overcast, full-moon?

LL: I have to say mid afternoon and morning light are my favorites. I love painting clouds. It does seem that the days that I’ve been out on a hike, the clouds roll in at some point of another. I’m very conscious of them. I love cloud formations they say so much about the day.

Linda Lovisa, Trees, Rocks and Water, Copyright © 2009 Natural Transitions Art StudioJB: Your paintings are, in a word, vivid.  Tell us about color choice and purpose when you create your work.

LL: I didn’t always paint with such strong color in my work though I did start out that way only having the primaries to work with. It took some practice to tone things down. That’s what’s expected of you when you start out. It has to look realistic to be good. So like everyone who starts out painting you fall into this mold of painting everything exactly how it looks. I see the color in nature and I exaggerate it. There were no red trees in my work back then. They reappeared in my work 5 years ago and have since been noticed by many as some sort of trade mark, although it’s not meant to be. Red represents strength and life to me. So there’s always red in my paintings these days.

The urge to paint with just the primaries came to me on a blue day. I took out a fresh canvas and put together a fresh palette of primary colors and regressed into my past. In a matter of hours I knew this is what was missing in my work, Color! I guess I’ve come full circle and still learning!

JB: You recently hiked the West Coast Trail.  Tell us about your adventures – what made you pick this trail?

LL: The West Coast Trail had been something I had wanted to do for quite some time. I had heard about how challenging of a hike it was. 77km of west coast rain forest, I imagined it to be mystical and daunting. The trees were a huge attraction to me. The whole essence of the forest I wanted to experience. It took two years to find the right hiking partners, to get mentally and physically in shape for this hike.

The hike was as challenging as said by the material when you read about it. It took us six and a half days to complete. At times the trail pushed you physically to the limit of your endurance and mentally as well. Every step was potentially an injury if you were not careful. Allow me to describe the trail ~ mud, slippery moss covered balance beams made from downed trees that stretched over marshy areas and ravines for 35ft or more, more mud, up and down into ravines on a glazed clay trail, straight up series of ladders, some more than 200 rungs, ladders climbing cliffs up to 3 stories high! I have never thanked God so often for roots! They were your handles and foot holds throughout difficult parts of the trail. Suspension bridges and cable cars crossing rivers and ravines were also part of the trail. Then there were the beach crossings that had to be done while the tide was out. The beaches consisted of silky sand, sandstone shelves, boulders, serge channels, loose pebble and high log jams that needed to be lumbered over. When you couldn’t get down to the beach to travel you were faced with more mud, ladders and board walks. The boardwalks sound like they might be a dream but they were moss covered and slippery and many were in dire need of repair. Mother nature had taken over rotting the braces to the boardwalks making them very dangerous. The daunting aspect of the hike was reality for 77km! Mystical it was, every bit as I expected and more. Other than the ocean roaring it was the quietest forest I’d ever been in. I have to say it was eerie at times, dark and when the streams of light would pierce through the dense forest it was heavenly. It was breathtaking in so many ways it’s hard to describe.

Linda Lovisa, West Coast Trail, Copyright © 2009 Natural Transitions Art StudioI can add my name to the list of many who’ve endured the trail. Some hikers we met had hiked it several times. The incredible beauty and the challenges bring them back here time and time again. After the hike I said “I’ve completed it and have no desire to do it again”….. but as the weeks have gone by the idea has revisited me. It’s pulling me back there like a magnet as if to say “you are not done here yet”. It will be sometime before I return to the West Coast Trail. What a journey! There are two more trips to the Monashee Mountains waiting for me before I go back.

JB: Speaking as a fellow artist who relies on solitude and forest surroundings for clarity, could you share a little about your artistic vision?  Your bio talks about “intensifying a fragile moment in nature or everyday vignette so that the busy people may pause for a moment to reflect.”  Tell us about what brings you to this goal as an artist.

LL: I find today’s society is so caught up in go, go, go. It’s a chance for me to pull them back and get them look at the simplest of things. I will often paint things that most people would just walk by and perhaps never notice. It could be the complexity of a plant or a tiny mushroom, a moment of light on the landscape or the colors and shapes in the sky that are so often taken for granted. My goal is to bring it to their attention through my paintings, opening their eyes to seeing.

JB: What’s new in the Natural Transitions Art Studio? Could you tell us about some of your current and upcoming art projects and exhibitions?  Where can people find your work online and in-person?

LL: What’s new? Well, I have several paintings at different stages that I’m working on. It was a busy fall with several exhibitions and a day at the Kokanee salmon festival demonstrating. It’s always lots of fun chatting with people about what you are doing and of course answering the questions about color!  People can find my work in Kelowna, BC at my studio on Jennens rd. or on my website:

JB: I see that you teach workshops.  When and where can artists find you teaching?

LL: I teach workshops in my home, outdoors and in recreation centers. I usually have workshops scheduled different times of the year. I’ve taught for different art groups in other communities. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned over the years. If anyone is interested in having a workshop for their group they call me at 1-250-768-9679 for more details.

Linda Lovisa, West Coast Trail, Copyright © 2009 Natural Transitions Art StudioJB: You recently worked with Learning Through the Arts (LTTA).  Would you tell us about this program and your projects?

LL: I’m happy to say that I’m back with the LTTA program! It’s an exciting way of teaching the core subjects such as math, science, social studies and language. It’s a program that was developed by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. It’s proven students have different learning styles. It involves all the art forms music, visual arts, dance and theater. That’s what’s so fantastic for the students and the teachers. I’ll be working with the students in elementary schools in Kelowna this fall. It’s so exciting to be back in the classroom! For more information on LTTA visit their website at:

JB: Who are your favorite artists, and/or which artists/styles do you like to look to for inspiration?

LL: This is a difficult question………..I have many favorites, too many to name. As I mentioned earlier my inspirations are the Group of Seven and the Impressionists. It’s the loose brush work and spirit that shines through that attracted me to their work. I was taken with the Group of Seven when my grandfather took me to the National Art Gallery in Ottawa when I was 14. I couldn’t believe how big some of the paintings were and the brush strokes didn’t mean anything till you stepped back! I remember thinking I could never paint that big!
In my work it is just that I strive to achieve, a sense of spirit, without losing the freshness in creating my own interpretation of the landscape.

JB: Are there other artistic media (besides visual) which you enjoy, or would like to try?

LL: I love all the art forms. I have to say if I were to choose, it would be music. I love to listen and paint to music. To be honest, there is no time for me to focus on another art form so I’ll let my two sons do that for me. I have a son in Vancouver who’s a professional drummer, composer and another son who plays guitar beautifully. So I’ll just sit back and enjoy!

JB:  What are some of your favorite successes as an artist?

LL: There are so many! Success can be measured in so many different ways but the fact that I’m still doing what I love is a huge success!

Linda Lovisa, Epiphytes, Mosses, Ferns, Copyright © 2009 Natural Transitions Art StudioJB:  What advice would you give other independent artists?

LL: If being an artist is your passion then go whole heartedly. It will show through in your work. It’s a tough road no matter the art form and it’s worth all the bumps. Your successes may come in small packages or big bundles don’t lose sight of what’s in your soul. There’s a reason things happen the way they do, be patient. Above all never stop learning and be yourself!

Linda, we thank you again for joining us.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing more of your creations inspired from your travels on the West Coast Trail!

Halloween Fun for Everyone

October 1, 2009

Glorious Pumpkins, Copyright © 2009 Jade Leone Blackwater

Joyous October Greetings, one and all!

Looking for some great Halloween stories?  Join me (Jade), Anita Marie Moscoso, and the writers of the Soul Food Café for a month-long celebration of the strange, spooky, and sordid at Once Upon a Midnight.

We’re sharing stories, artwork, poetry, video, and every other creation we can scrape together from mis-matched parts and charge with a few volts of inspiration.  And if you’re looking for inspiration, this is the place to be: we’ll be sharing Halloween-y writing prompts to help light a creative fire under your ghosty ass!

Join us… if you dare…

Animated Inspiration: A Wolf Loves Pork

September 10, 2009

I found this creation by Takeuchi Taijin via Ron Drummond’s Dreaming of Dao Gaia blog.  Enjoy!